Varicose Veins Vs. Spider Veins: What’s the Difference?

Varicose Veins and Spider Veins are not the same condition, we will explain why.

Varicose veins and spider veins are problems you want to treat quickly, should they arise as they are both uncomfortable and can be unsightly. Spider veins and varicose veins are often thought to be the same condition; however, several subtle differences can affect how each problem is treated.

Vein Conditions

Varicose veins occur in legs when the valves in your veins malfunction and allow blood to flow back and forth through the valve. When the valve is functioning properly, it keeps blood flowing towards the heart, so it does not build up inside your veins. If the valve is not working correctly, it allows blood to flow both ways, leading to trapped blood that causes your veins to swell and bulge.

Spider veins can appear anywhere on your body and typically look like a red or blue spiderweb that resemble bruises. This condition is usually more unsightly than it is uncomfortable because swollen or bulging veins do not cause them.

Risk Factors

Both varicose veins and spider veins have similar risk factors. All of the factors listed below increase the likelihood that you will develop one of these two conditions.

  • Gender:Women tend to develop more vein conditions than men.
  • Sedentary lifestyle:Less active people are more likely to have vein problems because of decreased blood flow.
  • Age:The older you are, the greater the risk that you will develop problems with your veins.
  • Genetic history:if vein problems run in your family, you have a higher chance of developing one of these conditions as well.
  • Pregnancy:Your body pumps more blood during pregnancy, making it more likely for your veins to bulge and become visible through the skin.
  • Obesity:Being overweight puts more strain on your veins and could cause them to swell and bulge.

Common Symptoms

Varicose veins are often uncomfortable. In addition to visibly bulging veins, the condition also causes pain and swelling in the leg. Your legs may also feel itchy or heavy, and you could begin to experience restless leg syndrome.

Spider veins usually have minimal discomfort. The primary symptom of the condition is the colored spiderweb pattern that appears on your skin. Occasionally, you may feel a mild burning sensation at the site of your spider veins.

Secondary Problems

Because varicose veins are actually swollen vessels, they have the potential to lead to several other conditions, including pulmonary embolism. Pain and swelling are also common problems, with the potential to even develop an ulcer.

There are a few secondary conditions associated with spider veins. The primary concern is bleeding both underneath and above the skin, although it is usually minimal. Occasionally, untreated spider veins lead to chronic burning and itching.


Treat Varicose and Spider Veins Today

If you suffer from spider veins or varicose veins you can set up an appointment to discuss your treatment options. We can help you determine the treatment option that is most effective for relieving your symptoms to improve your quality of life.


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Image by Nebraska Department of Education by Pixabay.