What are Varicose and Spider Veins?

Genetics, age, activity level and your profession can all make you more likely to develop twisted, enlarged and often painful veins in your legs. Varicose veins occur when blood pools in your lower legs causing the vessels to stretch out and swelling. The veins become more noticeable and sometimes even protrude out from the skin. They can be unsightly and uncomfortable. Although they are common and rarely pose any serious medical threat, it’s not uncommon for individuals to seek treatment and removal of their varicose or spider veins.

How Can Varicose and Spider Veins be treated?

Various therapies exist for abnormal veins in the lower legs. They range from home-remedies to minor surgery. Treatments aim to reduce the appearance of varicose or spider veins while also helping to alleviate any pain or discomfort caused by the veins.

Treatment for varicose or spider veins include:

  • Exercising – Working the muscles in the lower legs helps move fluids and blood back up to the body, reducing the time blood can pool and cause stretching and/or pain in the veins.
  • Elevation – By elevating the feet and lower legs, blood flows back up the body instead of pooling in the lower legs.
  • Compression Stockings – By applying consistent pressure to the legs, the stockings help the veins move blood back up to the heart. It also reduces swelling and the risk of blood clots.
  • Sclerotherapy – One of the more common treatments for leg veins, sclerotherapy treats spider and small varicose veins by injecting a chemical that slowly compresses the vein. Eventually, the vein is barely noticeable, and the body creates newer stronger vessels to take the place of the old damaged vein. Two to three treatments are usually necessary for optimal results.
  • Laser treatments: Laser therapy targets the vein without damaging your skin. Small spider veins may disappear instantly. There will be a noticeable difference of larger spider veins and varicose veins, but final resolution may not be visible until after three or more treatments.

Downtime after vein treatments is minimal, if any. Many patients return to work and their normal activities the next day. Compression stockings are typically recommended after treatment to help with comfort as well as healing.