Spider Veins vs. Varicose Veins: How they are different and how they are treated
Spider veins and varicose veins are caused by the same underlying issues, but there are big differences in appearance, treatment and the potential effect on your health.
Appearance of spider and varicose veins
Spider veins are thin and look like a small web or a tree with many branches. They are usually red or blue and can show up on your face, chest, arms or legs. Occasionally they will appear in clusters on the thigh.
Varicose veins most often occur in the longer veins of your legs from the groin to the ankle. They are blue or purple and bulge out or look like twisted ropes.
Health risks of vein disease
Spider veins are considered a cosmetic issue. Although they might be unsightly, they don’t cause pain and do not cause medical problems. They will not go away on their own.
Your varicose veins might not cause significant problems other than appearance, but sometimes they can lead to important health issues. In the worst cases, varicose veins will cause ulcers around your ankles. More often, varicose veins will be tender to the touch or bleed profusely from minor injury. They also might indicate problems with veins deeper in your leg.
Treatment of spider veins and varicose veins
Both spider veins and varicose veins are a result of a breakdown of the vein’s ability to move blood through your body, and both can be treated with office procedures that cause little discomfort and will not restrict your lifestyle. Your vein doctor will perform an ultrasound on the area of the spider or varicose veins to determine the cause and extent of the issues and discuss treatment options.
Spider veins and varicose veins won’t go away on their own but with help from the right doctors, you can decide how to deal with them.