Varicose veins usually don't cause any pain. Signs you may have varicose veins include:
- Veins that are dark purple or blue in color
- Veins that appear twisted and bulging; often like cords on your legs
When painful signs and symptoms occur, they may include:
- An achy or heavy feeling in your legs
- Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs
- Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
- Itching around one or more of your veins
- Skin ulcers near your ankle, which can mean you have a serious form of vascular disease that requires medical attention
Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they're smaller. Spider veins are found closer to the skin's surface and are often red or blue. They occur on the legs, but can also be found on the face. Spider veins vary in size and often look like a spider's web.
When to see a doctor
Self-care — such as exercise, elevating your legs or wearing compression stockings — can help you ease the pain of varicose veins and may prevent them from getting worse. But if you're concerned about how your veins look and feel and self-care measures haven't stopped your condition from getting worse, see your doctor.
Jan. 31, 2013
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- Varicose veins. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/cardiovascular_disorders/peripheral_venous_disorders/varicose_veins.html. Accessed Oct. 16, 2012.
- Varicose veins and venous insufficiency. Society of Interventional Radiology. http://www.sirweb.org/patients/varicose-veins/. Accessed Oct. 16, 2012.
- Gloviczki P, et al. The care of patients with varicose veins and associated chronic venous diseases: Clinical practice guidelines of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum. Journal of Vascular Surgery. 2011;53(suppl):2s.
- Murad MH, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the treatments of varicose veins. Journal of Vascular Surgery. 2011;53(suppl):49S.
- Horse chestnut. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Nov. 14, 2012.
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