Varicose / Spider Veins

Varicose veins are veins that have become gnarled and enlarged. These are also called spider veins. This symptom can affect any vein in your body however the most commonly affected veins are those located in a patient’s feet and legs. This is due to the amount of pressure placed on these areas while walking or doing other activities. Spider veins are simply a more mild case of varicose veins, and are simply a cosmetic concern. Varicose veins, however, can cause discomfort as well as pain and might lead to more serious problems. Closing or removing the veins in the affected area is often done by doctors to treat the problem; sometimes however, the sign of a varicose vein is due to other circulatory problems that carry higher risks. The most present risks are blood clots and ulcers around the ankle area.

Picture of Varicose / Spider Veins

colorado foot institute varicose / spider veins

Symptoms of varicose veins:

Although varicose veins don’t always cause pain, signs may include the following symptoms:

  • Blue or dark purple colored veins
  • Twisted or bulging veins that stick out of your legs
  • These veins may form on any region of the leg from the groin area all the way down to the ankle

Symptoms of pain or discomfort may include:

  • A feeling of heaviness and an aching pain in the legs
  • Often patient’s experience swelling, burning, throbbing, and/or muscle cramping in the lower legs
  • The pain can be worsened by standing or sitting for long periods of time
  • The affected area will often times feel itchy and irritated
  • If a patent suffers from skin ulcers near or around the ankle it could mean they have a more severe type of vascular disease and need to seek medical attention

Symptoms of Spider veins

  • These veins are smaller than varicose veins, yet are similar in appearance
  • A spider vein forms closer to the surface of the skin and are often blue and red instead of the purple hue of varicose veins
  • These veins not only form in the legs but can form around the face as well.
  • These veins get their name from their appearance, often resembling the web of a spider

Causes and Risk Factors:

After the arteries carry the blood from the heart to the rest of the body and your veins must work to return the blood back to the heart. The veins in the legs have to work against gravity in order to return blood to the heart. Contractions in the muscle along with the elastic like cells in the vein walls, work together to help return blood to the heart. This is the reason why varicose veins are found in the legs, it is the result of the veins failing to keep the blood pumping back up to the heart.

  • Age. People age 30 to 75 are more likely to have issues with varicose veins. As we get older, the elasticity in our veins can diminish causing the vein walls to stretch. The backflow of blood into the veins can be caused by weakened valves in the veins; these valves may not be able to stop all of the blood from flowing back down into the leg causing a pooling effect. The pooling of blood in your veins will cause veins to enlarge and eventually become varicose. The veins have a blue color to them because the pooled blood is deoxygenated; normal blood is recirculated through the lungs which will oxygenate the blood.
  • Pregnancy. Women are more like than men to develop varicose veins, because of the fact that varicose veins are sometimes formed during pregnancy. To support a growing fetus your body increases the total flow of blood in the body but focuses it on the area around the fetus. This reduces the amount of blood being circulated in the leg and pelvic area of the body. Although this is a natural occurrence in the body, it can cause unfortunate side effects including varicose or enlarged veins. Often times these veins will improve on their own, going away in just a few months after birth.
  • Genetics. If others in your family have had problems with varicose veins, you have a greater chance of developing them as well.
  • Obesity. People who are overweight have more pressure and stress on the legs making it harder for the veins to pump the blood back up to the heart.
  • Standing for long periods of time. Blood flow while standing has to fight directly against gravity while having more pressure on the legs, while sitting or lying down your body can more easily pump blood back towards the heart.

Varicose Veins Treatment

Self care options for varicose vein treatment:

Losing weight and exercise can help, along with elevating the affected leg and not staying in the same position for excessive periods of time. Compression stockings are another option. These stockings help support the leg and improve blood flow especially if the elastic walls of the veins have been weakened. Although you can buy one without a prescription, you should consult with a doctor before buying a compression stocking however because they do come in various strengths and styles and only a doctor can prescribe one to fit your needs. However these steps will not rid the varicose veins but simply help with the pain and lessen the non-circulation of blood in the leg. If the symptoms worsen to do not improve you may need a different vein treatment option that can include surgery.  Fortunately, most surgical vein treatments can be done on an outpatient bases.

 

Let Us Help You!

Dr. Mechanik is Board Certified in Foot Surgery and Board Certified in Reconstructive Rear Foot and Ankle Surgery. He has the medical and surgical skills to treat your foot conditions.

Dr. Mechanik received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree from the the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine which is part of the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, a national leader in medical education.

Dr. Mechanik then went on to complete a twenty-four month post-graduate Residency training program in Foot and Ankle Surgery and a twenty-four month surgical Fellowship training program in Lower Extremity Musculoskeletal Surgery.

Dr. Mechanik is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and a  Diplomate, American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.

You can schedule an appointment by calling our office at 303-333-338 and speaking with our trained and friendly staff.