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Spider veins

Spider veins – visible veins under the skin

Spider veins are distended, superficial veins in the legs that form a network under the skin. Although the individual spider veins are only a few millimeters long, they crisscross parts of the leg and thigh like a spider's web. This is also how the term originated. Small spider veins are small, bright red, purple or blue that twist and turn. As they grow larger, they typically take on more of a blue hue.

What causes spider veins?

Spider veins count as varicose veins. They also have the same causes:
  • The vein walls become weak with age.
  • The blood is no longer transported quickly enough and pools in the legs.
Experts estimate that an estimated 30-60% of adults are affected by spider veins. Women suffer from these more often than men. The cause of weak vessel walls and spider veins is lax connective tissue – which can be inherited.

How are spider veins treated?

In many cases, spider veins are harmless and tend to be a cosmetic matter. From a distance, the affected areas of skin can look like bruising and the web structure of the small vessels only becomes apparent when you look more closely. There are various ways of removing them, however:

What happens if spider veins are left untreated?

If the spider veins remain superficial, circulation to the legs is still guaranteed. In most cases, spider veins do not cause any harmful symptoms.

Occasionally, the web of spider veins expands over large areas of skin, which can cause pain. However, spider veins can be a visible sign of a disorder of the deeper, larger veins.

Spider veins that develop below the inner ankle bone are a special form. As a rule, they are the first sign of a chronic venous stasis and must be treated. It is important to have your legs examined by a doctor to rule out early venous disease.

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