What are spider veins?

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. 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?

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:

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 chronic venous stasis and must be treated. It is important to have your legs examined by a doctor to rule out early venous disease.

Spider veins close up image

More Resources: