While varicose veins and spider veins have the same cause, there are differences between them:
Varicose veins are large, raised, swollen blood vessels that twist and turn. They usually develop in the legs and can be seen through the skin.
Spider veins are smaller, red, purple, and blue vessels that are also twisted and turning. Spider veins are easily visible through the skin as well.
If you have spider veins and then develop varicose veins, it is only related to the progressive nature of venous disease and the genetic predisposition to develop varicose veins instead of a physiologic cause for spider veins to lead to varicose veins. In short, spider veins do not cause varicose veins.
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR
It’s always a good idea to talk to a vein expert about any concerns or conditions you may have related to your legs or veins.
And no question about it – definitely contact a local vein expert if you are experiencing any pain, discomfort, have noticed changes to varicose or spider veins, or if:
- The vein has become swollen, red, very tender or warm to the touch, which can be a sign of a blood clot.
- You have sores or a rash on your leg or near your ankle.
- The skin on your ankle or calf looks like it changes color.
- One of the varicose veins begins to bleed.
- Your symptoms keep you from doing daily activities.