If you have visible veins, you may be wondering whether they are spider veins or varicose veins. Although both can be unsightly, they are very different. Read on to learn more about the differences and how they are treated.

What are spider veins?

Spider veins are small, blue, red and purple veins just under the surface of the skin. They get their name from the web-like appearance, and can be found on the legs and face. These can itch and burn, but they are usually mostly a cosmetic concern and not associated with pain or any underlying issues.

Spider veins are treated with sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a saline solution into the veins. This solution irritates the walls of the vein, causing them to collapse and close off the vein. Blood is rerouted to healthier veins, and the body absorbs and naturally removes the treated diseased veins.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are large, swollen, greenish/blue veins that have a rope-like appearance and can be raised from the skin’s surface. They are usually found on the legs and are often tender to the touch and can itch and burn, especially if you’ve been on your feet all day. Varicose veins are usually associated with underlying venous issues.

People who have varicose veins often complain of an aching pain or cramping in their legs. They also experience tiredness, restlessness, burning, throbbing or heaviness in the legs. These symptoms can be relieved by wearing support hose or elevating the legs above the heart.

Treatment for varicose veins begins with lifestyle changes. If those measures aren’t successful, there are several treatment options, including sclerotherapy, foam sclerotherapy, laser treatment, endovenous laser ablation, vein stripping or ligation, and endoscopic vein surgery.

What makes someone susceptible to varicose or spider veins?

There are many factors that play into a person’s chances of getting varicose or spider veins, including:

  • Increasing age
  • Women more than men
  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • History of blood clots
  • Hormones
  • Use of birth control pills
  • Postmenopausal hormone replacement
  • Conditions that cause increased pressure in the abdomen
  • Jobs that require a lot of standing

You don’t have to live with varicose veins or spider veins. If you live in or around the Fort Worth area, call 817.893.2699 to schedule a consultation.


Call 817.235.0769 to schedule your screening and see how Southwest Vein and Leg Center’s Venous Reflux treatments can improve your health and quality of life.


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