How to Tell The Difference Between Spider Veins & Varicose Veins

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Varicose veins aren’t the only type of venous insufficiency capable of making some individuals self-conscious about their legs. A similar condition, spider veins, also creates spindly, dark lines across the skin that can make someone want to reach for a pair of jeans instead of shorts on a hot day. While both of these venous insufficiencies can be treated with minimally invasive procedures, there are too many differences between them for them to be considered the same condition, as they often are. To clear up the frequent confusion between varicose veins and spider veins, the best vascular surgeons in Orlando at Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center share their knowledge of the differences between these venous insufficiencies and how to tell them apart.

Are Spider Veins the Same as Varicose Veins?

No. They are not the same condition

The terms “varicose veins” and “spider veins” are often used interchangeably. This is likely due to the fact that they are both venous insufficiencies that cause veins to be visible under the skin. This is a common misunderstanding. Their visibility and tendency to show up primarily on the leg does not make them the same condition.

The Basic Difference Between Spider & Varicose Veins

If you look at these two types of venous insufficiencies side-by-side, there are clear visible differences between them: varicose veins are twisted and bumpy, while spider veins appear in smooth clusters. They also do not have the same level of concern; varicose veins are often painful and more likely to require a visit to a vein specialist while spider veins are cosmetic and can be left alone.

Spider Veins

The causes of spider veins are currently unknown, although there is a strong link to hereditary causes. However, if you have a relative with spider veins and you’re worried about getting them, don’t panic. There’s little reason to be concerned. In the majority of cases, they’re harmless. Spider veins are usually considered to be a non-serious cosmetic condition as long as they are not coupled with other symptoms. Despite being nothing to worry about, spider veins can still make some people feel self-conscious. Treatments such as sclerotherapy exist to minimize the appearance of spider veins so that you can be confident in your skin again. However, if you do experience symptoms such as pain, burning, or itching, then you should definitely make the time to call Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center for consultation and treatment, and to make sure that there isn’t an underlying problem. Spider veins can sometimes be a symptom of blood being backed up deeper in the vein that isn’t visible on the skin.

Spider veins don’t stand out as much as varicose veins, but you can still spot them if you know what you’re looking for. If you’re noticing visible veins without heavy, swollen legs, keep in mind these identifying symptoms below, and visit a vein specialist if you’re tired of those dark, clustered veins.

  • Spider veins are small, thin lines that often resemble tangled tree branches or a spider web.
  • The lines are normally colored red, blue, or purple and are similar to a bruise.
  • Spider veins can be found on thighs, ankles, feet, and even on the face.
  • The veins are close to the skin’s surface.

Again, spider veins are rarely serious, but they can be a frustrating cosmetic issue. The treatments available at Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center minimize the appearance of spider veins so that you no longer have to be concerned about those dark, web-like veins across your skin.

Varicose Veins

Unlike spider veins, where the cause is a bit of a mystery, we are aware of what causes varicose veins to form. Veins need to be strong in order to properly pump blood. When a vein valve weakens, it’s less capable of circulating blood throughout the body. As a result, blood ends up pooling in the veins, causing them to swell and be visible under the skin. This most often occurs in the lower leg where the veins need plenty of strength in order to move blood upwards.

While spider veins are normally cosmetic and are rarely coupled with pain, varicose veins are more likely to come packaged with uncomfortable symptoms. The veins can burn, itch, and feel tender. The swollen veins can also cause your legs to ache, cramp, and feel restless or heavy. Both the visibility and painful symptoms of varicose veins are enough to warrant a visit to a vein specialist. Treatment is possible through minimally invasive procedures such as endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) that can help your legs look smooth and feel healthy.

Varicose veins considerably standout more than spider veins due to the swelling of the vein. Keep an eye out for the identifying characteristics below, and visit a vein specialist if you’re feeling any pain or discomfort in your legs.

  • Varicose veins are characterized by bulging, twisted veins.
  • The veins are blue, flesh-toned, or purple.
  • They are solitary and rarely closely grouped together.
  • Varicose veins are found on the legs, normally on the lower leg and ankle.

Varicose veins, unfortunately, can be painful. Despite the symptoms, many people with varicose veins wait to see a vein specialist. If you’re someone who is putting off getting treatment, reconsider. Current procedures are quick, minimally invasive, and covered by most insurance policies. Don’t deal with varicose vein symptoms when you live without painful legs!

Learn More About Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins – Causes & Prevention

Risk Factors, Complications, Warning Signs

Varicose Vein Treatment

Go to the Varicose Vein Guide

Treating Venous Insufficiency

If you have varicose veins or spider veins, there’s no reason to feel self-conscious or to suffer through leg pain. You can be confident and pain-free again with a trip to a vein specialist. The best vascular surgeons in Orlando at Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center are dedicated to our patients and trained specifically in venous health. We aim to develop a treatment plan that will best suit your needs. We offer minimally invasive procedures, and their short healing times let you get back on your feet and enjoy living without aching, heavy legs. Call us today at 407-545-3385 or 352-658-5547 to schedule an appointment, and check out the rest of our blogs for more information about venous insufficiency and varicose veins.

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