Your legs take you everywhere, and the mosaic patterns of red capillaries and various shades of blue veins may have been with you for so long that you have accepted them as a feature of your legs. Maybe you associate your leg veins with memories of running after your two-year-old or the countless hours of pacing you did in your living room as you waited for your teenager to get home at night. More likely, spider veins could simply be a sign that your genetic disposition is catching up with you. Whatever the case, these veins could be the sign of a much deeper and more serious issue.
Spider veins form due to high pressure in the venous system. This in-turn forces the thin-walled veins to expand. These engorged capillaries then expand to several times their normal size, forming spider veins. Spider veins may be associated with “feeder veins” or underlying varicose veins, and once a vein has become varicose, it will not go back to its normal size or shape.
If left untreated, severe varicose veins can ultimately lead to chronic leg swelling, eczema-type symptoms, skin thickening and discoloration, and even ulcerations that will not heal until the veins are treated.
Advancements in treatment have replaced painful methods of vein stripping with quick, relatively painless outpatient procedures, which require minimal downtime for recovery.