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Spider veins are a similar condition, but are smaller and closer to your skin's surface.
Varicose veins are a common problem, affecting up to 60% of Americans, but most often women. If the varicose veins cause no physical discomfort, no medical attention is necessary. But if symptoms like pain and achiness are present, untreated varicose veins can lead to phlebitis (inflammation of the veins), painful ulcers near the ankle, and blood clots which cause swelling in the leg.
What causes varicose veins
Arteries are the vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Veins return the blood to your heart, so the blood can be recirculated. This requires the veins in your legs to work against gravity. Muscle contractions in your lower legs act as pumps, and elastic vein walls help blood flow back to your heart. Tiny valves in your veins open as blood flows toward your heart, then close to stop blood from flowing backward. When these valves weaken, they allow blood to flow backwards and pool in your veins, causing the veins to become enlarged.
Varicose veins most often show up in the lower leg, foot, and ankle, because weight bearing increases pressure on the veins in the lower body, weakening the veins and causing them to lose elasticity.
Contributing factors to varicose veins
Symptoms of Varicose veins (cosmetic)
Symptoms that indicate need for medical attention
Treatment of Varicose Veins
Your podiatrist at PA Foot and Ankle Associates may recommend one or more of these treatments to manage your varicose veins:
At home prevention