What Are Varicose And Spider Veins?

Posted on: 25 March 2019


Spider veins and varicose veins are very similar, but not quite exactly the same thing, though they have the same causes, and they can have the same treatments. So, what are the differences between them?


The veins in your legs, those which carry the blood back up to your body, have to fight gravity to get back to your heart. In order to fight that, those veins have special valves that open and shut to help pump the blood. When there is a problem with the valve, you get varicose veins. Generally, it's that the valve is leaky or doesn't close completely, and it allows the blood to pool in between the valves and causes the vein to bulge. This is why the varicose veins look twisted as the valves can cause empty spaces. Spider veins can be caused by the same thing, but they can also be caused by problems with venous insufficiency. 

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are large, twisted, and swollen veins. They tend to be fairly large and may not be directly on the surface, but when they are, they often look like twisted cords under the skin. They are often painful and can cause the leg to swell up. While they usually do show up on the legs, because of the way that varicose veins are formed, they can be in any spot in the body. 

Spider Veins

Spider veins are much smaller than varicose veins are and are very shallow and close to the surface of the skin. They are generally blue and quite visible and may look like branches under your skin if they are affecting a lot of veins in the area. Like varicose veins, they tend to show up in the legs, but they are more likely than varicose veins to show up on other body parts, such as the breast. 


One treatment is to use a salt water solution in the vein. It effectively kills the vein and keeps the blood from running through it. This doesn't hurt your body in any way, and the blood will get to that area of your body without any problems by going through nearby veins. 

While varicose veins and spider veins are slightly different, they tend to have the same causes and the same treatments. Even if they are not painful, they can look unsightly. Both are reasons to seek out varicose or spider vein treatment