What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are a common condition which affect up to 3 in 10 adults, with women being more likely to develop them than men. Although any vein in the body can become varicose, they most commonly develop in the legs and feet. Symptoms include aching, heavy and uncomfortable legs, swollen feet and ankles, muscle cramping, dry skin and colour changes in the lower leg.
There are several types of varicose veins including:
- Trunk varicose veins: these are near to the surface of the skin and are thick and knobbly. They are usually visible, often quite long, and can look unpleasant.
- Reticular varicose veins: these are red and are sometimes grouped close together in a network.
- Telangiectasia varicose veins: also known as thread veins or spider veins, these are small clusters of blue or red veins that sometimes appear on your face or legs.
Why do I get these veins?
Varicose veins develop when the small valves inside the veins stop working properly, preventing blood from flowing smoothly to the heart. This will cause the valves to weaken or become damaged, causing the blood to flow backwards and pool in the vein, eventually causing it to become varicose.
By Dr Mo Faris, Interventional Radiologist, FRCR