Varicose veins are a common condition which affect up to 3 in 10 adults, with women being more likely to develop them than men. They appear as swollen, enlarged or twisted veins just beneath the surface of the skin and often have a blueish colour. Although any vein in the body can become varicose, they most commonly develop in the legs and feet, particularly in the calves.
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.