What Are Leg Veins?

There are two common types of veins that can make an appearance on your legs: varicose and spider veins. Varicose veins are dark, enlarged, twisted, swollen blood vessels close to the surface of the skin. Similar to but slightly smaller than varicose veins, spider veins look more like a spider web and are typically red or blue. 

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Why Leg Veins Appear

Both varicose and spider veins develop when the valves within the veins weaken. Healthy valves push blood back to the heart in a single direction. However, when the valves weaken, some of the blood can flow backward and accumulate, causing the vein walls to weaken and bulge from the continual pressure. Although usually just a cosmetic concern, severe leg veins have a risk of causing discomfort, aching pain, or blood clots if left untreated.

Who Gets Leg Veins?

Anyone can develop varicose or spider veins on their legs; however, there are certain factors that can increase your chances.


The aging process causes the veins to lose elasticity. As they begin to stiffen, the valves and walls of the veins don’t circulate blood as efficiently as they used to.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes in women – especially those who are pregnant, taking birth control, or menopausal – can cause the vein walls to stretch, leading to varicose veins.


Because leg veins can be inherited, your family history plays a role in whether or not you may struggle with this condition.


Sitting or standing for prolonged periods of the week decreases your circulation. Additionally, restrictive clothing can also contribute to decreased blood flow.

Overall Health

Your overall health – certain tumors, severe constipation, using tobacco products, or an injury – can contribute to increased vein pressure that leads to varicose or spider veins.


Excess body weight can put pressure on your blood vessels, which can increase the risk of developing varicose or spider veins in your legs.

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Leg Vein Treatment Options

Compression Stockings

Specially designed stockings help to improve circulation in the legs by applying pressure to the veins. They are often recommended as a first-line treatment for varicose veins and spider veins.

Vein Stripping and Ligation

In severe cases of varicose veins that have not responded to other treatments, vein stripping and ligation surgically remove the affected vein through small incisions in the skin.

Laser Therapy

Often used to treat spider veins and small varicose veins, laser therapy is a non-invasive procedure that uses laser energy to heat and destroy the affected veins. 

Endovenous Ablation 

A minimally invasive procedure used to treat larger varicose veins, endovenous ablation involves inserting a catheter into the affected vein and using heat energy to seal it shut.


A minimally invasive procedure that involves injecting a solution into the affected vein, sclerotherapy causes the vein to collapse and fade away over time. This treatment is often used for small to medium-sized spider veins and varicose veins.

Tired of Unsightly Leg Veins?

At Skin Care Doctors, our board-certified providers offer minimally invasive leg vein treatments, including laser spider vein therapy and sclerotherapy leg vein injections to do away with varicose and spider veins for good. Contact our office today to get started on a treatment that can restore healthy circulation and a smooth tone to your legs.

Better skin health starts here. Schedule your appointment today.

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