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Varicose Veins

What is varicose veins?

Varicose veins are large, swollen veins that often appear on the legs and feet. They happen when the valves in the veins do not work properly, so the blood does not flow effectively. The veins rarely need treatment for health reasons, but if swelling, aching, and painful legs result, and if there is considerable discomfort, treatment is available. There are various options, including some home remedies. In severe cases, a varicose vein may rupture, or develop into varicose ulcers on the skin. These will require treatment.

Symptoms of varicose veins

In the majority of cases, there is no pain, but signs and symptoms of varicose veins may include:

  • veins look twisted, swollen, and lumpy (bulging)
  • the veins are blue or dark purple

Some patients may also experience:

  • aching legs
  • legs feel heavy, especially after exercise or at night
  • a minor injury to the affected area may result in longer bleeding than normal
  • lipodermatosclerosis - fat under the skin just above the ankle can become hard, resulting in the skin shrinking
  • swollen ankles
  • telangiectasia in the affected leg (spider veins)
  • there may be a shiny skin discoloration near the varicose veins, usually brownish or blue in color
  • venous eczema - skin in the affected area is red, dry, and itchy
  • when suddenly standing up, some individuals experience leg cramps
  • a high percentage of people with varicose veins also have restless legs syndrome
  • atrophie blanche - irregular whitish patches that look like scars appear at the ankles