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The Differences Between Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

Varicose veins and spider veins affect millions of people around the world. Often, patients are affected by both simultaneously. Because of their similarities, many people are led to believe they are the same condition. However, despite being spoken of in the same vein, varicose and spider veins are quite different.


Varicose veins bubble up beneath the surface of the skin like a tangle of rope. They bulge prominently, especially when standing. Put simply, they occur when the valves inside a leg malfunction; instead of the blood flowing upwards through the leg and back to the heart, the veins stretch, allowing blood to flow backwards.

Unlike spider veins, varicose veins often have symptoms beyond aesthetics. Many people complain of aching, cramping, tiredness, and heaviness of the legs. Menstrual cycles and pregnancy can make these symptoms worse. In some cases, varicose veins can form a blood clot called thrombophlebitis. For this reason, it may be more pertinent for people with varicose veins to treat them.

Varicose veins can be taken care of with sclerotherapy, endovenous laser treatment, or microphlebectomy, depending on the severity of the condition.


Spider veins, on the other hand, are finer in size but still visible beneath the surface of the skin. Like their name implies, the veins look like little spider legs of a red or blue hue. They are mostly an aesthetic problem, with few reports of pain or cramping.

Spider veins can be rid of with sclerotherapy, though multiple appointments or check-ups may be necessary depending on the patient.



Both vein conditions generally occur in the legs. Persons with jobs that require hours of standing are more prone to varicose or spider veins, due to the kind of stress this puts on the veins. Both varicose and spider veins happen because of a weakness in the vein walls, which allows the blood to pool or leak.

Other possible causes include:

  • Heredity
  • Obesity
  • Birth control pills
  • Pregnancy
  • Blood clots
  • Medical conditions like tumors and constipation
  • Tight garments, like girdles

For both conditions, a lifestyle change can have a significant impact. By walking more or exercising at the gym, patients may prevent symptoms from getting worse, and potentially even see their current symptoms diminish.

Why Choose Via Vascular

Via Vascular has provided comprehensive treatment for varicose veins since 2005. Our physicians are highly experienced in minimally invasive techniques utilizing endovenous laser treatment, microphlebectomy, and sclerotherapy. Our board certified and subspecialty trained physicians are expert in the use of ultrasound guidance for vein treatment. Our many years of experience have allowed our healthcare providers to fine-tune our procedures to ensure high-quality outcomes and optimize patient satisfaction. We offer these services in a comfortable and convenient setting at our Northgate clinic.

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