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If you have you have gnarled, enlarged veins, you have varicose veins. Though any vein may become varicose, the most commonly affected are in your legs and feet. Many people are only concerned about how varicose veins and spider veins — a common, mild variation of varicose veins — look. For others, varicose veins are uncomfortable and cause aching pain.
- Veins that are dark purple or blue
- Veins that appear twisted and bulging, often like cords
- An achy or heavy feeling in your legs
- Muscle cramping, burning, throbbing or swelling in your lower legs
- Itching around your veins
- Increased pain after sitting or standing for a long time
- Bleeding from varicose veins
- Skin ulcers near your ankle
Try these self-care options first to ease varicose vein pain or stop varicose veins from worsening:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Wearing looser clothing
- Elevating your legs
- Avoiding sitting or standing for long periods of time
- Wearing compression stockings
If you're concerned about how your veins look and feel, and self-care measures haven't stopped your condition from getting worse, see your health care provider.
You may have heard stories from the past about vein stripping or other invasive treatments for varicose veins. These treatments required a long recovery time and left long scars on the legs. Technology has advanced, and there are many minimally invasive treatment options that can make a difference with little-to-no downtime or scarring, including:
- Ablation and laser surgeries — Heat or light is used to damage the vein, causing it to collapse and fade away.
- Sclerotherapy — A solution is injected into the vein, causing it to collapse.
- Stab avulsion phlebectomy — Tiny incisions are made directly over a large varicose vein and it is removed in specific sections. The incisions usually are less than a half centimeter, and you will have little or no pain.
The process of destroying the veins with these techniques begins immediately, and most people see full results in about two months. After the treatment, your blood circulation is not reduced because it already has been rerouted to other healthy veins nearby.