Spider veins are clusters of small surface veins that are typically red, blue, or purple and have developed from weakened or damaged valves in the tiny vessels. Spider veins are much smaller than varicose veins but do not often cause pain or symptoms. Below are some causes of spider veins and ways of prevention:
- Genetics- There is a strong familial component for developing spider veins. Often times, patients will report multiple family members with pesky spider veins.
- Pregnancy- Hormonal changes and abdominal pressure during pregnancy can cause spider veins to form or become more prominent.
- Excessive Standing or Sitting- Long periods of standing or sitting can increase pressure in the veins, causing them to dilate and damage the valves, leading to prominent veins on the skin. Try to take short breaks when sitting or standing for long periods of time or do a brief walk. Compression stockings may also help reduce some of the pressure on the veins when standing or sitting for extended periods.
- Sedentary lifestyle and increased BMI (Body Mass Index) - Exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help decrease the risk of spider veins.
- Trauma or injury- Some people will notice spider vein formation after a focal trauma to their leg.
Spider veins can be easily treated in the office setting using sclerotherapy injections. This is where the small clusters of spider veins are injected using a medication, called a sclerosant. Over time, the spider veins close off and fade away. If you are interested in learning more about spider veins and treatment, contact the Vein Institute to set up an appointment!