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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Varicose Veins?

The signs and symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • Large veins that you can see just under the surface of your skin.
  • Mild swelling of your ankles and feet.
  • Painful, achy, or "heavy" legs.
  • Throbbing or cramping in your legs.
  • Itchy legs, especially on the lower leg and ankle. Sometimes this symptom is incorrectly diagnosed as dry skin.
  • Discolored skin in the area around the varicose vein.

Signs of telangiectasias are clusters of red veins that you can see just under the surface of your skin. These clusters usually are found on the upper body, including the face. Signs of spider veins are red or blue veins in a web or tree branch pattern. Often, these veins appear on the legs and face.

See your doctor if you have these signs and symptoms. They also may be signs of other, more serious conditions.

Complications of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins can lead to dermatitis (der-ma-TI-tis), an itchy rash. If you have varicose veins in your legs, dermatitis may affect your lower leg or ankle. Dermatitis can cause bleeding or skin ulcers (sores) if the skin is scratched or irritated.

Varicose veins also can lead to a condition called superficial thrombophlebitis (THROM-bo-fleh-BI-tis). Thrombophlebitis is a blood clot in a vein. Superficial thrombophlebitis means that the blood clot occurs in a vein close to the surface of the skin. This type of blood clot may cause pain and other problems in the affected area.

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Varicose Veins Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Varicose Veins, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.

 
February 13, 2014 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.