What Is the Difference between Varicose and Spider Veins?

When you’re talking about those raised, swollen blood vessels often found on the legs, are you talking about varicose veins or spider veins? Or when you have small, red, purple or blue veins that twist and turn all over the skin, which kind or those? Are varicose and spider veins the same thing? How are they different? How are they alike? To help answer these questions, here’s a look at some of the basics of these two types of vein issues and why they matter.

Varicose Veins and Spider Veins: How They’re Alike

Both of these vein conditions stem from similar root issues. With varicose veins, the problems stems from non-functioning valves of blood vessels. The blood moving through the vein can’t move forward properly so it goes backwards, causing an enlarged vein. Spider veins come from the same issue, although their likelihood can be worsened by conditions like obesity, heredity, pregnancy and menopause.

Varicose Veins and Spider Veins: How They Differ

Varicose and spider veins have a lot in common, but the main way they differ is in appearance. Varicose veins are raised, swollen blood vessels that twist and turn beneath the skin. Spider veins, similarly, are smaller blood vessels in various colors, such as red, purple and blue. Additionally, varicose veins can be very painful, while spider veins typically don’t hurt. Spider veins are typically smaller and more superficial, whereas varicose veins are larger and deeper.

Warning Signs of These Conditions

In addition to the visual cues for vein conditions, there are other warning signs. When you’re experiencing some or all of the following symptoms, you may be dealing with varicose or spider veins:

  • Leg muscle cramps
  • Throbbing, burning and/or itching sensations in the legs
  • Tiredness in the legs
  • Swollen ankles and/or legs

The good news is, whichever of these conditions you’re facing, we have a variety of effective treatments available. Contact us The Vein Institute of Hunterdon to set up a free consultation to look at your veins and determine the best course of treatment. We’ll be happy to serve you!

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Clinton 1738 Route 31Suite 110
Clinton, NJ 08809
Bridgewater 1121 Route 22West Suite 201
Bridgewater, NJ 08807


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