Spider veins are small red, blue or purple veins on the surface of the skin. Varicose veins are larger distended veins that are located somewhat deeper than spider veins.
Arteries bring blood from the heart to the extremities, veins, which have one-way valves, channel blood back to the heart. If the valves don’t function well, blood doesn’t flow efficiently. The veins become enlarged because they are congested with blood. These enlarged veins are commonly called spider veins or varicose veins.
Pain in the legs is frequently related to abnormal leg veins. Symptoms, often made worse by prolonged standing, include feelings of fatigue, heaviness, aching, burning, throbbing, itching, cramping, and restlessness of the legs. Leg swelling can occur. Severe varicose veins can compromise the nutrition of the skin and lead to eczema, inflammation or even ulceration of the lower leg.
Vein disorders are not always visible; diagnostic techniques are important tools in determining the cause and severity of the problem. In addition to a physical examination, non-invasive ultrasound is often used.
Compression stockings help alleviate the swelling and pain caused by varicose veins. These stockings will also help heal any skin inflammation or ulcerations which have developed. However, there has never been any evidence to show that compression stockings prevent the formation of varicose veins. Since the diseased veins that are causing the symptoms are not being eliminated, the compression stockings have to be worn indefinitely. Some insurance companies are now requiring patients to wear prescription strength compression stockings for 3-6 months before they will consider reimbursement for treatment.
Studies have shown that wearing graduated compression stockings after sclerotherapy plays an important role in reducing the risk of complications as well as improving the results and clearing of the treated veins.