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Can Spider Veins Cause Pain?


Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they don’t swell or bulge like varicose veins do. Spider veins can be unsightly and become a cosmetic concern, especially when webs form on the face, but they can be safely eliminated.

What Are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are a mild type of varicose veins. Spider veins are blood vessels that look like thin, blue, purple, or red lines. A network of spider veins looks like a web (hence the name “spider”) on the surface of the skin. Spider veins usually form on the face, legs, or feet.

What Causes Spider Veins?

Spider veins are visible because they are dilated, close to the surface blood vessels. Spider veins form due to increased pressure in the veins. The medical community doesn’t know specifically why some individuals have spider veins while others don’t.

There is some evidence that the inclination to develop spider veins is hereditary. It’s also more common to get them as you age. People who stand for long periods of time are more prone to increasing the pressure in the veins of the legs, and then are more likely to develop spider veins.

Other possible causes of spider veins include:

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Puberty
  • Menopause
  • Birth control pills
  • Hormonal replacement therapy
  • Blood clots
  • Conditions that cause increased pressure in the abdomen, such as constipation or wearing girdles.
  • Trauma or injury to the skin
  • Exposure to ultraviolet rays

Do Spider Veins Cause Any Pain?

Typically, spider veins are harmless, though sometimes you may experience aching, burning, or mild pain, especially when you've been on your feet for long periods of time. If you have serious leg pain, see your doctor, because spider veins are not usually the cause of the problem.

Are There Any Other Effects from Spider Veins?

Spider veins are colored and thread-like, so you may not like how they look cosmetically. Left untreated, they may cause a general itchiness or numbness around where spider veins are present.

How Can Spider Veins Be Treated?

There are two effective spider vein treatments that can give you good results. Talk with your doctor to see what treatment options are right for you.

  • Sclerotherapy is a common treatment for spider veins. A solution is injected into the vein, pressuring it to shrink, which stops the blood flow. Then the vein blanches white and fades after a few weeks. About 50% - 90% of people who receive sclerotherapy see improvement. If you’re pregnant or have a history of blood clots, sclerotherapy is not recommended.
  • Laser treatment is a non-invasive procedure that can help eliminate or minimize the appearance of spider veins. Since some spider veins are typically small, fine thread-like veins, they’re harder to treat using injection-type therapies like sclerotherapy. Certain finer spider veins respond best to laser treatment where a laser is passed over the target areas. The laser light is absorbed by the blood, causing the vessels to condense and then be absorbed by the body.

Some people may experience skin reddening and bruising, but these side effects subside over time. There is little downtime, but it’s important to protect treated areas from sun exposure while you heal.

If you’d like more information regarding spider vein removal, schedule a consultation with our highly experienced dermatologists at the Skin Center of South Miami. Our providers are experts when it comes to laser skin rejuvenation procedures and are dedicated to delivering personalized care for every patient using cutting-edge technologies. Call us today at 305-740-6181 or fill out the form on this page to schedule a consultation at our South Miami office.


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