If you have noticeable, prominent veins in your legs, veins that are bulging out, unsightly, and possibly painful, it’s likely they are varicose veins.  Varicose veins are typically large, twisting visible veins on the legs. They’re formed when valves in the veins don’t close fully, allowing blood to pool below the valves, and forcing the veins to seek to branch out and bypass the malfunctioning valves.  While many people believe they are just an aesthetic problem, they are actually an indicator of underlying venous disease. Over time, they get progressively worse, and can lead to more and more health problems, including extreme fatigue in the legs, skin ulcers, pain, and even blood clots that can be life-threatening.  Therefore, it’s imperative to seek varicose vein treatment. You’ll want to visit a qualified, board-certified vein doctor, who can treat the underlying venous disease as well as the varicose vein symptoms. Top vein specialists use the newest varicose vein treatments, including Varithena sclerotherapy foam, VenaSeal, and radiofrequency ablation.  These are all minimally-invasive treatments designed to collapse the walls of the veins that are malfunctioning, which results in rerouting of blood flow to other leg veins, and the disappearance of varicose veins.

An Introduction to Prominent Veins in Legs

Have you noticed prominent veins in your legs?  Big veins that are popping out, bulging, or protruding from your skin?  These can be minor and benign in some cases. However, more often, prominent veins in the legs are varicose veins.  Varicose veins can be a serious health concern, as they are the exterior visible symptoms of underlying venous disease.  Read on to learn more about varicose veins, how they are formed, the health problems they can cause, and why it’s important to seek varicose vein treatment from professional vein specialists.  

Prominent Veins in Legs are Often Varicose Veins

There is a difference between prominent veins in the legs and varicose veins.  Not all veins that are visible through the skin are necessarily varicose veins.  While it’s always best to let a professional make a determination, you can do a bit of self-diagnosis.  Varicose veins are characterized by long, big veins that look like a knotted rope, usually gnarly and twisted.  They can be dark purple, blue, green, and/or red in color. If you are experiencing any kind of sensitivity, itching, or pain associated with any of these prominent veins, it’s almost guaranteed that they are varicose veins.  

What are Varicose Veins and How are they Formed?

Varicose veins are outgrowths of your regular leg veins.  Normally, the way veins function is with a series of valves, opening and closing in rhythm, and working to flow blood back to your heart.  The valves of the veins can become dysfunctional over time, due to a variety of factors, including obesity, genetics, age, occupation, and pregnancy.  This results in blood pooling behind the valves. The veins then seek to branch out and find alternative pathways around the malfunctioning valves. Ultimately, you get visible, twisted varicose veins popping out through the skin, that become more noticeable, painful, and problematic over time.  It’s a sign of underlying venous disease, known as venous insufficiency – those malfunctioning valves – that causes the formation of the varicose veins.

Varicose Vein Symptoms

There are numerous varicose vein symptoms or complications that get worse over time.  These can include:

  • Ugly appearance of legs which may hurt your self-esteem and self-image.
  • Increasing pain and discomfort, especially as the veins grow larger and more prominent.
  • The more dramatically these veins are popping out, the more likely you are to develop bleeding, sometimes uncontrolled, from even simple actions like bumping or scratching your legs.
  • There are numerous unpleasant and life-threatening skin conditions that can develop as a result of varicose veins.
  • You can also develop blood clots within your leg veins (known as deep vein thrombosis), which can migrate to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal.  

The Importance of a Varicose Vein Consultation

Most people aren’t aware that varicose veins are a sign of an underlying venous disease.  But that is ultimately the root cause of the varicose veins developing. So, it is imperative to seek a proper varicose vein consultation from a vein specialist, in order to determine the best course of varicose vein treatment.  Just getting the veins treated for aesthetic reasons, without addressing the underlying problem, will simply result in new varicose veins developing. A trained vein doctor will be able to identify the malfunctioning veins, and use the newest varicose vein treatments to shut them down and eliminate your varicose veins permanently.  

Newest Varicose Vein Treatments

The latest varicose vein treatments are all minimally-invasive.  Surgery used to be the standard, but now, outpatient procedures can be done in a vein specialist’s office.  These treatments usually take an hour or less, have very little pain associated with them, and have short and speedy recovery periods.  All of the vein treatments seek to shut down the malfunctioning veins. Don’t worry – the veins responsible for varicose veins only account for a tiny fraction of blood flow in your legs, and you can do fine without them.  In fact, they are commonly removed to use as graft material for coronary artery bypass surgery. Briefly, the most effective and affordable varicose vein treatments in use today at top vein clinics include:

  • VenaSeal, also known as “vein glue.”  It’s a compound that is injected into the malfunctioning vein to close it up, resulting in elimination of varicose veins (and the underlying diseased vein).
  • Varithena, a form of sclerotherapy foam, is designed to be injected into the veins, to irritate the walls of the veins, and get them to collapse.  
  • Radiofrequency Ablation, under brand names VNUS or ClosureFAST.  This system inserts a radiofrequency probe into the malfunctioning vein, which uses radio wave energy to irritate the walls of the veins and get them to collapse.  

All three of these varicose vein treatments are extremely effective.  They may even be covered by your insurance, since venous disease is a medical problem.  Like most medical problems, it’s also best if you book an appointment with a qualified vein specialist sooner, rather than later, before complications become debilitating or life-threatening.

FAQs about Prominent Veins in Legs

What are the main causes of varicose veins?

Varicose veins are caused by venous disease.  The malfunctioning valves in the veins result in inefficient function.  Blood pools behind the valves, and the veins branch out seeking pathways around the malfunctioning valves.  This results in the formation of varicose veins.

What causes varicose/spider veins?

As discussed above, varicose veins are the result of the veins in the legs trying to branch out and bypass malfunctioning valves in the veins.  Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but much smaller in size and more diffuse, like a spider’s web, in appearance. However, the underlying cause is the same venous insufficiency.  

Are varicose veins and prominent veins the same?

Varicose veins are, by definition, prominent veins that are popping out through the skin visibly.  Not all prominent veins are varicose veins, however. High blood pressure and other factors can result in veins being more visible and bulging.  But varicose veins are almost always characterized by a twisting, knotted appearance. So, prominent veins in legs that don’t exhibit those characteristics likely aren’t varicose veins.  All others likely are, and require treatment.

Concluding Thoughts on Prominent Veins in Legs

Because prominent veins in the legs are often varicose veins, and varicose veins can have potentially life-threatening complications, it’s best to seek immediate treatment from a vein doctor.  Having a varicose vein consultation can help give you enormous peace of mind, and allow you to schedule a simple, minimally-invasive outpatient procedure to treat them. In almost no time at all, your varicose veins (and the underlying venous disease that caused them) can be eliminated, and you can get on with your life – now with your beautiful and properly-functioning legs back in action!