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Varicose Veins


Varicose veins

are veins that become large, twisted, and swollen. They are common on the back of the calves, knees, and thighs. Varicose veins are caused by valves in your veins that do not work properly. This causes blood to collect and increase pressure in the veins of your legs. The increased pressure causes your veins to stretch, get larger, swell, and twist.

Varicose Veins

Common symptoms include the following:

Your symptoms may be worse after you stand or sit for long periods of time. You may have any of the following:

  • Blue, purple, or bulging veins in your legs
  • Pain, swelling, or muscle cramps in your legs
  • Feeling of fatigue or heaviness in your legs
  • Cramping in your legs

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have a wound that does not heal or is infected.
  • You have an injury that has broken your skin and caused your varicose veins to bleed.
  • Your leg is swollen and hard.
  • You notice that your legs or feet are turning blue or black.
  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have pain in your leg that does not go away or gets worse.
  • You notice sudden large bruising on your legs.
  • You have a rash on your leg.
  • Your symptoms keep you from doing your daily activities.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment of varicose veins

aims to decrease symptoms, improve appearance, and prevent further problems. Treatment will depend on which veins are affected and how severe your condition is. You may need procedures to treat or remove your varicose veins. For example, your healthcare provider may inject a solution or use a laser to close the varicose veins. Surgery to remove long veins may also be done. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about procedures used to treat varicose veins.

Manage varicose veins:

  • Do not sit or stand for long periods of time. This can cause the blood to collect in your legs and make your symptoms worse. Bend or rotate your ankles several times every hour. Walk around for a few minutes every hour to get blood moving in your legs.
  • Do not cross your legs when you sit. This decreases blood flow to your feet and can make your symptoms worse.
  • Do not wear tight clothing or shoes. Do not wear high-heeled shoes. Do not wear clothes that are tight around the waist or knees.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can make your varicose veins worse. Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him or her to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.
  • Wear pressure stockings as directed. The stockings are tight and put pressure on your legs. They improve blood flow and help prevent clots.
    Pressure Stockings
  • Elevate your legs. Keep them above the level of your heart for 15 to 30 minutes several times a day. You can also prop the end of your bed up slightly to elevate your legs while you sleep. This will help blood to flow back to your heart.
    Elevate Leg
  • Get regular exercise. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise can improve blood flow to your legs and feet.
    Diverse Family Walking for Exercise

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Varicose Veins (Ambulatory Care)

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.