Leg spider veins are unsightly vessels in the skin up to 1 mm in size. Also known as thread veins or broken veins, the medical term for these veins is telangiectasia.
What do they look like?
Spider veins have a typical appearance and most people instantly recognise them. They can occur anywhere on the leg but they are frequently found on the outer thigh, inner calf and around the ankle.
What causes them?
In my practice, 90% of people requesting advice or treatment are women. Young women with no symptoms usually have no underlying issues with the veins underneath the skin and in this situation, the spider veins are said to be “idiopathic”. Women who have symptoms such as leg throbbing, swelling or leg discomfort during menstrual cycles, may have underlying vein problems or even varicose veins. In this situation, the spider veins are said to be “secondary”.
When are spider veins a problem?
For most people, it is the unsightly appearance of the spider veins that causes embarrassment, poor self-esteem and lack of confidence. This is often the motivation for seeking help. For others, symptoms such as leg ache, throbbing and swelling may cause concern. Spider veins around the ankle may indicate a major problem with the function of veins below the skin and these spider veins should always be taken seriously. These veins are called “Corona Phlebectatica” also known as ankle flare.
How can Spider Veins be treated?
People with no symptoms, no ankle flare or varicose veins MAY be treated by Micro-injections (Microsclerotherapy). Under the advice of a healthcare professional, and in the absence of other health conditions such as diabetes or artery disease, those with secondary spider veins can consider wearing good quality medical-grade compression socks or stockings, at least in the short term. For a longer-lasting solution, a vein scan and the advice of a vein specialist should be sought.