Thread Veins on Legs

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Leg thread veins are usually blue or purple in colour and are quite thin, surprisingly enough they are found on the legs. They are frequently called ‘spider veins’, because of their web-like appearance. There are no symptoms of leg thread veins other than their appearance, which a lot of people find unpleasant and embarrassing. You might occasionally experience a sight ache from a leg thread vein, but this tends to be rare.

Why Do I Have Leg Thread Veins?

No one is completely sure why thread veins can develop in your legs, but a few things seem to be linked to their appearance. For instance, certain types of occupation are suspected of inducing thread veins, particularly ones where you are on your feet for long periods of time: teacher, hairdresser, waitress etc. This prolonged standing time puts pressure on your legs and can result in blood circulation slowing down, possible blockages and thus leading to thread veins. Similarly an overly sedentary lifestyle in which many hours a day are spent seated or lying down can cause thread veins as pressure is also applied on your lower body by your chair when seated.

If you’ve had any sort of leg injury recently this could be another reason why you have developed thread veins. Injuries place pressure on the cardiovascular system, meaning that blood flow around an injury can be disrupted, leading to the damage of blood vessels and hence thread veins.

We can also see thread veins begin to develop as a result of years of crossing our legs whilst sitting down. This constricts circulation in the legs, increasing the risk of blood pooling in the veins and therefore being visible in the form of a thread vein.

Varicose veins are also a big cause of thread veins in the legs. Having one condition doesn’t necessarily mean you have the other, and they certainly aren’t the same thing, but often varicose veins are a cause of thread veins. Veins become varicose when the valves that ensure blood flows in the correct direction stop functioning as they should. The result is effectively a pooling of blood in sections of the leg. This can naturally place undue stress on surrounding smaller vessels, leading to thread veins on the leg.  

How Are Leg Thread Veins Treated?

The most common treatment for leg thread veins is sclerotherapy. This requires injections applied directly into the veins via an ultra-fine needle in order to weaken or collapse the vein walls, stopping blood flow through them and therefore making them no longer visible. Other treatments include laser therapy, in the leg a small incision is made and a focussed beam of light passed through the offending thread veins. The heat from the laser causes the target vessels to collapse, these are then absorbed by the body in the following weeks.

If thread veins are a consequence of varicose veins, the latter should be treated first, if you’re lucky the lot will clear up! Varicose vein treatments can be surgical, laser, or sclerotherapy as well, but you should always consult a doctor for the best course of action.

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