Are like varicose veins but smaller. They begin as tiny capillaries and appear as blue or red squiggles. They are small red, blue or purple veins that commonly appear on the surface of the thighs, calves and ankles. It's estimated that at least one third of the adult female population is troubled with this common problem. People often seek treatment for spider veins because of cosmetic concern. However, it is also common for spider veins to cause symptoms, such as aching, heaviness, itching and night cramps.
Spider veins may be isolated or associated with “feeder” veins. They can also be associated with larger underlying varicose veins.
Spider veins usually take on one of three forms:
1. They may appear in a spider shape with a group of veins radiating outward from a central point.
2. They may appear in a pattern that resembles branches on a tree
3. They may be in a linear pattern that appear as thin separate lines.
Certain factors contribute to the development of spider veins, including heredity, pregnancy, hormonal factors, weight gain, occupations or activities that require prolonged sitting or standing and trauma.