Spider and Varicose Veins: What’s the Difference?

Although there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve noticed someone who has spider or varicose veins on their legs before, if a part of you has wondered what the difference is between the two, you are not alone. That’s a fairly common question.

Spider and Varicose Veins

If you’d like some additional information on both kinds of veins along with tips on how to prevent them, this article will address your concerns.

Spider Veins

One of the biggest differences between spider veins and varicose veins is the fact that spider veins tend to be significantly smaller in size. Aside from that, another way to differentiate them is the fact that they are usually a purplish-red color. Another thing that sets spider veins apart from varicose veins is the fact that spider veins tend to be flat while showing up on the surface layer of the skin. Plus, spider veins respond to different forms of treatment than varicose veins do. Usually, it’s laser therapy and sclerotherapy that remove spider veins over time.

Varicose Veins

If you were to speak to a professional who works at the Premier Vein Institute about what separates varicose veins from spider veins, they would probably provide you with a few examples. For one thing, while spider veins are around 1 mm in size, varicose veins are approximately 3 mm; this makes them significantly more prominent. Then there’s the color of varicose veins; they are usually blue. Another big difference with varicose veins is they are usually more painful than spider veins. The reason why is because while spider veins develop on the surface, varicose veins usually involve some of the major veins within the leg area. Also, if varicose veins are left untreated, then can cause a series of additional health issues. That’s because the blood valves inside of those veins oftentimes result in blood moving in the wrong direction. Upon initial diagnosis, it’s pretty common for medical professionals to recommend the continual wear of compression stockings. However, if relief is not found a certain amount of time, a procedure known as endovenous laser ablation may be required in order to close up larger veins. In some cases, plastic surgery is also advised.


When it comes to preventing spider and varicose veins from occurring, the good news is that there are some simple things that you can do. You can work out on a regular basis; that will help to keep your weight under control while also keeping your leg muscles in great condition. When you’re out in the sun, you can put on sunscreen; it’s proven to help prevent age and dark spots and also spider veins. You can avoid crossing your legs; that can keep the blood circulating smoothly. If you’re a woman, you can wear flat shoes more than heels; that will allow your calf muscles to contract more consistently. And when you’re resting, you can elevate your legs with a pillow. That will remove some of the pressure from your legs and feet and ultimately get the blood flowing back to your heart.

If you do happen to already have spider and/or varicose veins and you’d like some tips on things that you can do to treat them from home, visit WebMD and put “spider and varicose veins” and “treatment” in the search field.

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