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What Do Varicose Veins Look Like?

Author: Blog Author Posted: October 23, 2017 Category:

If you’re looking at your legs and wondering if you have some sort of leg vein disease, you’re not alone. According to the Office on Women’s Health, more than 50 percent of women and more than 40 percent of men have varicose or spider veins. Knowing what varicose veins look like can help you identify them and eventually seek out the right vein treatment for them. Here are a few ways to identify problem veins.

Identifying Varicose Veins


Varicose veins can actually be a range of colors, although one of the most common colors is blue. The Mayo Clinic  describes varicose veins as being either blue or purple in color, while the Office on Women’s Health states that they can be blue, red or flesh-colored. Spider veins, on the other hand, are usually either red or blue.  In some cases, the skin in the area around the problem veins is discolored and might be red.

Texture and Size

One thing that makes varicose veins relatively easy for a doctor to diagnose is their texture. Often, the veins look like ropes or cords under the surface of the skin. The veins are usually bulging and twisted, rather than existing in a straight up and down line. 

Unlike varicose veins, spider veins typically aren’t raised above the skin. Instead, they look like tiny tree branches or spider webs that are slowly spreading their way just beneath your skin’s surface. 

In terms of size, varicose veins tend to be enlarged or swollen. Since they stick out from the skin, they look bigger than typical, healthy veins.


One of the most common locations for varicose veins is on the legs. The veins can form allover the legs, on the calves, thighs, and ankles. The veins can also form on the buttocks and vaginal area if they develop when a woman is pregnant. 

Spider veins also commonly develop on the legs and can spread all over the leg area. In some cases, spider veins can also appear on the face.

How You Can Improve Your Vein Health

Varicose and spider veins can make you feel self-conscious about the appearance of your legs. Whether you have veins that bulge from your legs or that look like webs or tree branches, you might be more inclined to cover up. Fortunately, a number of treatments are available to help eliminate problem veins or keep your vein problems from becoming worse. 

At Bellamah Vein Center in Missoula, Montana, vein doctor and vascular surgeon Dr. David Bellamah specializes in the treatment of leg veins. To learn more about your treatment options and ways to improve vein health, call (406) 203-1866 to schedule a consultation today.