What Is the Difference Between Varicose and Spider Veins?

Many people think that spider veins and varicose veins are the same. While both have similar causes, they are not the same condition. Whether it’s  a cosmetic issue or a health concern, we at Santa Fe Vein and Med Spa are here to walk you through all the steps of treatment and recovery. You don’t have to put up with these unsightly veins anymore!

Causes of Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

Non-functioning valves within blood vessels can cause varicose veins. Veins work to return blood to the heart, but when a valve does not function the way it should, blood may flow backward into the blood vessel, resulting in venous insufficiency and vein enlargement. Spider veins can form for the same reason, but are can also develop due to obesity, heredity, pregnancy, and menopause. Risk factors for developing varicose veins may include genetics, age, standing profession, obesity, or hormonal issues.

Symptoms of Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

Appearance: Varicose veins are large, twisted blood vessels that are visible above the skin and usually form on the legs. Spider veins are smaller than varicose veins and may appear on the legs or face as red, purple, or blue threads that look like spiderwebs.


Discomfort: Most spider veins are asymptomatic, but in some rare cases, can cause an itching, burning or stinging sensation. Varicose veins may cause painful symptoms including heaviness, aching, swelling, throbbing, and leg fatigue.


Complications: Spider veins are usually a cosmetic concern, but in some cases, may cause some bleeding. Varicose veins may result in secondary conditions including pain, swelling, skin changes and ulcers. They may also bleed or clot.


Treatment of Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

Compression wear along with a regular exercise program, daily leg elevation, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding wearing high heels can help alleviate symptoms and slow the progression of both spider veins and varicose veins.

Dr. Kristen Biggs with Santa Fe Vein and Med Spa uses both a vascular laser and injection of a sclerosant solution to improve the appearance of spider veins. To treat varicose veins, Dr. Biggs uses minimally invasive treatments with the most sophisticated technology to date. The procedures are performed comfortably with local anesthesia in our office. Recovery is rapid, with minimal downtime.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Visit us today at Santa Fe Vein and Med Spa to learn more about spider veins and varicose veins and treatment options available. Dr. Kristen Biggs is the only board-certified vascular surgeon in Santa Fe. With her extensive training and experience, you can rest assured that you are in good hands. There is no reason to put up with these unwanted veins another day!



*Individual results may vary