Spider veins are small yet visible veins most often seen in the legs. They may be red or a darker blue in color and are most often seen in clusters. These small veins are not necessarily a medical problem but can be treated for cosmetic improvement when they are present. Spider veins are also known medically as telangiectasia.

The causes of spider veins are often broken into congenital (conditions a person is born with) and acquired factors. While there are about a dozen congenital underlying etiologies that can cause spider veins, yet they are still rare. Among the most prevalent are Klippel_trenaunay syndrome, Maffucci’s syndrome and Sturge-Weber syndrome.

Among the most common acquired causes of spider veins there are some that are controllable and others that are not. The unavoidable reasons for spider veins developing include normal aging, the presence of female hormones, pregnancy, prolonged sitting or prolonged standing, and a history of trauma. As for possibly controllable causes of spider veins there are a few which can be mentioned. These include other local varicose veins leading to greater venous hypertension, excessive sun exposure, obesity, long term application of steroid creams, and possibly hormone replacement or oral contraceptives in women.

At the Schulman Vein and Laser Center we often tell patients that ‘spider veins are like gray hairs- they are most often not a result or anything you are doing or not doing, but more commonly just something that occurs with aging’.