Spider Veins

Spider Veins

What are Spider Veins? What are Broken Blood Vessels?

Spider veins, or broken blood vessels, are the smallest easily visible veins that are seen most often in the legs. They are the smallest branches of the part of the circulation that help to return blood back to the heart from the body. In medical terminology they are known as telangectasias.Only a very small amount of blood is carried in spider veins as they are very narrow and are of limited length. They most often appear as a bright red or, if larger slightly, blue color, and often in clusters or patches. If you press your finger along these spider veins they may seem to magically disappear. In reality what your have done is merely pushed the colored blood out of them temporarily, but it will return shortly. The term broken blood vessels is actually not fully correct as they are not really broken vessels like varicose veins but rather only slightly enlarged leg veins.In the legs spider veins can appear almost anywhere but they are most often seen in the outer thigh in a rainbow type of arching pattern, around the ankles and the inner knees. They are also more commonly seen in women then in men.


What causes spider veins is one of the most frequently asked questions vein specialists hear. Most often there is no single answer. Many different factors can cause these leg veins to occur. The most common probable causes include

  • Family history
  • Female hormones as they are seen much more frequently in women
  • Possibly oral contraceptives
  • Prolonged standing
  • Venous hypertension or varicose veins
  • Larger ‘feeder veins’ that are directly connected to the spider veins
  • Age
  • Rare congenital conditions


Treatment of spider veins (or broken blood vessels as some people call them) is a very large part of what we do at the Schulman Vein and Laser Center. We believe in treating not just the spider veins themselves but also when possible the causes of the veins. In some cases this is possible while in others we often say that spider veins are like grey hairs- they are just something you may develop with time but not as a result of anything you did or didn’t do. A more detailed discussion of spider vein treatment is available on our vein treatments page. Click here to view some of our Spider Veins before and after treatment photos

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