Varicose Veins and Other Vein Disorders


The chief symptoms of varicose veins are:

  • Bulging or twisted veins that you can see under the skin. They may be dark blue or purple.
  • Bruising, burning, itching, cramping, or aching in the legs, which often is made worse by standing.
  • Swelling of the legs that is better in the morning and worse as the day goes on.
  • Pain or warmth in the legs.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency and Superficial Thrombophlebitis

You may have varicose veins that lead to changes in your skin color or swelling of the legs and ankles. Your healthcare provider may diagnose this as a condition called chronic venous insufficiency. This condition may cause serious pain, heaviness, cramping, skin sores, or ulcers.

Varicose veins can lead to inflammation inside the vein, which in turn can lead to blood clots. These occur most commonly in the legs, but they can also occur in the arms. If the clot is in a vein close to the skin, it is called superficial thrombophlebitis.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot occurs in a large vein deep within your body.

Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis include swelling, pain, tenderness, redness, a brownish color change in your skin, and warmth. Symptoms usually become worse at the end of the day and may get better temporarily after you lie down at night. It may become painful to walk, and the leg with the clot in it often swells much more than the other leg. These are especially common after surgery or a long period of inactivity, like a long road trip or airplane ride.

A clot in a deep vein increases your risk of serious health problems. For example, a dislodged clot (embolism) could travel to your lungs and block a pulmonary artery, causing a potentially fatal condition called pulmonary embolism.

If you experience any symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, seek medical attention immediately.

Last Updated October 2020