Varicose Veins are twisted and enlarged clusters of veins that appear on the skin. These veins also appear to be blue or purple in colour. They are often surrounded by spider veins which are small, dilated blood vessels in the skin. Varicose veins are harmful to normal wellbeing as it may lead to more severe conditions such as venous stasis ulcers. Venous stasis ulcers develop when veins cannot drain fluid and skin does not get enough oxygen. Varicose veins also lead to inflammation of the veins called Phlebitis and blood clots in the dilated veins called Thrombosis. 


Varicose veins mostly appear on the legs and pelvic area. The veins appear in twisted clusters. They turn blue or purple with time. For some people, mild varicose veins are only a cosmetic concern. Severe Varicose veins cause the swelling of legs which can even extend to the ankle and feet. This causes discomfort and heaviness while performing day-to-day chores. Varicose veins are usually accompanied by burning and throbbing muscle cramps. Varicose veins also cause soreness behind the knee. The skin around on and around the varicose veins usually discolors and starts to itch. In some cases, skin ulcers begin to form in the affected area.  While most varicose veins occur near the skin’s surface, deeper veins also develop varicose veins. The deeper varicose veins cause swelling and hardening of the skin. 


Veins are blood vessels spread throughout the body. The purpose of veins is to carry oxygen-poor blood from the organs to the heart. Veins have valves that open only one-way, keeping blood flowing towards the heart. When the valves get weak or damaged, blood starts accumulating in the veins which causes them to start swelling. This swelling of veins leads to varicose veins.

Some factors increase the risk of varicose veins. Women are four times more likely to develop varicose veins. Obesity and overweight increase the risk of varicose veins as it increases the pressure on the veins of the legs. A person has a greater chance of developing varicose veins if their parents or other family members have it. Varicose veins are more likely to happen in the absence of regular exercise or other physical activities.


A person should consult a doctor when the varicose veins have started to create physical problems such as tiredness, pain, swelling and inability to walk or stand properly. The doctor will discuss with the person the line of treatment that is most suitable.

In India, one can consider looking for a varicose vein treatment in Kerala as the state provides the most cost-effective treatment.

Surface laser and micro-electric treatments are used for smaller veins that are very close to the skin. In this procedure, a device is run slowly along the vein over the skin. The device generates small bursts of laser or electricity. The heat of these bursts closes these veins.

Varicose veins can be treated with injections depending on the size and location of the vein called Sclerotherapy. A chemical solution is administered in the veins. This causes the veins to shrink and disappear. It is to be noted that noticeable results will only be visible after several sessions. Around 40 veins can be treated effectively in one session using two to three injections. The procedure is not painful and therefore does not require anesthesia. The patient is made to wear medical-grade stockings for three to four weeks after the procedure. Light exercise and walking can accelerate recovery in patients. The varicose veins will gradually disappear within a period of six months. However, this procedure does not stop new varicose veins from developing. There are minor and temporary reactions to the procedure such as irritation and swelling in the injected area. 

The more severe varicose veins are treated with a procedure called Varicose Vein Ablation. With the aid of ultrasound for guidance, the doctor treads a fine catheter through a small incision in the calf or knee area. Then the doctor guides the catheter into the major superficial veins in the legs. A numbing solution is injected into the area. A delicate heating element is then put inside through the catheter. The heating element uses radio waves to heat the veins from inside. When the veins are heated enough, they collapse. In eight to twelve months’ time, these superficial veins will disappear and not even show on an ultrasound. The deep veins now carry the blood to the heart more efficiently.  

For even deeper and larger veins an invasive surgical procedure called vein stripping is performed. In this procedure, two incisions on the skin are made over the ends of a varicose vein. Then the affected vein is tied and pulled out. 

There are various lifestyle changes that can be made to avoid varicose veins such as weight management and regular exercise. We should avoid tight clothing and choose proper footwear for ourselves. We should also avoid long periods of continuous sitting or standing.