Varicose veins are swollen, bulging veins that protrude from the surface of the skin often with a blue or purplish colour. They commonly have a rope-like or cord-like appearance on the skin. Varicose veins are extremely common, affecting up to 15 percent of men and 25 percent of women.
The word ‘varicose’ comes from the Latin root ‘varix,’ which means twisted. While veins anywhere in the body can become varicose, the veins most susceptible to varicose veins are those in the legs (often on the backs of calves or inside of legs). This is due to the larger pressure exerted on these veins from sustained standing, walking or other factors.
While varicose veins are often unsightly and do cause cosmetic concerns, they can cause very significant symptoms and also be indicative of underlying vein disease, which may progressively get worse if not treated. Varicose vein symptoms (aside from the bulging veins) may include painful varicose veins, leg heaviness, leg fatigue and swelling, skin discoloration, itching and burning.