Varicose veins are enlarged, dilated, tortuous, hypertrophied veins in legs with defunctioning valves. The veins affected are the great saphenous vein/short saphenous vein/their tributaries. By definition, their size is 4mm and above.
Spider veins are well-defined small veins measuring from 0.1mm to 1mm in diameter and appear on the surface layer of the skin. They may appear as scattered irregular veins but commonly occur in clusters of varying density. They are commonly seen in females (especially post pregnancy) and in elderly people.
Spider veins, also called telangiectasias, are of cosmetic concern to many patients because of their appearance and location, which may be at any site on the thigh, leg, ankle, and foot. But spider veins may also cause symptoms such as :
- Fatigue that increase with prolonged standing or sitting
- Subcutaneous spontaneous haemorrhage
Venous leg ulcers
Ulcerations or chronic non-healing sores of the lower leg, ankle or foot are most commonly caused by chronic venous insufficiency. These ulcers are frequently found to be associated with varicose veins or patients who have had deep venous thrombosis in the past.
Other causes of ulceration of the lower extremity such as diabetic foot ulcer, atherosclerotic occlusions of arterial blood flow, rheumatoid arthritis and infection must be considered before treatment is initiated.