For many, varicose veins are a cosmetic problem. Some view their coiled blue pattern as an eyesore; others just don’t like the way they look on their legs, leading to self-confidence issues. When the problems aren’t cosmetic, they can have a very real impact on a person’s life — we’ve previously written about how varicose veins can cause burning sensations, itching, and more.

But if you have those latter symptoms — itching, a heavy feeling in the legs, or simply general discomfort — you might suspect that you have varicose veins, even if you can’t see them. We see patients with these concerns often in our Milwaukee, Wisconsin practice, and in this article, we’re going to cover if it’s possible to have invisible or hidden varicose veins, and what you can do about it.

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are a common problem among at least a quarter of American adults. A varicose vein is a vein that has become twisted and enlarged, usually after the blood in them starts flowing in the wrong direction owing to vein valve failure. The resultant pooling of blood is what causes varicose veins to become visible on the surface of the skin.

Can You Have Invisible Varicose Veins?

Yes! Especially in early stages, varicose veins can lie invisibly under the skin. These hidden varicose veins lack the visibility of their visible counterparts, but they can still cause the same symptoms. As far as actual danger is concerned, however, worry not — your invisible varicose veins are most likely harmless.

There are a few ways to tell if you have invisible varicose veins, and they tend to follow the same symptoms as visible varicose veins.

The first is leg heaviness. If your legs are feeling heavier than usual, it’s possible that the vein valves in your legs have failed, causing them to expand and leading to venous reflux — which in turn causes varicose veins.

The second is an itching or burning sensation. This happens for a similar reason as the heaviness: blood builds up in your damaged veins and can leak, causing itching and burning. The localized inflammation from this can also exacerbate this sensation.

If your legs are swollen, that may also be a sign of varicose vein development. Plenty of things can cause swollen legs, such as spending a lot of time sitting down or standing. However, if you find that your legs appear swollen more than usual, and with no change in behavior, it’s possible that you might be developing varicose veins.

Leg cramps can also be a sign of varicose vein development. As with swelling, there are manifold reasons why your legs may cramp. But if you find they’re cramping more often, it could be an indicator that you are developing varicose veins.

Finally, restless legs may also indicate the presence of varicose veins. If you find yourself feeling the need to move or kick your legs, especially at night, you could be showing signs of varicose veins. 

Even just one of these signs could be an indication that you have varicose veins. If you’re concerned about whether or not you have varicose veins, visible or hidden, reach out to us via our contact page — we’d be more than happy to assist you.

What Can Be Done About My Leg Discomfort?

For the time being, there are a few things you can do to temporarily relieve your leg discomfort.

You can try adding more exercise into your life, such as biking or walking. In fact, we’ve even put together a handy list of easy exercises you can do at home to get the blood flowing.

Otherwise, you might want to consider a regular icing regimen for your legs. This should provide pain relief and reduce swelling. You can also elevate your legs when you find yourself having varicose vein pain-related issues.

However, the only true long-term solution is vein treatment. Vein treatment is a fast, low-pain option that will put you on the path toward solving your varicose vein problems for good. If you’re interested in vein treatment solutions, reach out to us — we’ll talk you through which procedure is right for you and work with you to get it done on your schedule.