Many people confuse spider veins and varicose veins. Oftentimes these terms are viewed as synonyms for the same condition. However, there are a few key points that differentiate varicose and spider veins.

How they’re similar:

Varicose & spider veins can be caused by hereditary factors, pregnancy, obesity, & aging. Blood vessels can become dilated resulting in blood pooling within the veins. Due to this pooling, veins can become enlarged and can result in either spider or varicose veins.


How are Varicose & Spider Veins Different?

Spider veins are affected by blood pooling that is veins less than one millimeter in diameter. Spider veins typically manifest as red or blue lines branching on the skin’s surface and resemble a spider’s web.

On the other hand, varicose veins appear as blue blood vessels twisting and bulging below the skin’s surface. Varicose veins are much larger, featuring a diameter of 3mm or more.

Even though spider veins and varicose veins share similar causes, symptoms, and treatments, it is possible to differentiate between the two conditions.



As mentioned above, the key difference between the appearance of spider & varicose veins is their diameter and appearance on the skin. Spider veins appear as thin lines on the skin, whereas varicose veins are larger and bulge through the skin’s surface.



In most cases, spider veins are painless. Spider veins rarely cause leg swelling and do not cause long-term health issues. For this reason, removal of spider veins is typically classified as a cosmetic procedure. Occasionally, itching and burning sensations can accompany spider veins which can irritate the skin.

Varicose veins are typically accompanied by more pain, and those afflicted may experience leg fatigue, swelling, throbbing, and restlessness in the legs. Untreated varicose veins can lead to more severe conditions including Leg Ulcers, Vein Thrombosis, and Lipodermatosclerosis.


Secondary conditions

Spider veins are mostly considered a cosmetic concern. However, at times spider veins may bleed due to hard rubbing or bumping into hard objects.

Varicose veins are prone a variety of secondary conditions which can ultimately contribute to blood clotting within the vein. If blood clots dislodge from inside the vein, they can restrict blood flow to other areas of the body and cause significant harm.



As Spider veins are a less serious condition than varicose veins, the treatment of spider veins is less intensive. Contact us to learn more about our vein treatment options.

Treatments for Varicose Veins depend on their severity. However, FDA approved technology allows for a variety of minimally invasive procedures.


Curious about learning more? Contact us to schedule a consultation!