There is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about how and why varicose veins appear in some people, but not in others. By talking to patients, our doctors are able to help in clearing up some of the confusion about the cause of this condition, as well as effective treatment options.

It is important to realize that both varicose and spider veins, which are the smaller version of the problem, maybe a cosmetic issue for some people. However, there are also those suffering from chronic pain, burning, and aching in the feet and lower legs thanks to their varicose and spider veins. Although varicose veins are more commonly found in the legs, it is important to realize they can also occur elsewhere in the body as well.

Our doctors will discuss with our patients the fact that having these gnarled, protruding veins in the lower to upper legs or elsewhere on the body may be a sign of deeper circulatory system problems or that they may be at a higher risk of suffering from these issues.

Signs and Symptoms

There is a difference between visible veins that are evident through the skin and those which are varicose or spider veins. The most common symptoms of varicose vein conditions include:

  • Bulging, lumpy, and twisted looking veins, particularly on the upper and lower legs and the feet.
  • Dark blue to purple color to the protruding veins.
  • Sores, lesions, or ulcers that appear on the ankle and upper foot.
  • Itching around the visible veins.
  • Muscle cramping and edema (swelling) of the lower legs and feet.
  • Burning or throbbing sensations, especially after standing for long periods of time.
  • Legs constantly feeling heavy and sore deep into the leg itself without any reason, trauma, or injury.

In some cases, elevating the legs, wearing compression stockings, and changing your time standing or sitting can help to relieve the signs and discomfort. For most people, treatment will be required.


There are several different issues contributing to the development of varicose veins in the legs and other areas of the body. The most common include:

  • Pregnancy -“ women may experience spider and varicose veins during their pregnancy, especially the last few months. This can be triggered by weight change, hormonal changes, and changes in the cardiovascular system during pregnancy. These types of vein issues may simply disappear a few months after the baby is born.
  • Age -“ the older the person gets, the more likely that blood pressure changes can occur. When the cardiovascular system is less effective, blood can become trapped in the veins, leading to swelling and discomfort.

Other factors such as obesity, standing or sitting for long periods of time on an ongoing basis, lack of physical activity, family history, and even the use of some hormone replacement therapies may increase the risk.

Learn more about the services we offer by calling our North Center location at 773-231-9884 or our Downtown Chicago location at 312-234-0750

North Center

2333 W. Irving Park Rd.
Chicago, IL 60618


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Same-Day Appointments Available!

Portage, IN

6050 Sterling Creek Rd.
Portage, IN 46368

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Chicago Vein Institute is a practice solely dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of vein diseases. The experts at CVI perform the latest and most effective treatments for painful varicose veins, spider veins, and other vein-related disorders. CVI offers minimally invasive treatment options, including Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA), Ambulatory Phlebectomy, Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy, Surface Sclerotherapy, Elastic Compression Stockings and wound care for venous ulcers, performing more than 11,000 vein-related procedures annually. Same-Day appointments and multi-lingual team members standing by to assist.