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Do Varicose Veins Hurt?

Last updated: December 11, 2019
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Varicose veins affect approximately 20% of all adults. This means 1 in 5 people will suffer from varicose veins at some point in their life. The impact varicose veins can have on the quality of life can vary greatly from person to person.

For some people, varicose veins may mean no more than the unsightly appearance of blue or purple, twisted veins close to the surface of the skin. For others, those same veins may be a sign of compromised circulation in the legs and if left untreated could lead to more problems down the road.

We’ve listed out some of the most common signs and symptoms you may find yourself dealing with when it comes to varicose veins.

What are some signs and symptoms of varicose veins?

If you don’t have any pain.

Some people with varicose veins never have any pain; they simply have to deal with the cosmetic appearance of the veins. Below are the common signs of varicose veins you’ll deal with even when no pain is involved:

  • Veins that appear to be dark purple or blue in color
  • Veins that can be bulging and almost look twisted

If you have pain.

Sometimes varicose veins are not merely a cosmetic issue and come coupled with pain.

Learn how to tell if your vein problems are more than cosmetic here.

Answering the question, “do varicose veins hurt”, can be tough as the level of pain typically varies from person to person. However, here are some common, more painful symptoms of vein disease:

  • Burning
  • Throbbing
  • Muscle cramping
  • Swelling
  • Aching
  • Heavy feeling
  • Itchiness around veins
  • Skin discoloration around veins
  • Increased pain after sitting or standing for long periods of time

And if not dealt with, some of those symptoms can get even worse and could lead to the following vein issues.

Venous Ulcers

According to an article on the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “venous leg ulcers are the most common complication of varicose veins.” If you leave vein issues untreated, “they develop into open wounds about 3 to 6% of the time.”

When blood pools in the veins of the lower legs, fluid and blood cells leak into the skin and other tissues. This causes skin to become itchy, thin, and skin changes called stasis dermatitis. Stasis dermatitis in an early sign of venous insufficiency.

So how do you know if you have venous ulcers? Here are some of the signs and symptoms of venous ulcers you’ll likely encounter:

  • Shallow sore with a red base, sometimes covered by yellow tissue
  • Sore that is unevenly shaped
  • Surrounding skin may be shiny, tight, hot, discolored
  • Pain
  • May have a bad odor and pus if it becomes infected

If any of these signs or symptoms sound familiar to you, then schedule a consultation with one of our vein specialists as soon as possible. Venous ulcers are not the type of things that get better on their own — in fact, they will only continue to get worse.

Schedule a consultation with a vein specialist.

A female physician sits with a man at consultation to discuss his varicose veins

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Something that may start as swelling, pain, tenderness or discoloration in your calf or thigh can end up being so much more: deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a medical condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein. And while you may not be very familiar with that term, DVT is much more common than you’d think. According to the CDC, between 60,000 and 100,000 Americans die every year from DVT and pulmonary embolism (PE), a serious complication of DVT.

So what can you do if your varicose veins hurt and you’re worried that pain may suggest something more serious?

Elevate your legs

For short-term relief from pain caused by your veins, elevate your legs above your heart. This helps the blood flow more easily from your lower body to your heart and takes the pressure off your veins. 

Stick your legs in a cold bath

Cold temperatures are helpful in shrinking swollen blood vessels, which will help get rid of that heavy feeling you may be experiencing with your varicose veins.

Exercise

Going for a walk or getting moving in any low-impact way will be very helpful in getting your blood flow going again. This is especially important if you are sitting or standing for long periods of time during the day.

Woman tying a shoelace before workout

Stretch

Stretching is crucial to your overall health, but especially your vein health. Any struggling veins will get some relief with a few minutes of stretching.

Wear compression stockings

Wearing compression socks or stockings during the day may reduce aches and pain associated with varicose veins. Compression stockings help push fluid up the leg, allowing for improved blood flow from the leg to the heart.

Schedule a consultation

No matter what level of pain you are experiencing, the first thing you should do is schedule a consultation with a vein specialist near you. This is the only sure way to determine the true condition of your veins, and what level of treatment is required to get your health back on track.

Are you experiencing pain caused by varicose veins?

Contact Vein Clinics of America today.

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