Varicose veins

Varicose veins are enlarged veins that are visible through the skin and may appear as blue or purple knot-like cords. Varicose veins can appear anywhere on the body but typically are found on the legs.  Spider veins are a milder type of varicose veins and generally resemble a spider's web. They are red or blue in color and are commonly found on the face and legs under the surface of the skin.


The symptoms of varicose veins may resemble other conditions so it is important to consult a physician for a proper diagnosis.  Severe varicose veins may produce long-term swelling that can result in more serious skin problems, such as ulcers and non-healing sores.

Other symptoms include:

  • color changes in the skin
  • sores on the legs
  • rash
  • sensations in the legs, such as heaviness, burning and/or aching 


Treatment options for varicose veins are determined by the patient's age, overall health, medical history and extent of the condition. Medical treatment may not be necessary if there are no symptoms. 

Non-surgical methods for treating varicose veins include elevation of the legs and/or compression stockings.  The most common treatment for both varicose and spider veins is sclerotherapy (a procedure involving a saline solution injection into the varicose veins that causes them to harden so that they no longer fill with blood). The veins that receive the injection eventually shrivel and disappear, and the scar tissue is absorbed by the body.

For a small minority of patients, surgical approaches may be necessary.

The UK Vascular Surgery team works together to offer patients the most up-to-date information on the latest diagnosis and treatment methods. Call 859-257-1000 or toll free 1-800-333-8874 for an appointment.

Page last updated: 1/6/2016 4:34:33 PM