Varicose veins are the visible surface manifestation of an underlying condition called venous insufficiency. When blood does not flow properly from the surface veins to the deep veins, pressure can build up causing loosely supported superficial veins to become dilated and twisted. Those lying in the fat under the skin give rise to varicose veins which can vary in size from quite small (2-3mm across) to very large (2-3 cm across).
Very small veins are called “spider veins” or “thread veins”. These veins are different from varicose veins because they are situated within the layer of the skin itself. They may look like short, fine lines, “starburst” cluster, or web-like maze. Spider veins are most common on the thighs, ankles and feet.
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