Are Spider Veins Harmful?

legs with spider veinsSpider veins are a milder type of varicose veins. They can be unsightly when their weblike patterns (hence the name) are visible on the surface of your skin. Spider veins look like clusters of thin purple or red lines. While they aren’t harmful, to eliminate the appearance of spider veins, minimally-invasive procedures can effectively remove or reduce their appearance.

What Causes Spider Veins?

Just like varicose veins, spider veins can develop when the valves in your veins are damaged or defective. This results in inefficient blood flow, so your blood collects in the veins. Spider veins causes can include:

  • Standing or sitting for long periods of time
  • Obesity
  • History of blood clots
  • Hormonal changes
  • Sun exposure
  • Skin trauma or injury
  • Conditions that put pressure on your stomach, such as constipation or tumors

What Are the Symptoms of Spider Veins?

The most obvious symptom of spider veins is the appearance of clusters of veins beneath the surface of your skin. Most people experience this in their legs. Spider veins don’t bulge like varicose veins do. Other symptoms can include:

  • Cramps or aches in your legs
  • Fatigue or restlessness
  • Heaviness in your legs
  • Burning, itching, throbbing, or tingling sensations in your legs
  • Skin ulcers

When Should You Seek Treatment?

Make an appointment to see your doctor if:

  • You’d like to minimize the appearance of your spider veins
  • Your veins are tender or warm to the touch
  • Your veins are causing pain
  • You develop rashes, sores, or skin ulcers
  • You develop thickening skin or your skin changes color on your ankle or calf
  • Your spider veins bleed

How Are Spider Veins Diagnosed?

A vascular specialist is a good choice for the diagnosis and treatment of your spider veins. Your doctor will perform a physical exam. During the exam, your doctor will conduct an evaluation and assessment of your legs. Your doctor will also ask about any pain or other symptoms that you may be experiencing. An ultrasound test may be performed, which helps your doctor determine blood flow and to see if there are any blood clots present.

How Are Spider Veins Treated?

Typically, spider veins aren’t painful and seldom cause any further problems or medical conditions. Nevertheless, if you’re experiencing pain or wanting spider veins removal, your treatment options can include:


The most widely used treatment for spider veins removal. Your doctor gives you an injection using a fine needle directly into your spider veins. The injection causes the spider veins to gradually shrink, collapse, and ultimately disappear.

Your doctor will perform the procedure in the office, it’s almost pain-free, and there is no down time. Your doctor will apply compression to the treated area(s) using bandages/wraps after the procedure, and you may have to wear compression socks or leggings for about a week. Compression helps make the procedure more effective and facilitates healing. You may need more than one session to gain the best effects.

Laser Surgery

This procedure uses concentrated beams of light aimed at the spider veins, which heats and destroys them, eventually causing them to disappear.

Our heart and vein doctors at Heart Vein NYC have more than two decades of experience providing the New York City area with comprehensive, effective vascular care for those suffering from spider veins and other vascular conditions. Contact our caring heart and vein doctors if you suspect a vascular problem. Call 212.226.8000 or fill out this form to schedule an appointment with Heart Vein NYC today.

NYU Langone Logo
Lenox Hill Hospital Logo
Northwell Health Logo
Columbia University Medical Center Logo

Request Appointment

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Thank you for contacting us! We will get in touch with you shortly.