Blood Home > Information About Varicose Veins

If you have enlarged, swollen veins on the backs of your calves or on the inside of the leg, you may have varicose veins. These veins can be flesh-colored, dark purple, or blue, and often appear twisted and bulging (some people describe them as looking like cords).
Varicose veins are caused by a weakening of one-way valves within the veins. As a result of the valves becoming weak, blood can leak back into the vein and collect there and enlarge the vein. This condition is thought to affect approximately one out of two people age 50 and older.
In some cases, conservative treatment -- such as compression stockings, losing weight, and increasing physical activity -- is enough. When more aggressive treatment is required, it may involve things like:
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Endovenous methods (such as vein ablation) that use radiofrequency or a laser
  • Surgery.
(Click Varicose Veins for more in-depth information about this condition, including when to seek medical attention.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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