Unlike arteries in the leg, veins are thin-walled, low pressure tubes that return blood from the periphery to the heart. Vein branches, that sit directly under the skin frequently are subjected to higher vein pressures and enlarge over time. In addition, these enlarged veins often follow typical patterns of appearance and can remain symptomless despite growing huge and complex. The reasons for veins being subjected to increased pressure are numerous but can be narrowed during an evaluation by a vein surgical specialist.
Spider veins are very small blood vessels located in the outer layer of skin. The color is either red or blue based upon the capillary anatomy. These vessels are often unsightly in appearance, and sometimes cause discomfort in the skin. Reticular veins are a little larger and are located slightly deeper in the skin.
A leg ulcer is simply an area where the covering of skin has been completely lost and the fatty tissues beneath all the skin layers are now exposed.
Disease of veins, also known as Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) results in near constant high pressures within the superficial veins of the leg. The result is the development of varicose veins leading to a low level of chronic inflammation in the vein itself and surrounding tissues. In many patients, this inflammation eventually causes characteristic changes or signs seen on the skin. In addition, patients begin to relate a variety of complaints referable to their legs.