Are Varicose Veins Always Visible?

The most familiar type of varicose veins is those which appear as bluish, twisted veins bulging out beneath the skin of the legs. While these highly visible vessels are the most common, it is possible to have varicose veins that do not present in this manner. The pain and risks associated with these less visible veins are still serious issues.

By definition, varicose veins are those in which the walls lose integrity due to increased blood pressure. The one-way valves in the veins fail to function properly and blood that once flowed freely begins to pool, enlarging the vein. This most commonly occurs in the veins which run along the outer areas of the leg; however, it can occur within the inner leg muscle areas and other parts of the body.

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Muscular contractions typically aid with keeping blood pressurized and flowing throughout the body. This is the same principle by which compression stockings aid in blood flow. Veins which directly benefit from this type of pressurized interaction do not usually become varicose, but it can still occur. These varicose veins are embedded deep within the muscle area and can only be confirmed through a venous ultrasound test, which should be performed by a specialized medical staff and evaluated by a boardcertified doctor.

While visual confirmation is useful for identifying varicose veins in the leg, there are other symptoms which often occur and may aid in detecting those with less visibility, including early stages and inner areas. A mild pain in the pelvic area, leg cramping or burning sensation, lower limb fatigue and heaviness, recurring leg pain, and a general restlessness in the legs are just some of the invisible conditions that might be an indication of varicose veins. Consult a physician as soon as possible if you experience any of these symptoms


Beyond the physical pain and limited functionality that may occur with varicose veins, they pose an even greater health risk – blood clots. Harvard Medical School reports that those with varicose veins may have a higher risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot in the deeper veins of the leg. Blood clots are a serious health concern that have the potential of traveling through the bloodstream with critical consequences.

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The constant pain and potential risks associated with varicose veins make it worthwhile to investigate further if you feel that you may have the condition, whether visible or not. Some treatment centers offer free screenings and consultations to the general public.

Those in Greater Palm Springs and Riverside County should call 1-800-VARICOSE today to book a free screening at Desert Vein and Vascular Institute with board certified vascular surgeons Dr. Makku Sivia, Dr. Son Ha Yu, Dr. Trevor DerDerian, Dr. John Lee, and Dr. Neil Reddy.