Varicose Veins: Myths vs Facts

Learn more about the Venefit (™), outpatient varicose veins treatment offered by the Imaging departments of Memorial Hospital of Carbondale and Herrin Hospital.

Myth: Spider veins are the same thing as varicose veins

Truth: Both varicose and spider veins are caused by dysfunctional valves inside the veins. However, spider veins appear as a nest of blue or red veins just under the surface of the skin, and do not protrude from beneath the skin. Though they do not pose a medical risk, spider veins can be removed with minimally invasive procedures for cosmetic reasons.

Myth: Crossing legs often contributes to varicose veins and CVI (Chronic Venous Insufficiency)

Truth: Crossing your legs has little correlation to varicose veins and CVI. However, being overweight often contributes to the formation of varicose veins, with the added pressure on the legs and ankles causing the veins to bulge and blood flow to be disrupted. Regular exercise is recommended to increase blood flow in the legs and maintain a healthy weight to mitigate conditions that can lead to CVI, particularly varicose veins.

Myth: Varicose veins are not a result of prolonged standing

Truth: Those spending significant time on their feet are at higher risk for developing varicose veins. It is recommended that those with careers where they are often on their feet, such as restaurant servers or athletes, rest each day by elevating their feet above their heart.

Myth: Men are not at risk for developing varicose veins and CVI

Truth: Men, though less likely than women to develop varicose veins, are at risk for CVI. In fact, 42% of men are expected to develop varicose veins by the time they reach their 60s. However, a majority of those do not seek treatment until symptoms worsen.