Spider veins are clusters of blood vessels that are visible on the surface of the skin. They can appear as red, blue, or purple in color and get their name because they commonly look like spider webs or spider legs. Spider veins are typically found on the face or legs and are a sign that blood is not flowing properly in the area where the spider vein is visible.
While you may think spider veins are just a cosmetic concern and covered easily enough by concealer or clothes, they can worsen over time and become varicose veins. Varicose veins are large, bulging veins caused by failed blood valves that result in blood pooling in the veins in your legs. If left untreated varicose veins can cause pain, restless leg syndrome, external bleeding, and possibly even ulcers.
Spider Veins and High Heels
The normal flow of blood through the lower half of your body is heart, feet, heart. Your blood must travel from your heart all of the way down to your feet and then back up to your heart. The path from your feet back up to your heart is the most difficult in your circulatory system because of the distance your blood must travel while working against gravity. Spider veins and varicose veins commonly appear on legs because of the difficulty of blood traveling up your legs to your heart.
When you’re walking and lift your foot off of the floor to take a step, blood moves to your foot. When your foot hits the floor after taking a step, the muscles in your calf contract and pull the blood from your foot up toward your heart. When wearing high heels, your legs stay in a perpetually contracted state. One big reason many women like to wear heels is the shapely look that heels give legs by contracting calf muscles. However, constantly contracted calf muscles can inhibit the natural ability for your muscles to contract and pull blood away from your feet, increasing the chance that blood will pool in your veins and result in spider veins.
Spider Veins Prevention
You don’t have to throw all of your high heels out to avoid developing spider veins. Rather, make sure you’re alternating during the week between heels and flats. Consider purchasing a pair of compression stockings to wear with your heels; compression stocking help promote blood moving through your veins more freely. Finally make sure to alternate throughout the day between sitting and standing. Sitting or standing exclusively for long periods can also cause spider veins to develop.
Spider Veins Treatment
If you’re already suffering from spider veins, know that they will not go away on their own. Spider veins must be treated in order to disappear. Recently developed treatments for varicose and spider veins are much simpler and safer than older, outdated procedures and don’t even require surgery. To review some common spider vein treatments and estimate the treatment cost, visit our vein treatment cost/insurance calculator.