Varicose veins are diseased veins that no longer allow proper blood flow. Some appear as bluish or green, bulging, curvy or ropey veins just under the skin. Some may be too far below the surface to be visible.
Symptoms of varicose veins include aching, tiredness and cramping, tingling, burning and dry, itchy skin. Signs that indicate underlying problems may include swelling, discoloration of the skin on the lower leg or ankle or leg sores that are slow to heal. Left untreated, varicose veins and venous insufficiency may lead to leg ulcers, bleeding or even blood clots.
Varicose veins develop when excess blood pools in leg veins and causes vein walls to weaken and bulge. Your leg veins have valves that speed blood flowing in the right direction, up and out of your legs, and back to the heart. Diseased valves no longer close properly, and allow blood to flow backwards, down the vein. The blood then pools and stretches the vein walls and further damages vein valves.