Love Your Legs: Solutions For Varicose Veins


Do you ever avoid wearing shorts or dresses because of how the veins in your legs look? Do you experience pain or a sense of heaviness in your legs?

Visible veins that are blue or red, thin and spidery or thick, large and bulging could be the sign of a circulation problem called venous reflux. Healthy veins contain tiny one-way valves that allow blood to defy gravity and travel from the lower extremities up to the heart. If a valve is defective, some of the blood comes back (refluxes) and pools in the legs, causing the vein to bulge.

Often these veins are not a health risk, but they may cause discomfort or affect your confidence in your appearance, says Jordan Knepper, M.D., M.Sc. When blood flow in the legs is weak or slow, it can result in the following conditions.

  • Varicose veins: These bulging, bluish veins, usually in the legs or feet, can cause aching pain or a feeling of heaviness—especially after standing or walking.
  • Spider veins: Thinner and smaller than varicose veins, spider veins appear as squiggly threads close to the skin’s surface. They are usually found on the legs or ankles, but they can also appear on the face.
  • Reticular veins: Appearing as a blue or purple line on the thighs, lower legs or ankles, this type of vein does not protrude above the skin surface as varicose veins do. Reticular veins can cause pain and can branch or feed into spider veins; removing them can help eliminate spider veins.

“If you are concerned about veins or broken blood vessels, several solutions are available that do not require skin incisions or need only a tiny puncture,” explains Dr. Knepper. “These procedures are usually done on an outpatient basis with a local anesthetic, resulting in little or no downtime, minimal pain and a short recovery period.”

An experienced vascular physician can evaluate your condition, explain your treatment options and work with you to choose the plan of care that is safest and most effective for you.

Listen to Dr. Knepper talk more about varicose veins and other vascular issues on an episode of “TMI” (Talk More about It), a podcast produced by Henry Ford Allegiance Health.

To schedule an appointment with a vascular physician, visit or call 1-800-HENRYFORD (436-7936). If you’re in the Jackson area or south central Michigan, visit or call 1-888-862-DOCS.

Dr. Jordan Knepper is a board-certified vascular surgeon with Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson.

Categories: FeelWell