Varicose Veins Pain: Leg Cosmetic Issue or Medical Condition?

Do you have tired, throbbing, painful legs?  Are you concerned about varicose veins pain?  Perhaps you have been told that varicose veins are only a cosmetic problem.  Or, possibly you have family or friends who have undergone surgery only to be disappointed with the results.  Procedures are different now. There are many options available for treating the nagging leg vein pain.

The varicose veins in this patient caused considerable pain especially when she she was active enjoying hiking and an active lifestyle.picture of the right knee from a patient at a Mequon, Vein Clinic with painful varicose veins

What does varicose vein pain feel like?

Usually varicose veins pain is described as:

  • Throbbing, cramping, aching  or burning pain.
  • The pain may be associated with leg swelling, itching, heaviness and skin discoloration.  
  • Often the leg vein pain is worse at the end of the day and better in the morning.  
  • Also, the veins in leg hurt worse when they are enlarged.  The leg veins become more prominent and swell with prolonged standing or sitting, heat, and exercise

Can a spider vein cause pain?

picture of the outside of the lower leg of a patient with painful spider veins obtained from a Lakeshore Veins patient - Milwaukee area vein clinic

Yes, spider veins can be painful.  Typically, spider veins have no symptoms.  However, as the spider veins enlarge they can itch, pinch, burn, tingle or cause a pressure-like discomfort.  Eventually they can throb and ache or even bleed.

What causes varicose leg vein pain?

Varicose veins are caused by a failure of the valves in the leg veins.  This leads to a backup of blood in the veins with the veins becoming larger and rope-like.  This enlargement of the veins can cause inflammation which leads to pain. Occasionally, clots can form in the varicose veins which can also be quite painful.  The picture below shows redness along the varicose veins as seen with superficial phlebitis.

Picture of the right outside knee in a person with leg vein pain taken at a Mequon, Wisconsin vein clinic

What can I do to alleviate leg vein pain?

  • Get moving – avoid long periods of standing or sitting.  We have both arteries and veins in our legs. The arteries beat all the time and carry the blood to our feet.  That blood goes through a filter bed so the tissues get the oxygen and nutrients.  The veins carry the blood back to our heart. But remember, there is no big pump at our feet.  The blood flow moves in the veins when we exercise the calf muscle. The muscle squeeze compresses the vein and forces the blood flow forward.  We were built to move, not sit in chairs. If sitting or standing, do foot movements (heel-toe, spell alphabet with feet, etc)
  • ElevateGet your legs above heart level.  
  • Lose Weight – Those extra pounds puts added pressure on the veins in your legs
  • Wear Compression socks/stocking but avoid tight clothes – Medical grade graduated compression stocking are tightest at the ankle and have lesser compression as they go up the leg.  This forces the venous blood flow into the deep veins and up the leg. Tight compression sleeves and leggings do not work in this way and they can cause more foot and ankle swelling increasing pain.
  • Cool use cool water or ice on your legs

Are there natural remedies for my varicose vein pain?

The most widely studied natural supplement for varicose veins is horse chestnut.  Horse Chestnut contains the active ingredient Aescin which has been shown in clinical trials to reduce pain and swelling.  However, there are some drawbacks to Horse Chestnut. It is only approved for short term use. As with all drug/supplements consult your physician before using.

What if the vein in my legs still hurt?

Many office based procedures are available to treat varicose veins.  Insurance usually will cover these procedures when varicose veins cause symptoms.  Most procedures are done in an hour and you are walking immediately afterwards. There is very little down time or discomfort with the newer available procedures.  We are happy to answer any questions you may have at Lakeshore Veins, a Mequon, Wisconsin vein clinic.


a horse chestnut tree with leaves

Horse Chestnut for Varicose Veins

Winner Milwaukee top choice award

2018 Lakeshore Veins Wins Milwaukee Top Choice Awards

Lakeshore Veins Wins Milwaukee Journal Sentinal Top Choice Awards 

Winner Milwaukee top choice awardLakeshore Veins is a winner of 2018 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Choice awards for the second year in a row. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Top Choice Awards is a yearly online poll. Readers vote for their favorite organizations in many categories. Categories include entertainment, restaurants, health care and services. Readers nominated Lakeshore Veins in 3 separate health care groups. Voting started in June and went through the middle of July. Lakeshore Veins emerged as the top Medical Practice over a group of 28 other practices. This is a remarkable win for a small practice.   In that, Lakeshore Veins was chosen best over many large Milwaukee area medical practices. Besides that, Lakeshore Veins was voted the best Medical Spa and Best Cosmetic Surgeons. In those 2 categories they topped 5 other Milwaukee area vein clinics and many other organizations.

Lakeshore Veins Difference

Group photo of vein clinic staff at Lakeshore Veins serving greater Milwaukee, WisconsinLocated in Mequon, Lakeshore Veins clinicians treat venous disease. Vein disease can lead problems including varicose veins, leg swelling and leg pain. Vein disease can also progress to skin break down and venous ulcers. Additionally, vein disease can be cosmetically unappealing. Lakeshore Veins takes pride is excellent patient care.  As such, Lakeshore Veins is the only vein center in greater Milwaukee ,  in fact in all of Wisconsin, with national accreditation.  We pride ourselves at treating everyone like family. With excellent care, Lakeshore Veins draws patients from Milwaukee, Sheboygan, Kenosha, and Racine.

Most people are happy with the results and that the treatments are easy. Also, insurance covers many vein treatments if symptoms are present. At Lakeshore Veins we offer most proven vein procedures which we fit to your needs. Vein treatments include sclerotherapy for spider veins, as well as laser vein ablation, radiofrequency vein ablation, vein glue and newer medications given with ultrasound guided injections for larger veins. Please call to discuss what treatments are best for you.

We really want to thank our Lakeshore Veins community for voting us Milwaukee’s Top Choice in 3 health care areas.  We are most proud of our 2017 and 2018 Milwaukee Top Choice wins!

Logo of Lakeshore Veins & Wellness

Tips for Travelers with Venous Disease

Long trips are often accompanied by long hours spent in an uncomfortable seated position. Whether you’re in a car, plane, or train, sitting for an extended period of time decreases circulation because of pressure to the legs. It is important to understand how your circulatory system works and what precautions should be considered before any […]

Woman sitting, itching her varicose veins

Why Do My Leg Veins Itch?

Varicose and Spider veins have many associated symptoms.  Most people realize that their legs may ache or feel heavy, but varicose veins and spider veins also cause leg swelling, skin discoloration, venous eczema, restless leg syndrome and venous ulcers.