The main difference between varicose veins and spider veins is in the appearance. Varicose veins are enlarged veins that are often seen in the legs and feet, usually a blue or purple color. Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but much smaller. Whereas varicose veins are described as “bulging”, spider veins are small capillaries that are red, blue, or purple in color and form “squiggles”. They look either like a spider, like branches on a tree, or form a linear pattern. In addition, some people feel discomfort associated with the varicose veins, but not with spider veins because they are so small. Beyond that, both types of veins have similar risk factors, prevention techniques, and treatment options.
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