Broken veins (thread veins) are tiny veins found in the legs, face and ankles. They are approximately 2mm in diameter, appear just under the skin and have a reddish-blue appearance. Women and men of all ages can be affected, but broken veins tend to appear with age. The main cause is heredity; they are, however, also caused by obesity, excessive exposure to sunlight, contraceptive pills and pregnancy. The basic differences between broken and varicose veins are that varicose veins are deeper under the skin and bluish-green or skin-coloured in appearance.
Treatment can be holistic or medical. In many cases, symptoms are limited to an unattractive appearance of these veins. In more severe cases, they become enlarged, resulting in heaviness in the legs, itching and cramping at night. The condition may not be entirely reversible, but you can take preventive measures to lessen the appearance of broken veins and keep them from getting worse.
Apply make-up or a concealer that matches your skin tone to mask the veins.
Stay in motion and avoid standing in the same place for an extended time, or sit to reduce the pressure on the feet. Wear protective stockings with compression whenever possible.
Reduce the consumption of alcohol, spicy foods and caffeine if they make the conditions worse. Stop smoking.
Exercise regularly, eat a high fibre diet to avoid constipation, and maintain a healthy body weight.
Deeply massage the area using natural oils and creams, available from health stores, several times daily to strengthen the veins. Take dietary supplements such as vitamins C, K and E to avoid swelling and poor circulation problems.
Avoid using birth control pills.
Avoid wearing tight clothing.
Elevate legs during sleep, about 6 to 12 inches above the heart level.
Consult a physician for medical treatments if the problem gets worse. This may include surgical removal or collapsing of the broken veins and redirecting the flow of blood to healthy blood vessels. Non-surgical options include sclerotherapy, which is a painless procedure using chemical injections to close the affected veins. Laser therapy is also common and similar to sclerotherapy. Laser therapy is performed in the doctor’s office with the use of anesthetics to minimise the pain.
Approximately 80 million men and women suffer from leg vein problems, half of which are women over age 40, according to Continuum Health Partners.
Hormones such as oestrogen weaken vein walls.
Tips and warnings
- Approximately 80 million men and women suffer from leg vein problems, half of which are women over age 40, according to Continuum Health Partners.
- Hormones such as oestrogen weaken vein walls.