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Varicose Vein Bruising

Varicose Vein Bruising

Jun 18, 2024 | Blog

Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins that appear under your skin, usually in your legs, and they are a common vascular condition that affects approximately 23% of adults in the United States. They tend to appear as blue or dark purple veins and common symptoms are aching in your legs, swelling in your lower legs or ankles, and itching around the veins. Varicose vein bruising occurs when these swollen veins burst or bleed. In addition to some discoloration around the area, you may experience some localized tenderness as well.

At CACVI we offer specialized varicose vein treatment performed by board certified Endovascular and Cardiovascular Surgeons. With over 30 years of experience we have successfully conducted thousands of operations for various vascular conditions. Schedule a free consultation to discuss possible treatment options with our expert team and address your varicose vein bruising concerns.

In this blog, we will discuss the different causes of varicose vein bruising, when to get medical attention, and some prevention tips to stop them from appearing.

What are Varicose Veins?

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are twisted, bulging veins with a blue or dark purple appearance that commonly appear on your legs caused by weak vein walls and valves. When the valves in your veins become damaged or weak, they fail to regulate blood flow effectively, which causes you to develop varicose veins.

There are several other risk factors that contribute to the formation of varicose veins. Aging is a significant cause, as your veins lose their elasticity the older you get. Your genetics also play a crucial role, as a family history of varicose veins will increase your risk. Other factors like obesity, pregnancy, and hormonal changes can further weaken vein walls and valves.

Varicose veins have a significant impact on how blood is circulated through your body. Your veins are tasked with returning blood from the rest of your body to your heart where it is reoxygenated. However, weakened valves allow blood to flow backward and pool, hence leading to varicose veins. One symptom often associated with varicose veins is a busted blood vessel in your leg. It can cause bruising and pain further affecting blood circulation.

Varicose Veins Symptoms

Varicose veins are usually characterized by aching or a heavy feeling in your legs, skin discoloration, burning, throbbing, and itchiness around the veins. You may also notice muscle cramping and increased pain after sitting or standing for long periods. In more severe cases, they could point to a more serious health issue like Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI), a condition where your veins struggle to send back blood to your heart.

While varicose veins are usually not a threat to your overall health, we encourage you to monitor your symptoms because this helps you spot more serious concerns early on. Signs that your varicose veins may need medical attention are persistent pain, change in appearance (such as increased bulging or darkening), and rashes or skin ulcers that are not healing quickly. Usually, these symptoms are associated with more serious conditions such as cancer, which may lead you to mistakenly think you have varicose veins cancer.

It is important to note that this is not always the case. The symptoms you are experiencing are more likely due to untreated varicose veins rather than cancer. Understanding this difference can help you manage unnecessary panic.

What is Varicose Veins Bruising?

What is Varicose Veins Bruising?

Varicose vein bruising happens when the weakened and swollen veins near your skin experience trauma or pressure which causes them to burst and bleed into the surrounding tissue. This results in visible bruises that leave a dark and discolored patch on your skin.

Bear in mind that not all cases of bruising are caused by varicose veins. For example, a cut or blow to your body can also cause a bruise. However, if your bruising is caused by your varicose veins, you will likely experience additional symptoms like swelling or pain.

A bruised varicose vein can lead to internal or external bleeding. Bruises form when blood has collected somewhere it ordinarily should not, potentially causing bleeding problems if left unaddressed. Additionally, your bruising may also be a sign that you are suffering from skin ulcers. These varicose ulcers, also known as venous ulcers, develop when excessive pressure builds up in your veins due to malfunctioning venous valves. If left untreated, this increased pressure can lead to the formation of open sores, typically on the legs. Symptoms of leg ulcers include shallow sores with a red base, leg pain, and a warm or hot sensation on the skin’s surface. In cases of infection, you may also notice odor or pus in the affected area.

If you begin to notice a consistent change in the appearance of your varicose veins followed by bruising you should seek treatment for an ulcer that may soon develop.

Types of Varicose Veins Bruising

Bruised varicose veins have distinct characteristics depending on the level of severity. Minor bruising is the least severe and usually occurs after the affected area has suffered minor trauma or pressure. The bruises are small and generally not painful. They tend to have a bluish or purple-looking discoloration accompanied by slight swelling.

Moderate bruises involve more noticeable trauma hence their larger appearance. They cause a more significant change in skin color and are accompanied by pain and noticeable swelling. The discomfort caused by these bruises may impact your daily activities making their proper treatment something to prioritize.

Lastly, severe bruising occurs when the skin has been through significant trauma or pressure resulting in bleeding under the skin. These bruises are large, deep, and very painful. The discoloration caused by such bruises can vary from dark blue to black. This level of bruising requires medical intervention to prevent further complications.

In a nutshell, typical bruising occurs as a result of trauma or injury to the skin. When blood vessels rupture and leak blood into surrounding areas, it leads to discoloration in the affected area. This is what we know as a bruise. Varicose vein bruises on the other hand are specifically linked to the weakness of the veins near your skin. Such veins are more likely to burst and lead to bruising even with minor pressure.

While varicose veins are a common culprit for bruising other vascular issues are equally responsible for causing bruising. Conditions like Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Venous Insufficiency can also result in bruising because they impair blood flow and cause damage to blood vessels.

Symptoms That Accompany Bruising in Varicose Veins

Symptoms That Accompany Bruising in Varicose Veins

Bruising in varicose veins is often accompanied by heaviness and fatigue, itching and irritation, discoloration, swelling, and pain. To identify serious symptoms you should watch out for the following visual indicators:

Hardening veins – veins that become rope-like

Open Sores/Ulcers – skin ulcers or sores near the veins

Severe Discoloration – large bruises that do not fade over time

Varicose Vein Symptoms vs. Regular Bruising – How To Tell the Difference

Telling the difference between a bruise caused by your varicose veins and a regular bruise involves looking at different factors. For example, bruises from vascular issues usually appear without any known injury or trauma. They tend to be large and need a longer time to heal compared to your regular bruises. Additionally, you may experience pain, swelling, and tenderness in the affected area.

Your regular bruises on the other hand are a result of injury or trauma to your skin from things like bumping into an object or falling. They tend to heal within a week or two. Regular bruises are easy to keep track of because they typically appear shortly after a fall or bump. Unlike bruises caused by varicose veins or other vascular issues, these bruises generally do not cause pain, swelling, or symptoms that go beyond the immediate area of impact.

When to See a Doctor for Varicose Veins Bruising

Because varicose veins are not inherently life-threatening they are often written off as a cosmetic concern. However, knowing when to worry about your varicose veins can potentially save your life. If you experience persistent pain, swelling, or redness in the affected area this may signal complications such as a blood clot or infection and as such you should consult a doctor. If your bruising is accompanied by ulcers this is a serious reason to seek medical help. When left untreated, varicose veins can result in blood clots, chronic venous insufficiency, or skin ulcers all of which require extensive treatment. Doctors typically diagnose these issues through physical examinations, ultrasounds, blood tests, and venography to assess the progression and severity of varicose veins and associated bruising.

Treatment Options for Varicose Veins

Treatment Options for Varicose Veins

Treatment options for varicose veins vary depending on their severity and the symptoms presented. Common home treatments for varicose veins include lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and wearing low-heeled shoes. Other non-surgical options available are the use of compression stockings and regular leg elevation. These treatment options primarily focus on improving blood circulation in your legs and reducing the pressure on your veins.

Timely medical intervention is crucial to not only treating varicose veins but also preventing complications. Healthcare professionals diagnose varicose veins through a combination of physical examinations and diagnostic tests. A key diagnostic tool is vascular ultrasound, which uses sound waves to create images of the veins and assess blood flow. This non-invasive test helps identify the location and extent of vein damage, aiding in the development of an appropriate treatment plan.

Minimally Invasive Procedures for Varicose Veins

Minimally invasive surgical procedures are rapidly becoming popular because of their effectiveness in treating varicose veins. Examples of such procedures are sclerotherapy, venography and venous stenting, and laser treatment. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution directly into the veins which close them and forces your blood to travel through healthier veins. Results of sclerotherapy are visible within weeks.

Venography and venous stenting involves a similar process of injecting a solution into your veins. The major difference in this case is the solution is used in conducting an X-ray to spot any abnormalities in blood flow. If any abnormalities are spotted, the veins are then opened up to promote blood flow, this is referred to as venous stenting.

Another minimally invasive procedure for treating varicose veins is endovenous ablation. It involves the use of a thin catheter and heat to seal off the affected vein. This process causes the vein to collapse and it is eventually absorbed into the body. Endovenous ablation is performed using local anesthesia and helps to effectively reduce the appearance of varicose veins.

If the treatment methods discussed above are not suitable for your condition, you will be offered a surgical procedure called litigation and stripping. In this procedure, your doctor will tie off the diseased vein to stop blood from flowing through it (litigation), and then the vein is removed through a small incision made in your skin (stripping). The surgery is performed under local anesthesia and it is typically used when less invasive treatment options are not effective. Ligation and stripping can significantly reduce symptoms and improve the appearance of varicose veins, but it may require a longer recovery period compared to other vein treatment options.

Prevention Tips for Varicose Veins and Bruising

Prevention Tips for Varicose Veins and Bruising

To prevent your varicose vein symptoms from worsening, incorporate a combination of lifestyle adjustments and supportive measures. Regular exercise is crucial as it strengthens leg muscles and promotes blood circulation. A healthy diet, rich in fiber and low in salt, helps reduce the risk of constipation and water retention, which can aggravate varicose veins.

Additionally, compression stockings are an excellent supportive measure to prevent varicose veins. They provide gentle pressure on the legs that aids blood flow and reduces swelling. It’s best to wear them during the day, especially when standing or sitting for prolonged periods. If you are experiencing varicose vein symptoms, it’s important to consult a vein specialist for personalized advice and early intervention.

Do You Need to See a Doctor for Varicose Vein Bruising?

Varicose veins may not always pose an immediate threat, but when managed poorly they may lead to complications such as skin ulcers, chronic inflammation, and increased risk of blood clots. These conditions can significantly impact your life and require extensive treatment to avoid complications. Simple changes in lifestyle habits such as maintaining a balanced diet, staying properly hydrated, and shedding excess weight go a long way in preventing your symptoms from worsening.

Monitoring changes in your varicose veins is crucial for preventing complications. If you observe worsening symptoms or new issues, it is essential to reach out to a medical professional for a diagnosis and proper treatment. At our Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Interventions in LA we provide comprehensive Endovascular and Cardiovascular Evaluation services delivered by expert vein specialists. Schedule a free consultation today to take charge of your vein health.


If you were told you need an amputation, get a second opinion! We are board certified consultants in endovascular interventions committed to improving the quality of your life and the lives of those you love!

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