What is the Significance of Spider Veins Around My Ankles



Those unsightly tiny visible webs of spider veins around your ankles may not be welcome when they appear. But the information they reveal about what is happening beneath the surface of the skin is key to treating them. From my perspective as a vascular surgeon, the presence of spider veins around the ankles tells me 2 things. 1) There is vein reflux, and 2) which vein (the great or small saphenous vein) is the problem.

Spider veins are the swelling of tiny veins. These veins engorge with blood because of vein reflux. When blood pools in the main veins of the legs, it also affects the connected veins which swell and become visible beneath the surface of the skin. Spider veins can be red, purple, or blue and may be visible all over the legs: the thighs, the back of the knees, and around the ankles. They may vary also in size: some spider veins are readily visible, and others are extremely tiny and more subtle.

Regardless of how they appear, they in and of themselves aren't dangerous, but they do give us helpful information on what might be causing them and what to do about it. 


The presence of spider veins around the ankles tells us 2 specific things:

1. The location of veins around the ankles tells us which vein is causing the problem. 

  • If tiny spider veins are present around the inside ankle bone, it means you have vein reflux in the great saphenous vein. It is the longest vein in the human body. It runs inside of the leg from the groin, down the inner thigh, past the knee, and to the ankle. 

Great Saphenous Vein-1-1

  • If you have visible spider veins on the outside of the ankle vein, it means there is vein reflux in the small saphenous vein. The small saphenous vein runs from the back of the knee on the outside of the calf down to the outside of the ankle.

2) There is vein reflux.

Spider veins appear when there is an abnormal flow of circulation in the veins. When there is a problem with blood circulation in the lower legs, blood pools and exerts pressure on the veins. Typically, there are often additional symptoms that are common with a vein condition that you will notice. Things like: fatigue, swelling, aching, cramps, burning, and stinging. Our checklist for invisible signs of a vein condition will help you identify additional symptoms you may be experiencing. 

The good news is treatments really do help. In our experience, not only do veins go away but people feel better with treatment. Contact us for a free vein screening to start the process


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