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Spider Veins vs Varicose Veins: What’s The Difference?

Varicose veins treatments

Spider Veins vs. Varicose Veins – Unravelling The Difference

Do you see swollen, raised, or small, blue, and red veins resembling branches on your legs? If you answered yes, that could be either varicose or spider veins.

While the two terms are often used interchangeably, you must know that there are a few major differences. These two conditions may occur for the same reasons, affecting men and women alike. However, knowing the differences between spider veins vs varicose veins is essential to decide the right exercises for varicose veins or spider vein treatment.

Read on to know what’s the difference between spider veins vs varicose veins while getting an overview of the appropriate treatment options.

What Do You Mean By Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins refer to twisted veins that appear red, blue or skin-colored. Larger veins might appear rope-like, making your skin bulge outwards. You will most likely find these types of veins on your back, thighs, front calves, and insides of your legs, like feet and ankles. In pregnant women, varicose veins may appear around the lower pelvic area, inner thigh, buttocks, etc.

What Are Spider Veins?

Spider veins, also known as thread veins, are comparatively smaller and appear as red veins branching within your skin. As its name implies, it also seems as spider web. You can see its occurrence under your skin on the face or legs. However, between spider veins vs varicose veins, the latter do not bulge.

What Can Cause Spider Veins And Varicose Veins?

While the exact cause of spider veins vs varicose is unknown, in several cases, it could be a genetic disorder. It is more common in women compared to men. Changes in the estrogen levels in a female’s blood might play a major role in forming varicose veins. These hormonal changes may occur during pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and breastfeeding.

Other factors that might increase your risk of developing varicose veins and spider veins are:

  • Sitting or standing continuously for a prolonged time.
  • Staying immobile for a long time
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise

Spider Veins Vs Varicose Veins: In What Ways Are They Similar?

Vein doctors opine that vein conditions will likely stem from similar root issues. Varicose veins arise due to the dysfunction of valves in blood vessels, leading to inadequate forward movement of blood and the enlargement of veins. Spider veins share a similar origin, with factors such as obesity, heredity, pregnancy, and menopause potentially exacerbating their occurrence.

How Do Spider Veins Vs Varicose Veins Differ?

The two conditions- spider veins and varicose veins affect one’s blood vessels. However, the main difference parameters include their appearance, size, underlying causes and symptoms.

The pointers that differ between spider veins vs varicose veins are:

Appearance And Size

Spider veins are finer and smaller blood vessels that may appear blue, red and purple, resembling tree branches or spider webs. These veins appear close to your skin. Contrarily, varicose veins appear as swollen, larger blood vessels that may be dark purple or blue that twist and bulge over the skin. They look like twisted, raised cords on your legs. This factor also helps to determine the varicose veins and spider vein treatment cost.


Spider veins mainly appear on the face and legs, while varicose veins appear on the feet and legs. But these conditions may appear on other parts of the body, too. 


Vein doctors state that spider veins usually don’t show symptoms except for itching or discomfort. Varicose veins may exhibit symptoms like throbbing, aching, legs feeling heavy, muscle cramps, swelling, etc.

Are you trying to figure out whether you are dealing with spider or varicose veins? Look at this table to know:

FactorsVaricose VeinsSpider Veins
AppearanceIt appears as green, blue, red, or purple rope-like lumps or nodules. It appears as tree branches or spider webs and may be blue, red, or purple in color.
SizeIt could be less than 3 millimeters wide.It is usually more than 1 millimeter wide.
SymptomsItching, swelling, pain, and venous leg ulcers.It is primarily asymptomatic but may cause discomfort and itching.
LocationIt occurs in the veins of your feet, legs, ankles, etc.These small blood vessel veins occur anywhere, especially on the face and legs.

Can Spider Veins Become Varicose Veins? 

It is common to think about spider veins vs varicose veins before opting for skin treatment. Spider veins are small and discolored veins that branch across the legs or face. Most people undergo treatment for cosmetic reasons. Spider veins can often be mistaken for varicose veins. Opting for exercises for varicose veins is important to treat the disorder.

Usually, the varicose veins are larger than spider veins and run deeper into the skin. This is the primary reason most people undergo varicose veins treatments. The varicose veins can cause cramps and aches that demand immediate attention. If there are spider veins in your skin, there is no need to feel alarmed.

One of the most common types of treatment for varicose veins is sclerotherapy. But before deciding to undergo any type of therapy, you should know about the varicose veins treatment costs. Most dermatologists opine that varicose veins and spider veins are closely related to each other. For instance, spider veins indicate the damage of varicose veins on your body.

Besides visual cues for vein conditions, you must be aware of other warning signs. Listed are the common symptoms that can indicate you have varicose or spider veins.

  • Cramps in the muscles of your legs.
  • Fatigue in the legs .
  • Swollen ankles 
  • Itching and burning sensations in the legs.

Whether you have spider veins or varicose veins, you can always consult with the top vein doctors. They will offer highly customized spider vein treatment based on your specific conditions.

Wrapping Up

Finally, if you are dealing with varicose veins or spider veins, get in touch with Advanced Medical Group right away. You can trust the unmatched expertise of their vein doctors to find the most effective spider veins and varicose vein treatments across their vein center. With their patient-centric approach, you can avail of their exceptional remedies at a competitive varicose and spider vein treatment cost.

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Fatima Shaik MD


Fatima Shaik is a board certified internist and cardiologist. She specializes in general cardiology and heart rhythm disorders. She cares for patients at Advanced Medical Group in Jersey City and North Bergen. She also performs procedures at Jersey City Medical Center.

She completed her undergraduate education at NYU and received her MD degree for SUNY Downstate Medical Center. She completed her residency training at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center and her cardiology fellowship at New York Presbyterian Queens. She went on for advanced training in electrophysiology at Cooper Hospital in Camden, NJ.
She is trained in device implantation, SVT and atrial fibrillation ablations as well as watchman implantations.
She is fluent in English and Hindi.
She is currently accepting new patients.

Reema Parikh, DPT

Physical Therapist

Reema Parikh received two bachelor’s degrees from Long Island University and Touro College, and graduated as a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Touro College in 2013. In her early years as a DPT, she received an award for excellence in research and taught a course for the national physical therapy licensing board exam. Dr. Parikh has a passion for helping patients on their health journey; she is experienced in all ages and care of patients, ranging from pediatric care to geriatric care. She has hosted live and virtual workouts for varying levels of physical activity, incorporating mobility and strength segments. Dr. Parikh has furthered her education by receiving certifications in many aspects of physical therapy and holistic care including Nutritional PT, Restorative Yoga, Pilates, and Reiki.

Ms. Maria Avila

Maria Avila, NP

Nurse Practitioner

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Jersey City

Union City

West New York

North Bergen

Jersey City

North Bergen

Aishwarya Parab, PT

Physical Therapist

Aishwarya Parab received her Bachelors in Physiotherapy in India in 2015 and furthered her studies at Long Island University where she graduated with her Masters in Exercise Science, Sports, and Nutrition in 2019. She has experience working with various conditions, including herniated disks, spondylolysis, and post-operative mobility issues. Aishwarya has taken courses to expand her knowledge in the physical therapy world, including spinal mobility courses, neuromuscular reeducation courses, and getting a certificate with Revolution in Motion. Aishwarya finds it exceedingly rewarding to build a long-term relationship with her patients and shows commitment towards providing structured and effective healthcare.

Dr. Prajakta Avhad

Prajakta Avhad, MD

Pain Management located in Franklin Township, Somerset, NJ & East Brunswick, NJ

About Dr. Avhad
Dr. Prajakta Avhad is double board-certified in Pain Management and Anesthesiology. Dr. Avhad received her M.B.B.S. from MIMER, India, and completed her Surgical internship and Anesthesia residency at Brookdale University Hospital in Brooklyn, New York during which she interned at Memorial Sloan Kettering, St. Luke’s Roosevelt, and Staten Island Hospital.

She then completed her Pain Management Fellowship from Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Dr. Avhad is a diplomate of the American Board of Anesthesiology and a member of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

Dr. Avhad has been in practice in Central and South Jersey for more than 12years. She is a caring physician with expertise and experience in treating a spectrum of Pain conditions like chronic back and neck pain, herniated discs/sciatica with minimally invasive interventional procedures.

Dr. Avhad and her family reside in New Jersey. She is an avid gardener active with her kids, dog, and garden if not tending to her broad and exotic orchid collection.

Radhika Patel PA-C

Radhika Patel, PA-C

Physician Assistant located in Jersey City, NJ

About Patel
Graduating summa cum laude from Rutgers University with a BA in Biological Sciences and minor in Spanish, Radhika Patel obtained experiences in outpatient medicine as well as in emergency medical services prior to pursuing a career as a physician assistant. She graduated from the Rutgers University Physician Assistant program with a Master of Science after training in cardiology, internal medicine, and urgent care, among many other fields at various hospitals and private practices throughout the state of New Jersey. She is a proud member of the team at Advanced Garden State Cardiology and looks forward to meeting with patients each day in our Jersey City office.

Enrique D Chappilliquen Lucio, PA-C

Enrique Chappilliquen, PA-C

Physician Assistant located in Union City, NJ & Jersey City, NJ

About Dr. Chappilliquen
Graduated from Mercy College Physician Assistant Program with a Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies, Enrique has extensive experience in the medical field for more than 6 years.

He has clinical experience and training in internal medicine, cardiology, general and vascular surgery, hematology, oncology, and emergency medicine. He joined Dr. Richard’s practice in October of 2016. Since then, he has been a dedicated medical provider working in the Union City office and the Hematology/Oncology office in Jersey City as well.

As a Hispanic, he proudly serves his community with passion and devotion. Being able to communicate fluently with his patients allows him the opportunity to provide excellent medical care to the Hispanic community in Union City and Jersey City. Also, sharing the same language, culture, and values as his patients allows him to connect at a personal level with his patients. Enrique continues to develop his knowledge and skills constantly to continue satisfying the needs of his patients.

Dr Christopher Samaniego, DPM

Christopher Samaniego, DPM

Podiatrist located in Jersey City, NJ, Union City, NJ, and West New York, NJ

Christopher Samaniego, DPM, is originally from Freehold, New Jersey. He attended college at Messiah College, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Biology. He earned his podiatric medical degree from Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine in Philadelphia, PA and completed his surgical residency training at Detroit Medical Center in Detroit, MI. 

Dr. Samaniego provides comprehensive foot and ankle care at Advanced Medical Group in Jersey City, Union City, and West New York. His specialized surgical training includes

  • Bunion
  • Hammertoe correction
  • Diabetic foot care
  • Fungal nail care
  • Plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, orthotics
  • Gout, warts, neuroma care
  • Flat feet and high arched feet
  • Foot and ankle trauma
  • Adult and paediatric foot conditions
  • Arthritis of the foot and ankle
  • Arthroscopy, joint replacement, minimally invasive techniques

Samaniego is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and the American Podiatric Medical Association. He keeps up to date on the latest surgical techniques and available technology in foot and ankle care.

Prior to joining Advanced Medical Group, Samaniego studied public healthcare in Zambia and assisted in providing care to the local community. He has also presented research at the annual meeting of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Samaniego achieved the highest rank of Eagle Scout through the Boy Scouts of America and volunteered with Troop 454 for scouts with special needs and the Freehold Public Library. In his free time, Samaniego volunteers with his local church community service and youth programs.

Samaniego resides in Jersey City, NJ and maintains his health by cycling and interval training several times a week. He explains, “Healthy doctors inspire healthy patients. I follow the same advice I give my patients, and I read constantly to become a better physician every day. I encourage my patients to ask questions and learn about the cause of their symptoms. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Dr. Merwin Richard, MD. A cardiologist

Merwin Richard, MD

Cardiologist located in Jersey City, NJ & Union City, NJ

As an established board-certified internist and cardiologist, Merwin Richard, MD, has a reputation for helping patients with the most complex of health conditions. He cares for patients at Advanced Medical Group in West New York, Jersey City, and Union City, New Jersey.

Richard began his undergraduate education in medicine at Stanley Medical College in India. He earned his doctor of medicine degree from Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University before relocating to New York City.

After completing both his internship and internal medicine residency through the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Richard went through advanced fellowship training. He completed a cardiovascular fellowship at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, then went on to finish a second fellowship in interventional cardiology through Mount Sinai School of Medicine (now Icahn).


Throughout his career, Richard has stayed involved in numerous research projects and previously served as a professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now Rutgers University). Richard went on to become the director of the first cardiac catheterization and interventional laboratory in Jersey City and has extensive training in vein treatments.

To ensure he continues staying up to date with the latest research and techniques, Richard maintains his board memberships. He’s board certified through the American Board of Internal Medicine in cardiovascular disease and interventional cardiology.

Being fluent in English,  Spanish, and Tamil gives Richard the opportunity to communicate with patients from diverse cultural backgrounds. Richard is currently accepting new patients.