What are thread veins?
Thread veins on front of thigh, with underlying green reticular feeding veins
Thread veins of the legs are very common, with approximately 40% of adult females finding them on their legs.
Thread veins are normally dilated veins which are visible on the skin surface as red, purple or blue clusters of vein or individual veins. Typically they are less than 1 mm across and can range from being very short to being very long and stringy. Of course as they are real veins, they are all connected to other veins deep under the surface. Therefore the length of vein that is visible on the surface is only a part of the vein that is very superficial. There is always a hidden part that might be much longer than what you can actually see.
The thread veins of the legs are very small surface veins which have become more dilated and therefore larger than normal. When looked at under a microscope, it can be seen that they have a normal vein wall with lining cells (called ‘endothelium’) and a few muscle cells in the wall. It is very important to know that they are not “broken veins”.
“Broken veins” would leak blood and would cause a bruise – and would NOT cause thread veins.
Next page: What causes thread veins?This website was last updated on 03/10/17.