Visible veins on the legs are referred to as spider veins or reticular veins and are defined medically by size. Spider veins are small blue to red veins of the skin, and are located primarily on the feet, ankles and legs. Sometimes they can be seen on the chest, arms, abdomen and face. Reticular veins are commonly referred to as “feeder” veins and are associated with spider veins usually appearing in the same cluster only located deeper under the skin.
Spider veins are inherited, and may represent a more serious underlying abnormal vein circulation problem. Standing for long periods of time and standing on hard surfaces such as cement will often exacerbate a preexisting condition. Spider veins always become more abundant and more unsightly if not corrected. The progestin hormone in women during pregnancy and menses tends to weaken veins and cause them to show in the skin more frequently than in men. Leg veins are genetic and found on approximately 70% of females and 40% of males.