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Why do my varicose veins feel so hard?

I've had varicose veins for a couple of years now, but recently it feels like they've begun to harden. They don't hurt to touch, but they are much more solid than the rest of my skin. Is this a precursor to another condition? What would be the cause of this?

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Doctors Answers (6)

It is difficult to know without seeing them. They are probably hardening from lack of blood flow to the veins. Eventually your skin can break down and turn into a skin ulcer. You should be evaluated by a vein specialist.

Your veins are under increasing pressure and may feel hard to the touch without any other implications. However, some people do not develop the usual associated redness and pain when their veins harden due to "phlebitis" (blood clot), so a trip to the doctor to make sure would be prudent.

They may have closed without treatment. These tend to become painful and inflamed. Lucky for you that you aren't having symptoms. I would suggest a complete evaluation and mapping of your venous system by a board certified phlebologist. You need to have a long term management plan in place.

You should see your doctor this could be a sign of a phlebitis an inflammation of the vein or hardening and scarring of the skin around the veins.

You may be experiencing increasing pressure from an underlying problem (venous insufficiency). Even without pain to touch there is probably an underlying inflammation from the blood pooling in these veins. Additionally these problems which occur over a long period of time. If it happened overnight you would probably go to the ER thinking something was seriously wrong. You are used to how your legs feel and think it is "normal" for you. I would advise a consultation with a surgeon who is vascular trained and specializes in treating varicose veins. He/she will perform an ultrasound examination to determine the origin of your varicose veins. I also advise you be fitted for medical grade compression hose. When blood doesn't flow properly it is more prone to clotting and also can cause other issues such as skin changes and ulceration.

Varicose veins are typically soft and easily compressible with light finger pressure. A non-compressible and firm varicose vein is probably due to a partial or complete clot (phlebitis) in the vein. Although this is frequently tender, it may not be painful to touch. Superficial clots are not the same as a DVT (Deep Venous Thrombosis) but can lead to problems with venous flow and if they are large and extend into the deep venous system can contribute to formation of a DVT. The best way to confirm the reason for the vein feeling firm/hard is to to have an ultrasound evaluation of the vein which will determine if there are any clots (phlebitis) and measure blood flow in the vein. Phlebitis can be a chronic recurrent condition and treating the underlying venous insufficiency is the best course.

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