Broken Capillaries On Legs

Broken capillaries on legs display a threading pattern of red and blue colors, similar to a spider’s web. We know them as spider veins – the medical term is telangiectasias. For most, they occur with minor trauma posing no health threat.

What are Broken Capillaries on Legs

Spider veins are broken capillaries on legs, resulting from damaged blood vessels. Their task is to allow the exchange of oxygen, and dioxygen between the body’s arteries and tissues. They are superficial, meaning they drain blood from the skin. Located near the skin’s surface, they originate at the back of the ankle and run up the back of the lower leg reaching behind the knee.

They become more noticeable when the walls of the blood vessel are broken by a sudden impact, causing them to widen and narrow. The branching pattern we see is an effect of the blood pooling to create the spider vein. Life is filled with reasons linked to broken capillaries on legs. Talk with your doctor to determine the risk factors associated with your health and lifestyle.

  • Sun damage
  • Weight
  • Hormonal changes
  • Aging
  • Rosacea
  • Skin trauma
  • Genetics
  • Pregnancy

What Causes Broken Capillaries on Legs

Broken capillaries on legs are caused by minor trauma or inherited through genetics. They appear in areas where the skin is thinner, or the capillaries are near the surface. Other than cosmetic aesthetics, they don’t pose a threat to our health. If they bother you, meet with the doctor to discuss methods of prevention and effective medical or alternative treatments.

Reasons for broken capillaries on legs varies from health status, family history, lifestyle choices and occupational tasks. Some of the after-effects are preventable and most are treatable. Bottom-line these tiny veins are a consequence of internal and external conditions.

Genetics play a role in our body’s development. If your parents were vulnerable to broken veins, the probability increases for you. Fair skinned genetics have blood vessels closer to the skin’s surface, increasing the chances of broken capillaries.

Ultraviolet rays can penetrate the upper skin layers, weakening the elastin fibers (collagen). The action draws the blood vessel closer to the surface, increasing the risk of breakage. As we age, our skin gets thinner exposing defenseless capillaries to the breaking point.

Pregnancy increases the blood flow, along with added weight putting an extra burden on capillaries in the leg - leading to spider veins. Standing or sitting for hours in one position or leg injuries contribute to changes in the blood flow and the increased risk of broken capillaries on legs.

Symptoms of Broken Capillaries on Legs

Symptoms of broken capillaries on legs vary from person to person as does the severity. Spider veins are more cosmetic with little if any medical effects. If you experience several incidents, you need to talk with a doctor. There could be underlying health conditions.

Some experience aching or tenderness with cramping in the leg. Individual occupations involving long periods of standing are prone to the condition. Size and color varies for broken capillaries around the ankle and leg.

  • Average size is about three millimeters (mm)

They do increase with age and are more predominate in women than men. Studies show 50 percent of women and 40 percent of men experience vein issues.

How to Treat Broken Capillaries on Legs

Most of the time, treating broken capillaries on legs is cosmetic. Medical and alternative methods using topical medicines can help to shrink broken capillaries. Some dermatologist suggests oral medications to shrink broken capillaries on legs.

It really depends on the person, reason and the cause associated with this condition. If the condition is related to a lifestyle choice, your doctor will recommend prevention or treatment.

Doctors use a topical anesthetic to lessen any sensitivity when administering these treatments.

Laser Treatment - Lasers target the blood vessel, extinguishing the vein with no damage to the surface skin. There’s a little discomfort or irritation to the skin. The laser may leave a bruise like discoloration that fades away within a week.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) - IPL targets the capillary using heat to shrink and fade the vein. The procedure takes about 15 minutes for broken capillaries on legs. The treatment does need to be repeated.

Sclerotherapy – this procedure has been used since the 1930s. It involves a salt solution injected into the vein prompting them to collapse – diminishing their existence.

Storage and Handling

Best health practices are good habits in the home when it comes to home care and medications. Medications are used to restore and sustain our health, left unmonitored even the simplest form can cause harm.

  • Keep all medicines out of reach of children, elderly adults and animals.
  • Store medications in a cool, dry place away from direct heat or light.
  • Discard outdated or unused portions properly.

Frequently asked questions

1. Are there painless methods of treating broken capillaries on legs?

Medical or alternative treatments have low levels of discomfort during and after the treatment. Talk with the doctor to discuss which methods work best for you.

2. Do I need to see a doctor?

If the veins don’t bother you – there’s no need to see the doctor. There may be other health issues that trigger this condition. In that case, you do need to see the doctor.

3. Are the methods of treatment restricted to the legs only?

No, broken capillaries occur throughout the body. The doctor can explain the difference in approach for differing areas.

4. How often do I need treatment?

It depends on the severity of the condition and your own health.

5. I have skin allergies; will the treatment trigger an allergic reaction?

Talk with the doctor to discuss your allergies. They can tell you if there are precautions with the medications or procedures used to treat the condition.

6. What types of tests are needed to determine genetics?

Broken blood vessels involve the body’s blood flow. If you have existing health conditions, the doctor will ask to do an examination and lab tests.

7. How common are broken capillaries on the leg?

Broken capillaries are common and occur in women more often than men.