What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged and swollen veins in the legs, ankles or feet. They are a blue or purple colour and can be lumpy, twisted or bulging in appearance.

Around one in three people have varicose veins, with women being four times more likely to develop the condition than men.

Varicose consultant Mr Martin Claridge

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged and swollen veins in the legs, ankles or feet. They are a blue or purple colour and can be lumpy, twisted or bulging in appearance. Around one in three people have varicose veins, with women being four times more likely to develop the condition than men.

What causes varicose veins?

Veins contain tiny one-way valves that open to allow blood to flow back up to your heart. When vein walls lose their elasticity, the valves can weaken, causing blood to flow backwards. Blood then collects in your veins, creating high pressure and making them swell and enlarge. Medical professionals do not yet fully understand why this happens, but they do know that there are certain risk factors.

What are the symptoms of varicose veins?

Our patients report a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • Achy, heavy and restless legs
  • Pain, itching or throbbing over a prominent vein
  • Swollen ankles and feet
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dry skin
  • Colour changes in the lower leg

Read Varicose Veins Pain: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment for more information on the management of varicose vein pain and discomfort.

Can varicose veins cause other health problems?

Aside from being a cosmetic issue, varicose veins can lead to other health complications if left untreated, including:


If your varicose veins are near the surface of the skin, they may bleed if you cut or knock your leg. The bleeding may be difficult to stop due to the high pressure in the vein. In most cases, you can apply a simple first aid to stem the bleeding — lie down and elevate your leg above your heart while applying pressure to the wound. If this doesn’t work, seek immediate medical advice.

Blood clots

When the blood stops flowing in your veins, it can thicken and clot, causing one or more of the conditions described below.

Superficial thrombophlebitis

This is an inflamed vein close to the surface of the skin. The affected vein becomes hot, hard, painful and appears lumpy. There is a small risk of the clot migrating to a deep vein where it can progress to a deep vein thrombosis. Click here for more information about this condition and how we can help.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

A blood clot within a deep vein in the leg that can cause pain and swelling. A DVT may lead to serious complications, such as a pulmonary embolism. This is when a piece of the clot breaks off into the bloodstream and blocks one of the blood vessels in the lungs.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)

When blood collects in the veins, it affects the way that skin exchanges oxygen, nutrients and waste products with your blood. If this occurs over a long period, it is called chronic venous insufficiency. Conditions associated with CVI include:

  • Varicose eczema – Patches of skin become red, itchy and scaly. Varicose eczema usually occurs in the lower leg, ankle or over the affected vein.
  • Lipodermatosclerosis – The skin above the varicose vein becomes fragile, appears pink or brown and feels tight and hard to the touch. Further injury to the area can result in a leg ulcer.

The good news is that with the right treatment, varicose veins and their associated complications can be remedied.

What treatments do you offer?

Your treatment journey will begin with a thorough consultation and clinical examination. Here we determine a treatment plan that will give you the best possible outcome for your specific vein issues.

Ms Tray
Ms Tray
This is a starting review and if things improve I shall add another. I have had three treatments so far two on one leg for a varicose vein and sclerotherapy on both legs. This is not an overnight result treatment and currently my legs look worse than before I started but have been reassured that over many months possibly a year there will be improvements. I am somewhat disappointed as it cost just under £2,000 but if things improve it will be worth the cost but please do not think results are quick and instant as some information states on websites/YouTube as it takes a long time. Please also be mindful that it is not pain free and can be uncomfortable with wearing bandages and support stockings for weeks following treatments. I thank Martin and his team for all the advice and support, I hope to add a further good news review once improvement in my legs show but felt my review will help others if they wish to have treatments.
Kim Mansell
Kim Mansell
Very happy with my varicose vein removal. Adam was lovely and excellent at his job.
Paul Coles
Paul Coles
Premier veins were great, always accommodating and very professional.
Linda Harrison
Linda Harrison
Premier Veins very professional from start to finish . Martin Claridge explained in great detail the procedure, which was very quick and painless. Very pleased how it all went. A great job
Valerie Taylor
Valerie Taylor
The service I received from Premier veins was professional in a very friendly setting.
Sarah Butler
Sarah Butler
Had varicose vein treatment with Dr Adam on both legs. Excellent service from start to finish. A very professional, knowledgeable and personable doctor who keeps you informed though every step of the treatment and puts you at ease. I am delighted with the results and wouldn’t hesitate to return if ever needed. Thank you Dr Adam and your team - would 100% recommend.
Claire Slattery
Claire Slattery
Delighted from start to finish with the treatment from Premier Veins and would thoroughly recommend them for vascular issues Mr Claridge carried out my varicose vein treatment with great expertise and I would most certainly, without hesitation, contact him again should the need arise.
Ben Carpenter
Ben Carpenter
Absolutely fantastic treatment, Mr Nasr is totally honest, relaxed and to the point, I would highly recommend Premier Veins
Richard Holding
Richard Holding
Just finished my final consultation with Mr Donald Adam following procedures on both of my legsAfter a bad experience at an expensive competitor in the local vicinity , where the vein was not treated satisfactorily and the general arrogant, pompous attitude of the long standing, incumbent "Professor" of Vascular Surgery i was sceptical about approaching another practiceI need not have worried as from start to finish , i was impressed not only with the subsequent relatively pain free procedures and end result but also Mr Adam's down to earth, friendly nature throughoutI would have no hesitation in recommending Mr Adam in the effective treatment of varicose veins and only wish i had taken photographs of the large , bulbous veins that i had previously endured in both legs to highlight how effective his work isThanks again and I look forward to having the confidence to wear shorts again on my upcoming holiday :)