Varicose veins: photos, stages and classification

According to statistics, about 83% of the population is affected by diseases such as varicose veins in the lower limbs. Therefore, it is important to know what varicose veins look like in the initial stage. This will allow the timely identification of the disease and prevent the development of possible complications.

Types of varicose veins

The disease of the veins, which is accompanied by their expansion, tortuosity and destruction of the valvular apparatus, can affect various organs of the body. Therefore, the classification of this pathology is based on the place of its localization.

According to the International Classification of Diseases of the 10th Revision, the following types of diseases are distinguished:

  • Varicose veins of the circulatory system.
  • Expansion of the veins of the digestive tract.
  • The accumulation of numerous pathological clots in one place.
  • Varicose veins of lymph nodes and vessels, which are not systematized in other sections.
  • Varicose veins of the lower limbs.

The use of the ICD 10 in medical practice allows the phlebologist to make the correct diagnosis and differentiation of varicose veins.

In turn, varicose veins of the lower limbs, depending on the stage of the course, are classified into a disease with:

  • Ulcerative lesions.
  • Progressive inflammatory processes.
  • Ulcers and inflammations.
  • Phlebectasia of the legs, of unknown etiology or unspecified localization.
  • Varicose veins in the legs or other parts with skin damage.
  • Absence of deformation of the veins from ulcers, suppurations or inflammatory processes.

Taking into account the main places of localization of pathological changes, varicose veins are distinguished:

  • Superficial veins.
  • Deep veins.
  • Reticular.

A broad classification of varicose veins is due to polyethology and a wide variety of variants of the course of the disease. When differentiating pathology, modern phlebologists use not only the ICD-10, but also the classification of the disease by form.

In medical practice, the following forms of varicose veins are distinguished:

  • Partial lesion of blood vessels of the subcutaneous and intradermal type without reflux.
  • Segmental lesion with reverse blood flow in all veins.
  • Extensive lesion with pathological secretion along the saphenous veins and perforators.
  • Diffuse venous involvement with abnormal deep vein secretion.

The deformation of the veins and the dysfunction of the blood flow in them can be of different types. Only a phlebologist is able to correctly diagnose and establish the type of varicose expansion based on the results of a comprehensive examination.

Degrees of varicose veins

Depending on the progression of the disease, varicose veins have 4 stages of development. Each of them is characterized by certain symptoms.

  • In the first stage, the legs feel heavy and sore. Spider veins, nodular veins and swelling appear. Perhaps involuntary spasm of the calf muscles and a burning sensation in the foot area. It is characterized by the absence of stagnation in the bloodstream.
  • The second degree of varicose veins is accompanied by oxygen starvation of the venous system. It is characterized by a rapid increase in the size and number of vascular nodes and spiders. Such lesions have clearly defined boundaries, which contributes to their most vivid manifestation. You can group them in a small area of ​​injury beyond the area. This increases pain and soft tissue swelling.
  • With the third degree of varicose veins, trophic lesions of the medial surface of the leg are formed. It is characterized by the appearance of brown areas on the skin which, as the disease progresses, become covered with a dry crust and cracks. Against their background, the development of dermatitis is possible. The presence of a large edema becomes dangerous. There is great tiredness and pain.
  • The fourth degree is a complication of the disease. They can manifest themselves in the form of the development of inflammatory processes, trophic ulcers on the walls of the veins. Bleeding with mechanical damage to the seals is possible. This degree is dangerous with the possibility of developing venous insufficiency, which can subsequently acquire a chronic form.

In the third and fourth phase the patient begins to experience strong painful sensations of a different nature, both in the muscles and along the venous trunks. Very rarely, rupture of knots may occur, accompanied by a slight loss of blood. Most often, this symptom appears at night. If, with varicose veins, hyperthermia and increased weakness appear, this directly indicates the appearance of complications of the disease.

Varicose veins in themselves are not a dangerous disease that does not respond to therapy. But it is worth noting that this pathology does not go away by itself and progresses rapidly. Identifying first-degree varicose veins greatly increases the time to a quick and successful recovery. Launched fourth-degree varicose veins pose a danger to the body and human life.

Phases of varicose veins of the lower limbs

Varicose veins are characterized by different stages of pathology. Each of which determines the prevalence of the disease and has certain characteristics. There are many classifications of the stages of varicose veins, each of which has its own symptoms and therapy.

Especially in professional practice, modern phlebologists use the classification of varicose veins according to the degree of variation in blood flow in the vessels of the body. The founder of such a division of varicose veins into stages is Saveliev.

According to his conclusions, the following stages of the disease are distinguished:

  • Compensatory. It is characterized by the presence of aesthetic problems. There is no symptomatology of thrombosis, but when the patient is examined, signs of the initial stage of varicose veins on the legs are found. Depending on the etiology of the pathology, the compensatory stage of varicose veins without appropriate treatment throughout the year can develop into second degree varicose veins.
  • Undercompensation. The blood vessels are subject to deformation and are clearly visible on the surface of the legs. Varicose veins of the subcompensatory stage are accompanied by pain and swelling of the lower limbs. There is a feeling of heaviness, a feeling of fullness, and the sensitivity of the skin increases significantly. Swelling on the legs increases in the evening and disappears in the morning.
  • Reward. Visual signs of pathologists increase significantly. The venous networks and nodes become larger not only in the area, but also in volumes. There is an intense sensation of itching. The surface of the skin becomes dark, dry and shiny. In this phase, a slight hemorrhage occurs, which causes the deposition of hemosiderin, leading to hyperpigmentation of the skin in the affected areas.

The initial stage of varicose veins for each organism proceeds differently. The intensity of the manifestation of its symptoms and the duration of this period are individual and depend on many factors. Therefore, if the slightest signs of pathology appear, it is necessary to immediately seek qualified medical help. Timely treatment will prevent the development of more severe stages of varicose veins.

The initial stage of varicose veins on the legs: treatment of the pathology

With varicose veins, the effectiveness of the therapeutic course directly depends on the timely manifestation of the pathology. Qualified medical assistance at the initial stage of the development of the disease allows you to completely restore the integrity of the vascular wall and the functionality of damaged veins.

Treatment of varicose veins of the initial stage is carried out in a complex and consists of:

  • Complex application of venotonics. For a complex effect on the veins, oral administration of tablets is performed. Detralex and Vasoket are popular with each other. In addition, the use of local preparations in the form of ointments and gels has a high therapeutic effect. In the initial stage of the disease, heparin ointment quickly and effectively relieves the symptoms.
  • Sclerotherapy. Phlebology, taking into account the clinical picture of the disease, performs: microsclerotherapy, ecosclerotherapy or foam sclerotherapy. The minimally invasive technique consists in the introduction of special, sclerosing drugs into the vein with fine needles. After the procedure, it is mandatory to wear special compression stockings. The effectiveness of sclerotherapy explains its application in the compensation phase of the varicose veins of the lower limbs.
  • Ozone therapy. Refers to physiotherapeutic treatment, which is one of the components of the complex therapy of varicose veins of the legs at the initial stage. Such procedures increase the oxygen supply to the cells and stimulate blood circulation through the veins. As a result, the walls of the affected blood vessels come together.

Each of the methods of treating varicose veins requires mandatory prescription and supervision. Self-medication of varicose veins is strictly prohibited.

Varicose veins of the lower extremities of the initial degree are difficult to diagnose. Visual information on the Internet promotes visual familiarization with the characteristic signs of the pathology.

Usually varicose veins resemble varicose veins, which causes aesthetic discomfort, causes pain in the legs, night cramps, trophic changes in the area of ​​the lower leg. The dilations of the veins are different: from small spider veins and nodules to large convolutional trunks, to protruding plexuses that are clearly visible in an upright position.

In 75-80% of cases, the trunk or branches of the great saphenous vein are affected. The small vein is easier: its lesions are observed only in 5-10% of cases. On palpation, the vein appears elastic, can be easily squeezed, and the temperature above the affected vessel is slightly higher than in all other areas of the epidermis. This is due to the release of arterial blood and blood from the deep veins through the communicating vessels in the varicose nodes located on the surface. In a horizontal position, the tension of the veins decreases and the size of the affected nodes decreases. In some cases, it is possible to feel small defects at the junction of the perforating and superficial veins. The longer the disease develops, the more unpleasant symptoms are felt. There is rapid fatigue, a feeling of heaviness in the lower limbs, paresthesia, swelling in the legs and feet. The latter usually appear in the late afternoon and disappear in the morning after rest.

What do varicose veins on the legs look like: photos and signs

When a woman begins to notice even small vascular networks on the skin surface of the lower limbs, she wonders what the varicose veins on the legs look like. The disease is insidious, as it is able to not manifest itself for a long period of time.

Description of the disease

Varicose veins of the lower limbs are the congestion of the circulatory system that causes varicose veins. In 80% of cases, the disease occurs precisely on the legs, since they have the greatest load due to walking, constant physical activity.

what are varicose veins

Each vein in the leg has a specific valve responsible for proper blood flow. This helps to avoid blood stagnation and circulatory system malfunction. The disease occurs when blood flow is disturbed, blood begins to flow not only upwards but also downwards. This is due to the malfunction of the venous valves. The vessels lose their former elasticity and deform. This is the initial stage of varicose veins.

Varicose veins can appear on any part of the legs: on the thighs, below the knee, on the lower leg, on the feet. Varicose veins on the legs appear in the form of blue stars, small red or blue patterns.

Vascular surgeons warn that the areas at risk for varicose veins are the thighs and lower legs. A woman should be attentive to the condition of the legs and timely notice the changes that occur.

On the thighs, the disease manifests itself in broad lines that resemble rivers. In the photo of varicose veins on the legs, vascular networks, asterisks are noted. On the lower leg, the structure of the pathology is similar to the position on the thighs, but only in the initial stage. When the disease is neglected, large bruises appear on the lower leg, a rash that resembles blue and red bags.

The hardest thing to notice is below the knee. Small blue veins appear, a red mesh may appear. Varicose veins on the feet are the most dangerous of all positions, the site is most susceptible to the negative influences of external factors, physical stress.

At the first signs presented in the photo of varicose veins on the legs (small red nets, cobwebs, blue dots), it is necessary to buy elastic stockings, consult a vascular surgeon.

Degrees of damage

Classify the disease according to the degree of damage to the vessels and veins of the legs. Modern doctors use the international classification to make a diagnosis. Identify 7 main degrees of varicose veins in the legs:

the degree of varicose veins
  1. Zero, difficult to diagnose. It is impossible to independently determine, notice the signs of the disease. Many women attribute them to normal leg fatigue. There is heaviness in the legs, "buzzing", swelling, cramps rare (especially at night). If tested, it can give a false negative result;
  2. Grade 1 appears in the photo as small nets and stars on the legs. The patient also feels all the accompanying signs from the zero degree. They appear in the late afternoon or insignificantly during the day;
  3. 2 degrees - more pronounced in terms of symptoms, a person can independently recognize the disease. Bluish and red lines appear on the surface of the legs, the stars and the web take on a protruding appearance. The patient begins to notice that the veins have become much larger. Signs of pathology become more pronounced after active load on the limbs; The greater the degree of injury to the legs, the greater the likelihood of getting complications on the cardiovascular system. Varicose veins are a disease of the entire circulatory system, therefore it is accompanied by pathologies in heart activity, disturbances in the process of hematopoiesis.

Types of disease

Some vessels can be damaged by varicose veins. Depending on which of them worked poorly, doctors distinguish several types of pathology:

To understand what the disease looks like, it is necessary to consider separately each type of varicose veins on the legs:

  • The reticular name derives from the reticular veins, which do not exceed 2 mm in diameter. This type will be presented in the photo in the form of small webs, thin lines, stars on the legs. They are clearly visible, as they are located near the surface of the dermis. Women most often notice such manifestations on the lateral surface of the thigh. Reticular varicose veins are not dangerous. This type of disease does not bring discomfort to the patient (except for aesthetics), does not cause serious complications.
  • Trunk view: The trunk of the small or large saphenous vein is affected, leading to expansion of the duct veins. The name also derives from a malfunction of a particular vein: the trunk. If a large vessel is damaged, the image of varicose veins on the legs will look like this: large bumps, like rivers, curved lines. If a small vein does not work properly, similar symptoms appear, but with a less pronounced form. This is a dangerous form of pathology, which threatens serious complications in case of untimely treatment;
  • Segmental. Ductal veins with a diameter of 3 mm or more are affected. These are large vessels, so the disease can be independently identified. Symptoms are shown in the photo of varicose veins in the initial stage of the segmental type. It represents small swellings, small bumps on the surface of the dermis. They have no blue or red tints. If you don't see a doctor in time, the bumps can expand and turn into large bruises. With early diagnosis, the disease can be eliminated with the help of sclerotherapy;
  • The most dangerous and most dangerous varicose veins, comes from the name of the perforating veins. They play a huge role in the circulatory system. These veins connect the deep vessels to the surfaces. Often, such an injury leads to surgical interventions. In the photo, the disease looks like large or medium-sized bumps, irregularities on the surface of the skin. They can be single or merge into a single structure, becoming even more voluminous in size.

It is important to seek medical help in time to avoid unpleasant consequences, not to lead the ailment to the need for surgery. The main thing is also the prevention of varicose veins. It consists in wearing comfortable and correct shoes made with natural fabrics with orthopedic soles. Do not put excessive stress on the lower limbs. Men, like women, should be more attentive to the condition of the legs, examine them more often for damage and symptoms of varicose veins.

What do varicose veins on the legs look like: photos and signs

When a woman begins to notice even small vascular networks on the skin surface of the lower limbs, she wonders what the varicose veins on the legs look like. The disease is insidious, as it is able to not manifest itself for a long period of time.

What do varicose veins on the legs look like?

Varicose veins are a very insidious disease, as the first signs of its development usually go unnoticed for a person. As a rule, the patient experiences fatigue and heaviness in the legs as a result of tiring working days.

In many cases it is, but it is not a reason not to monitor the state of the vessels on the lower limbs. Therefore, we will talk further about what this disease is, and also consider the types and degrees of manifestation of varicose veins in the photo.

Varicose veins - features of the pathology

Varicose veins on the legs are not only an aesthetic problem that causes people to worry about their appearance, but also a very dangerous pathology that requires adequate and timely therapy and compliance with preventive measures.

Help. Females suffer from varicose veins many times more often than men.

Varicose veins of the lower limbs- a disorder characterized by the presence of varicose veins. In addition, there is a violation of the outflow of blood, which leads to stagnation in the circulatory system.

To understand what varicose veins are (see photo), you should consider the process of its emergence.

what varicose veins look like

The veins located on the legs havespecial valves. They performthe passage of blood exclusively in one direction (upwards) and do not allow it to stagnate.

Failure in the functioning of these valves leads to the fact thatblood is able to move in the opposite direction (downwards), which prevents its outflow.

As a result, the vessels lose their normal elasticity and under the pressure of the blood they begin to expand and deform. All this provokes the development of the initial stage of the disease.

Help.The symptoms of the disease can appear in various parts of the lower limbs, especially on the thighs, under the knees, on the calves; varicose veins of the foot are also quite common (photo below).

There are many factors that provoke the development of this pathology:which begins with a sedentary lifestyle, physical overload, bad habits and ends with a hereditary predisposition, hormonal disorders, congenital weakness of the wallsvascular.

Many people, not realizing the seriousness of the problem, do not rush to see a specialist, but begin to practice self-medication.

However, this is not an option, since the independent use of vascular preparations is not healthy. Also, they cannot solve the problem on their own. In this case a competent integrated approach is required.

Having determined the peculiarities of the development of pathology, we will further consider the appearance of varicose veins on the legs, depending on the type of development.

Degrees of varicose veins of the legs

The community of scientists of the world has systematized the manifestations of varicose veins of the lower limbs.

Help. This classification is called CEAP (Clinical Etiology Anatomy Pathology).

According to the compiled classification, there are 7 degrees (stages) of the disease:

  • zero- a condition in which a person experiences heaviness in the legs, swelling, cramps, but does not appear visually. During special examinations no deviations are detected;
  • varicose veins of grade 1 (see photo below)- varicose veins appear and the same signs of the previous grade are observed;
  • according to- bulging veins or blue nodules are noted, which may increase in size due to excessive physical exertion or prolonged stay in one position;
  • third- all of the above symptoms are complemented by regular swelling, especially noticeable in the evening. In the morning it may disappear, but in the evening it reappears;
  • fourth- due to malnutrition, trophic processes begin in the vascular system. The skin around the veins turns brown or black. Skin inflammation can develop: from a slight redness to large weeping wounds;
  • fifth- all symptoms of 4 degrees plus a pronounced persistent trophic ulcer;
  • sixthis ​​an actively acting, non-healing trophic ulcer.

A disease like this should be treated immediately and the sooner the better. Not only are the last stages of varicose veins dangerous, but also possible serious complications that can lead to death.

Also, the photos of the first stage of varicose veins look quite normal, but the photos of the later ones fall in shock.


The information and pictures of varicose veins should make you think that you should be attentive to your health and lead a correct lifestyle. Preventive measures in this case are an opportunity to avoid this disease.

If, due to the anatomical features of the body, the veins have been damaged, you should immediately start treating them.

Varicose veins need urgent care, the absence of which can have serious consequences: the development of thrombophlebitis, bleeding from the venous nodes and a trophic ulcer that can lead to amputation of the leg.