Q. Is it normal to have bulging veins in arms and legs with pain?

Answered by Dr. Ohams Henry and medically reviewed by Dr. Divya Banu M


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Hi doctor,

I am 19 years old and I am currently experiencing an issue with the veins in my arms and legs, primarily on the left side of my body. It started about a month ago when I noticed a vein on the top of my left foot that started bulging up out of nowhere. It was concerning but not painful until a few days later, it gave me extreme shooting, throbbing pain. This lasted for a about a week then started to fade to what it is today, a numb pain that gets sharp if I support my weight too much on that foot. This has limited my movement quite a bit, which makes it hard to complete my daily tasks, and I cannot wear closed toe shoes anymore without pain.

The problem got even more concerning when other veins in my body started to bulge ang give pain, first in my legs, and now in my hands and arms. My left hand is my primary one and now I cannot lift things or write or hold it downwards without having a pain in my arm, where a big vein pops up just below the wrist. This has all happened in the course of a month. Does this condition sound familiar and if so, what should I do to get treatment for it?

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Dr. Ohams Henry
Family Physician, General Practitioner


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Your problem looks like varicose vein. Veins will bulge when you are standing or moving around when unlike down it regressed and blood flows back into the deeper veins and empty back into the heart. Varicosity is due to incompetence or weakness in the valves within veins which prevents the blood from flowing back as the blood has to be returned to the heart for recirculation.

Due to weaknesss in the calf muscle which contracts and compress the deeper veins causing blood to be squeezed out of then for upward emptying into the vena cava and into the heart. Blockage of the pathways of flow or deep veins due to venous thrombosis, usually common in women, tends to increase with age, and with use of contraceptive pills and with pregnancy because of increased intraabdominal pressure which in turn comprises the vena cava and affect return of blood back to the heart.

Complications can be venous thrombosis due to increased stasis of blood. If there is so much build up of pressure for long time can cause venous ulcers.

Management is elevation of the leg when lying down. Use compression stockings to support and collapse the veins, avoid use of high heels. Change your standing or sitting position from time to time. You can do Doppler ultrasound scan.

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