or angioectasias (also known as spider veins) are small dilated blood vessels near the surface of the skin or mucous membranes, measuring between 0.5 and 1 millimeter in diameter. They can develop anywhere on the body but are commonly seen on the face around the nose, cheeks, and chin. They can also develop on the legs, specifically on the upper thigh, below the knee joint, and around the ankles.
When veins become varicose, the leaflets of the valves no longer meet properly, and the valves do not work (valvular incompetence). This allows blood to flow backwards and they enlarge even more. Varicose veins are most common in the superficial veins of the legs, which are subject to high pressure when standing. Besides being a cosmetic problem, varicose veins can be painful, especially when standing. Severe long-standing varicose veins can lead to leg swelling, venous eczema, skin thickening (lipodermatosclerosis) and ulceration. Life-threatening complications are uncommon, but varicose veins may be confused with deep vein thrombosis, which may be life-threatening.
Venous ulcers (stasis ulcers, varicose ulcers, or ulcus cruris) are wounds that are thought to occur due to improper functioning of venous valves, usually of the legs (hence leg ulcers). They are the major occurrence of chronic wounds, occurring in 70% to 90% of leg ulcer cases. Venous ulcers develop mostly along the medial distal leg, and can be very painful.
Chronic venous insufficiency or CVI is a medical condition where the veins cannot pump enough oxygen-poor blood back to the heart. It is sometimes referred to as an "impaired musculovenous pump", this is due to damaged or "incompetent" valves as may occur after deep vein thrombosis (when the disease is called postthrombotic syndrome) or phlebitis.