5 Common Myths About Varicose Veins That are Impacting You Today

While varicose veins are common — about 12.5% of the population has them — there are a lot of misconceptions about what causes them, how to treat them, and how dangerous they are. We want you to be fully informed about varicose veins and how they can impact you. Dr. Brittany Cook

Although venous disease can have a profoundly negative impact on your life, East Tennessee Vein Clinic is dedicated to providing you with the noninvasive treatment you need to get your life back. Check out some of the most common myths we hear. 

1. There is nothing I can do about my varicose veins

Varicose veins are genetic. If you grew up hearing people in your family complain about their varicose veins and stating that there is nothing that can be done about them, you may think the condition is just something that you have to live with. 

This just isn’t true. There are many treatment options today that are quick and noninvasive. The procedures are also commonly covered by insurance.

2. Varicose veins are only a problem if they’re visible

This is a dangerous myth. This is because varicose veins are not always visible and can cause pain, swelling, achiness, and even Restless Leg Syndrome. Untreated varicose veins also get worse over time, not better. Signs you may have varicose veins, even if you can’t see them, include:

  • Swelling
  • Legs feeling achy or heavy
  • Discolored skin, rashes or dry, itchy skin on your legs or ankles

If you exhibit any of the above signs, you should schedule a free consultation with us immediately. Even invisible varicose veins can contribute to deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot. Blood clots can come free and cause a pulmonary embolism, which can be life threatening. 

3. Varicose vein surgery hurts

While it’s true that the old school way of treating varicose veins, known as vein stripping, was painful, and took a while to recover from, this isn’t true now. These days, there are a variety of treatments that are quick, painless and noninvasive. 

Types of treatment:

4. Varicose veins are only a problem if I spend all day sitting or standing

This is partially a myth. While habits and work environments can make varicose vein symptoms worse, varicose veins are genetic. If one of your biological parents has varicose veins or even spider veins, you have a 40% chance of developing varicose veins, spider veins or both. If both of your parents have varicose veins, your risk increases to about 80%. 

Only around 15% of patients have no known family history of varicose veins.

Sitting or standing for long periods of time can create pressure on your veins. To prevent complications from sitting or standing for long periods of time:

  • Alternate sitting and standing
  • Elevate your feet and legs above your chest for 10-20 minutes at the end of the day
  • Exercise
  • Schedule treatment for your varicose veins sooner than later

5. Varicose veins are just a cosmetic issue

Varicose veins are about more than how your legs look. People just like you come to us for two main reasons: they don’t like the way their legs look, or they’re tired of their legs hurting. Patients come to us with symptoms that include aching, swelling, pain, heaviness, throbbing, or restless legs, which can not only cause a good deal of discomfort, but can also restrict normal activities.

It’s rare for varicose veins to cause dangerous complications, affecting around 10% of patients. Complications can include:

  • Clotting
  • Spontaneous bleeding
  • Ulcers

Don’t let misconceptions or myths stop you from living life to the fullest. Varicose veins are a chronic and progressive condition, but East Tennessee Vein Clinic can help stop it in its tracks. 

Do you have more questions or concerns about your varicose veins? Schedule a free consultation today and let’s get you on the road to recovery!


I just want to thank everyone on staff at East TN. Vein Clinic for making me feel so welcome when I came there. You all are so very nice and sweet to everyone.

- S. H., Cumberland Gap, TN