Similar pathology that leads to varicose veins can cause dilated veins which are much smaller than varicose veins. The resulting condition is often referred to as "spider veins" since the affected veins often resemble the pattern of a spider's web. These usually appear in clusters with very recognizable patterns and can occur anywhere on the legs. They can appear in various sizes and colors and often cause the patient discomfort and heaviness as well as itching and burning. Spider veins are susceptible to bleeding after sustaining minor trauma. This is especially common when they occur about the ankle.
Sometimes, spider veins can be a sign of a more serious condition. Proper knowledge and experience by the treating physician may prompt further investigation as to the cause of this seemingly benign cosmetic problem.