If you have bulging, enlarged, and twisted veins that appear purplish or bluish, then you may have varicose veins.

What causes varicose veins?

To understand what causes varicose veins, it’s important to know how blood circulation works.

Blood vessels in the body such as the arteries and veins play an important role in blood circulation. The arteries carry blood from the heart to the tissues, while the veins return blood from the rest of the body to the heart for re-circulation.

To return blood from the lower extremities, the veins in the legs must work against gravity. Muscle contractions in the legs act as pumps while the elastic vein walls help return blood to the heart.

There are valves in the veins that open to allow the blood to flow into the heart and then close to keep the blood from flowing backward. When these valves are weakened or damaged, they can cause blood to pool into the vein and eventually, the vein will begin to bulge or twist.


Top 3 Causes of Varicose Veins

Anything that causes wear and tear on the valve or pressure on the veins can lead to varicose veins. These include:

  • Aging

Aging causes wear and tear on the valves of the veins. The risk for varicose veins increases for both men and women, but especially for older women as female hormones tend to relax vein walls.

  • Pregnancy

There are two reasons why varicose veins are common among pregnant women. One is the increase in blood volume that puts added pressure on the veins and second, the changes in hormones which can dilate or open the veins.

  • Lack of physical activity

Whether it’s sitting or standing, being in a certain position for long periods of time causes a problem in blood circulation. The blood doesn’t flow as well compared to when you’re moving. Plus, when you’re sedentary, you’re more prone to gaining weight, which can contribute to the development of varicose veins.


If you think you have varicose veins, it’s important to have them checked. While they’re not life-threatening, they can cause serious problems when left unmanaged.


Premier Surgical Vein Clinic in Knoxville offers free vein screenings. Simply fill out this form to request a free vein assessment.


Premier Surgical Vein Clinic has the Knoxville area’s only team of Board-Certified Vascular Surgeons who can help you bring back those healthy legs again. Call us at (865) 588-8229 to schedule an appointment.