Varicose veins can cause complications because they stop your blood flowing properly.
Most people who have varicose veins will not develop complications. If they do, it's usually several years after varicose veins first appear.
Varicose veins near the surface of your skin can sometimes bleed if you cut or bump your leg. The bleeding may be difficult to stop.
You should lie down, raise your leg and apply direct pressure to the wound. Seek immediate medical advice if this does not stop the bleeding.
If blood clots form in veins located just under the surface of your skin (superficial veins), it could lead to conditions such as:
- thrombophlebitis – swelling (inflammation) of the veins in your leg
- deep vein thrombosis – which can cause pain and swelling in the leg, and may lead to serious complications like pulmonary embolism
Page last reviewed: 12 May 2020
Next review due: 12 May 2023