Varicose vein: A vein that has enlarged and twisted, often appearing as a bulging, blue blood vessel that is clearly visible through the skin. Varicose veins are most common in older adults, particularly women, and occur especially on the legs. Varicose veins can cause cramping pain and movement problems, or they may simply be a cosmetic concern. Treatment includes elevating the affected limb, wearing support hose to increase pressure on the vein, and in some cases surgery.
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Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016