What Does it Mean if I Have Green Veins?

Written By Center for Vein Restoration
Leaf stock photo

Even if green is your favorite color, you don’t want to see it in your veins! It could mean your veins are in trouble.

Your veins are instrumental in carrying blood to your heart. However, because you don’t usually see your veins or even think about them, it is normal to feel concerned when visible green veins start to show from under your skin.

The good news is that seeing green or blue veins indicates that your veins are working as they should. Visible veins occasionally become visible after a strenuous workout, and veins may naturally appear more prominent in people with lighter, thinner skin. But if you start to experience pain, swelling, cramping, and itching along with noticeable green veins, you may have venous insufficiency, a condition caused by poor circulation and malfunctioning veins.

Why do veins look green?

Visibly green veins are typically superficial veins that appear on the backs of hands and knees, thighs, or ankles. These veins are close to the skin’s surface and take on a green or bluish-green hue simply because of the way your eyes perceive different colors through the electromagnetic spectrum. This spectrum contains wavelengths of visible light, and each color has a different wavelength.

So even though the blood running through your veins is red, you’ll see green or bluish-green because those tints have shorter wavelengths than red.

What to do if your green veins are painful

Each vein contains tiny valves that open and close to move blood up to the heart. If those valves weaken, blood backflows and pools within the vein, leading to pain, swelling, cramping, and a general feeling of heaviness in the leg. You may also start seeing distended varicose veins.

About 20 percent of adults will experience varicose veins sometime during their lifetime. Risk factors range from genetics and older age to a sedentary lifestyle. Because of the hormones released during pregnancy and menopause, women tend to experience varicose veins more than men. A board-certified vein specialist can diagnose venous insufficiency with an ultrasound exam.

Fortunately, there are plenty of conservative and minimally invasive surgical treatment options to rid you of problematic veins and their symptoms. Conservative methods include the following:

Elevate your legs. Elevating your legs above your heart for about 20 minutes moves blood in the right direction to the heart, relieving pain and swelling.

Wear compression stockings. Compression stockings apply gentle pressure to the veins to promote blood flow. They’re especially beneficial if you need to stand or sit for long hours.

Manage your weight. Obesity is a significant risk factor for varicose veins because of the added pressure from those excess pounds. Exercise and a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables can shed weight and improve vein health.

But while conservative treatments can relieve symptoms of varicose veins and poor circulation, they won’t treat the root cause. Instead, you’ll need to undergo a minimally invasive procedure such as one of the following to eliminate varicose veins:

Sclerotherapy. Recommended primarily as a treatment for spider veins and smaller varicose veins, sclerotherapy involves injecting a safe solution into the vein to collapse it. Blood will then divert to nearby healthy veins.

Thermal ablation. The diseased vein is eliminated using heat from either a laser or radiofrequency waves.

Ambulatory phlebectomy. Larger varicose veins are removed through two tiny incisions.

Full-service vein care in New Mexico

Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) operates two full-service vein care facilities in New Mexico. Both are led by experienced physicians skilled in all treatment options to relieve you of the pain of varicose veins.

Michael Harding, MD, is board-certified in vascular medicine, cardiology, and internal medicine. Chandran Vedamanikam, MD, is a board-certified phlebologist in venous and lymphatic medicine and family practice.

Don't live near a New Mexico CVR vein clinic location? No problem! With over 100 vein clinic locations in 22 states and the District of Columbia, there's sure to be a CVR vein center near you. You may also schedule online at your convenience.

801 Encino Place NE


Albuquerque, NM 87102

2220 Grande Boulevard SE

Suite B

Rio Rancho, NM 87124

Find CVR Near You