Can Varicose Veins Cause Blood Clots?

A doctor's hands holding a pen and a vial of blood.

The flow of blood throughout the body is an essential and delicate system responsible for nourishing tissues from head to toe. Any threat to regular blood flow has the potential to disrupt normal activities, cause pain, or create critical health issues. While varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins resulting from malfunctioning vein valves, blood clots are clumps of blood that form to stop bleeding [1]. They’re not always dangerous but can be when they form abnormally. 

Can varicose veins cause blood clots? 

What is a Blood Clot?

A blood clot is formed by fibrin and platelets in your blood to stop excessive bleeding when a blood vessel is injured. You’re probably most familiar with them forming on your skin when you get a cut (the first step to a scab). However, blood clots can also form internally within your veins and arteries without an injury — which can be dangerous. 

The formation of a blood clot is known as thrombosis. The term thrombophlebitis describes phlebitis (inflammation of a vein) related to a thrombus (blood clot) [2]

It’s possible to form a blood clot in varicose veins, though this is one of many possible conditions. While varicose veins are one of the most common occurrences, blood clots can form deep within a muscle in a serious condition known as deep vein thrombosis [3] [4].

Depending on their location and size, blood clots can be potentially life threatening.

The Intricate Connection: Linking Varicose Veins and Blood Clots

Varicose veins and blood clots are both related to your circulatory system, but they’re not always directly linked. When are varicose veins dangerous? They’re not usually on their own, but in some cases, they can lead to thrombophlebitis. 

When valves fail to regulate the flow of blood, it can begin to collect and settle. This pooling can cause blood clots, further impeding the regular process and flow of blood. These blood clots can be painful and have the potential to lead to further health complications.

Overall, not all varicose veins lead to blood clots, and not all blood clots develop in varicose veins. Still, people who have varicose veins may be at a slightly elevated risk of developing blood clots compared to those without them due to factors like impaired blood flow and damage to the vein walls.

Read more on varicose vein FAQs here.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms

While varicose veins and blood clots can occur in anyone, occupations that require extended periods of standing are most susceptible. Nurses, teachers, hospitality workers, first responders, and factory workers are among the most commonly afflicted. Hormonal changes, pregnancy, and certain medical conditions can also increase risk.

Some of the most common symptoms of varicose veins and blood clots include swelling, redness, warmth, or pain in the affected area. If you have varicose veins and experience any of these unusual symptoms, seek medical care immediately.

Treatment Options for Varicose Veins and Blood Clots

While you can’t prevent varicose veins, rest assured there are treatment options available. If you have varicose veins that are unsightly but aren’t causing significant side effects, you may prefer to use home remedies to alleviate symptoms. 

Try implementing lifestyle changes like [5]:

  • Regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding prolonged periods of standing or sitting 
  • Compression stockings
  • Not smoking 
  • Avoid wearing high heels
  • Elevating your legs periodically when at rest

Blood clot treatment depends on the type and severity of the clot and may include medications such as anticoagulants (blood thinners), thrombolytics (clot-busting drugs), or surgical procedures to remove the clot.

If you’d rather get rid of your varicose veins instead, you can pursue more permanent solutions. At Empire Vein Specialists, we offer several modern varicose vein services

  • VenaSeal™ Closure System: The first vein treatment of its kind that involves sealing the affected veins with a medical adhesive.
  • ClosureFast™ Closure System: Using local anesthesia, this delivers radiofrequency (RF) energy directly into the affected vein using a very narrow catheter, which is inserted via a tiny incision. 
  • Sclerotherapy: This procedure, used for spider veins and smaller varicose veins, injects a sclerosing solution called Asclera into affected veins, causing the vein to seal closed. 
  • Phlebectomy Vein Removal: This is an outpatient procedure in which large veins are removed from the legs in small sections, using tiny incisions too small to require suturing.

Our board-certified physicians specialize in varicose and spider vein treatment — it’s what we do! We’re prepared to help you navigate varicose vein treatment options and decide which is the most appropriate for your needs, especially if you’re concerned about blood clots and varicose veins.

Interested in learning more? We invite you to contact our team at 1.800.827.4267 for a free 15-minute consultation. Let’s get your veins healthy! 


  1. Antani MR, Dattilo JB. Varicose Veins. [Updated 2023 Aug 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from:
  2. Czysz A, Higbee SL. Superficial Thrombophlebitis. [Updated 2023 Jan 2]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: 
  3. Li R, Chen Z, Gui L, et al. Varicose Veins and Risk of Venous Thromboembolic Diseases: A Two-Sample-Based Mendelian Randomization Study. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2022;9:849027. Published 2022 Apr 14. doi:10.3389/fcvm.2022.849027 
  4. Waheed SM, Kudaravalli P, Hotwagner DT. Deep Vein Thrombosis. [Updated 2023 Jan 19]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from:
  5. Whiteley MS. Current Best Practice in the Management of Varicose Veins. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2022;15:567-583. Published 2022 Apr 6. doi:10.2147/CCID.S294990