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Thread Veins Causes

The Whiteley Clinic’s dedicated research is casting light on the causes of a widely misunderstood condition.


In a nutshell, the precise causes of the venous dilation that causes thread veins on the legs are not fully known. Visiting our competitors’ websites and reading their brochures reveals a wealth of conflicting theories and misinformation concerning this condition. However, the data and insights collated by The Whiteley Clinic over the course of our years of empirical clinical experience affords us the clearest overview of the facts around thread veins.

In many ways, it is easier to cite those factors which can be proven not to cause thread veins. We have read papers claiming that different skin types are more prone to thread veins on the legs. However, this is easily debunked by virtue of the fact that we have treated numerous cases of thread veins in all different skin types, from the palest skins which never tan to the very darkest skins.

Other sources claim that thread veins are ‘broken capillaries’, with the damage caused by crossing the legs, wearing tight clothes or boots and even taking baths that are too hot! None of this makes sense. If a patient really did have ‘broken capillaries’, they would present not with thread veins but with widespread bruising. Crossing the legs has no effect at all on the venous system as the veins are deep-seated and protected by muscles and tendons. Tight fashion and footwear is easily discounted by the variety of locations of thread veins all across the legs – it’s not a condition that predominantly occurs in the ankles or waistband. And as for taking hot baths, if that were true, the condition would be far, far more widespread across the cleaner sections of the UK population.

Turning to the facts about the condition, which we can assert to be true, there does seem to be a familial link with thread veins occurring not just amongst parents and children but also amongst siblings (a similar statistical genetic link has also been observed amongst Varicose Vein sufferers).

One cause of profuse thread veins that has consistently been observed is trauma, particularly in the case of patients who have been in severe accidents where skin has been crushed, where fat has been destroyed and where surgical scarring is extensive. Whilst, thankfully, this kind of extreme trauma only accounts for only a very small proportion of the overall number of thread veins cases seen at The Whiteley Clinic, the link is undeniable.

Research into venous conditions by The Whiteley Clinic and others has also shown that the majority of thread veins on the legs (in up to 90% of cases) are associated with underlying ‘feeding veins’ or hidden varicose veins. Whilst we cannot be certain that they are actually causing the thread veins, it is becoming clearer that if we don’t first identify and treat the ‘feeding veins’ and hidden varicose veins, then the results of the thread veins treatment itself seem to be far less successful.

It is worth mentioning a particularly unsightly condition called ‘talengetic matting’ where the thread veins go wild after treatment causing profuse dense red patches of thread veins that are susequently almost impossible to treat. Following The Whiteley Protocol®, our policy of scanning every patient for underlying ‘feeding veins’ and hidden varicose veins has resulted in us NEVER having a case of talengetic matting. However, we regularly see talengetic matting in patients coming to us from other clinics, and in every case we have always found an underlying ‘feeding vein’ or hidden varicose vein that was neither identified nor treated prior to dealing with the thread veins.