If you are not comfortable with bulging veins in arms and hands and suspect they are more than a cosmetic issue, consult a vein expert doctor to know about their possible causes and treatment options. Dr. Sergei Sobolevsky led the team of the top specialists in veins at the Downtown Vein & Vascular Center. He uses the most advanced diagnostic equipment and multidisciplinary approach to treat your vascular disease and ensure the prominent veins in your arms and hands are not a sign of some underlying medical condition.
Bulging Veins in Arms and Hands
Most people believe bulging veins to be a cosmetic issue as long as their hands continue to function normally. However, for some people, veins popping out in arms and hands could point out something serious. It is essential to know the possible causes behind bulging veins to get the best treatment.
Bulging veins are also known as ‘vascularity’ in bodybuilding circles and result from many factors.
What Leads to Bulging Veins in Arms and Hands – Vascular Disease Causes?
Bulging or enlarged veins are a sign of vascular disease, and they can be benign or serious. It is necessary to have them checked by an experienced vein doctor to know what is causing them.
Benign causes of bulging veins
Low Body Fat
Low body fat can cause the hand or arm veins to bulge out and look prominent.
You may experience bulging veins in your arms or hands if you lift heavy weights frequently. Weight lifting and bodybuilding can make you lose enough fat under the skin to make the veins highly visible. In the world of bodybuilding, vascularity is considered a sign of success. Along with the clear appearance of muscle fibers, or “shreds,” vascularity is becoming a highly sought-after look.
Hand veins become more visible as you age, or it could be a result of skin pigmentation, body fat distribution, or other factors related to age. Also, as you grow old, the skin gets thinner and loses its elasticity making the veins more visible. The valves in the veins also weaken, which causes the blood to pool in the veins for a long time. It engages the veins and makes them bulge out.
In many cases, visible veins in arms and hands can be due to genetics. If someone in your immediate family suffered from bulging veins, you are most likely to have them too. However, if you notice that your veins seem to be larger or bulge out, even more, discuss your condition with an experienced vein physician to get the best medical advice.
Other benign causes of bulging arms and hands:
- Exercise can also raise the blood pressure that pushes the veins closer to the skin, making them prominent.
- Repeatedly lifting weights in the gyms or for work can increase the blood flow and harden the muscles that leave the veins permanently prominent.
- High temperatures make it difficult for the vein valves to work correctly, and they bulge out.
- Skinny or diet-conscious people can also have bulging veins as they have no excess fat to cover the veins, and veins appear close to the skin surface.
If you are concerned about how your hand veins seem to be protruding out or look enlarged, seek medical assistance to rule out health issues regarding vascularity.
Serious causes of painful bulging veins in arms and hands
Several vascular diseases are characterized by malfunctioning of the blood and lymph vessels and obstructing blood flow.
The obstruction could occur in the blood and lymph vessels in your arm. It could also be in one of the larger vessels that feed the veins in your arm, including vessels that run along the collarbone. There could also be a blockage in the nearby vessels that causes the veins to swell and compress the neighboring vessels.
Vascular diseases result from the following conditions:
They result from a weakening of vein valves when the veins cannot pump blood back to the heart efficiently, and it begins to pool in the veins, leading them to bulge and discolor. Varicose veins are more likely found in legs than hands and become twisty, large, and painful.
It results from hand infection, trauma, or autoimmune disease. It can cause inflammation in the vein, leading to pain and swelling.
It is an inflammation of a superficial vein (phlebitis) caused by a blood clot (thrombus). This condition results from injury to the vein that swells as an effect.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
A bulging arm or hand can result from a blood clot deep in the veins of the arm that prevents the blood from going back to the heart.
Other causes of bulging veins in arms and legs
There may be other causes of sudden bulging veins in arms and hands. They include:
- Injury to the blood vessels
- Medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension
- Physical inactivity
Symptoms of Vascular Disease
Along with bulging veins in arms and hands, you can also experience other symptoms. They include:
- Feelings of heaviness in your limbs
- Changes in the skin of your arms and hands, such as discoloration
- Wounds that do not heal
- Muscle weakness
- Pain and reduced mobility
Depending on the location and severity of the vascular disease, you could experience symptoms in other parts of the body too, such as:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Do not ignore these symptoms, as they can develop into life-threatening issues. Consult a vein specialist to have your condition accurately diagnosed and get started on treatment to avoid further complications.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Vascular Disease
The vein care doctor will diagnose the vascular disease by conducting blood tests and viewing the blood vessels with an imaging machine such as an angiogram or ultrasound to evaluate their condition. Physical tests such as the treadmill exercise test help compare and measure blood pressure in different areas of the body to assess the extent and damage of affected veins.
The doctor will get rid of bulging veins in the arms and legs by removing the clot in the vein or the blocked or damaged part of the vessel. He will suggest the best minimally invasive procedure depending on the location and severity of the blockage in the vessel.
Some popular methods used by vein specialists include:
- Sclerotherapy – it is a minimally invasive procedure in which a chemical solution is injected into the targeted veins, causing them to scar and close.
- Endovenous ablation therapy – also known as laser therapy, is the ideal solution for small veins; the doctor uses amplified light or radio waves to close veins.
- Ambulatory phlebectomy – it removes the affected veins with the help of small incisions under local anesthesia.
- Vein stripping and ligation – during this procedure, the doctor makes an incision, ties off the bulging vein, and removes it.
Once the targeted vein has been closed, it fades away, and the blood automatically shifts to the healthier veins.
Vein doctors also recommend a combination of anti-inflammatory treatment or antibiotic therapy along with warm compresses and elevation of your arm to prevent enlarged veins in your hands and arms. If your bulging and painful veins are a sign of some grave condition, the doctor will establish a specific medical response to address them.
Schedule an appointment with a vein expert doctor if you are experiencing other symptoms or feel a medical problem is causing veins in your hands and arms to bulge out. At the Downtown Vein & Vascular Center, Dr. Sergei Sobolevsky will diagnose the reasons behind your prominent veins along with other underlying issues and recommend the most suitable treatment to provide lasting relief from the unsightly appearance and associated problems. He will come up with the most customized solution to help you enjoy tight and young hands again, even at an advanced age.
Sergei Sobolevsky, MD, is a leading specialist in endovascular medicine with experience in vascular and interventional radiology. Dr. Sobolevsky has decades of experience in the field, with over 25,000 procedures performed, accumulating extensive experience in image-guided minimally invasive medicine, diagnosing and treating a range of conditions.
Dr. Sobolevsky earned his Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree in 1997 from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He received his specialty clinical training in vascular and interventional radiology at Harvard University. Later, he earned his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Recognized as a Castle Connolly Top Doctor and named to the Top Doctors New York Metro Area in 2020, 2021, and 2022, Dr. Sobolevsky is licensed in multiple states, has delivered presentations at numerous institutions in the US and abroad, and now acts as a clinical advisor for the biomedical industry. He also held multiple positions in the field during his career, including Chief of Vascular and Interventional Radiology at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, NY, Senior Vice President in Clinical and Regulatory Affairs at Artann Laboratories in North Brunswick, NJ, and Medical Director at the American Endovascular and Amputation Prevention Center in Brooklyn.More About Dr. Sobolevsky