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    Visible Hand Veins and Why You Have Them

    Table of contents

      Visible or bulging hand veins happen to many people. They could be related to aging, vigorous exercise, or any other factors related to your lifestyle and health. If you are concerned that your visible hand veins could be symptoms of something serious or you just don’t like the way they look, visit Downtown Vein & Vascular Center. Dr. Sergei A. Sobolevsky can help you learn more about your bulging veins, what is causing them to become more prominent, and how they can be fixed. Consulting with an expert is the first step to having your condition accurately diagnosed, and getting rid of these unsightly veins.

      Many people suffer from veiny hands, a condition in which the hand veins become visibly prominent and seem to swell out near the skin surface, making the hands look old and vulnerable. For most people, bulging hand veins are cosmetic issues as long as their arms and hands are functioning normally. However, for some people, bulging veins could be a warning sign of some bigger problems, especially if they are painful. It is best to have them examined by a doctor to determine if you are suffering from some vein disorder.

      Learning what could be causing bulging hand veins and how they can be treated is crucial for your long term vascular health.

      Visible Hand Veins

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      What Causes Hand Veins to Become More Visible?

      We have a complex network of veins throughout our bodies. These veins are essential as they help transport blood and nutrients to various parts of the body.

      Certain conditions can make your veins bulge out and seem more prominent, such as hot temperatures, exercise, tight clothing, and sun damage. For the most part, visible veins on hands are nothing more than a cosmetic issue, but in some cases, they may be a sign of a medical problem like a vascular disease.

      Why Are Veins More Visible in the Arms?

      Our arms are susceptible to visible veins. We usually notice them in bodybuilders and people who are into fit regimes. For some people, visible veins are welcome as they come with low body fat and well-defined muscles. However, visible veins could also be resulting from high blood pressure, higher levels of stress, genetics, and age.

      One or more of these causes could be contributing to your bulging hand veins:


      As we age, our skin gets thinner and loses elasticity making the veins more visible. Also, the valves in the skin weaken with age, and it causes the blood to pool in the veins for a long time, enlarging the veins and making them more visible than usual.

      Low Body Fat

      Losing weight not only makes you look smart, but also brings other cosmetic changes to the body. If you don’t have much fat on your hands, your veins become more visible. With less fat to cover and cushion the skin around the veins, you will see the veins protruding on the surface of the skin. It does not only happen on the hands, you can notice it on your arms, abs, and other body parts too.

      Hot Weather

      Heat has a significant role to play in your visible hand veins. It makes it difficult for the vein valves to work correctly, which enlarges veins. This expansion further stresses the vein walls, making them more painful or crampy. As the blood pools under the skin from hot weather, you will notice blue ropey-looking veins on your hands.

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      If you have immediate family members with bulging veins, chances are you will have them too. If this is the case, swollen veins do not indicate a health concern, as your large veins are heredity.

      Varicose Veins

      Varicose veins are mostly found in the legs. They appear when the vein valves weaken, making them less efficient in preventing blood from flowing backward. The veins seem twisted, enlarged, and painful. Varicose veins can appear on any part of the body where blood flow is disrupted or where veins wall and walls are damaged, and this includes hands. It is necessary to seek medical help if your bulging veins are occurring along with varicose veins or if you have other symptoms too.

      Superficial Thrombophlebitis

      It is the inflammation of the external vein (phlebitis) or vein near the surface of the skin, caused by a blood clot (thrombus). It may result from an injury of a vein, such as having an IV catheter inserted. It is not a medical concern, only painful. Sometimes vein inflammation or phlebitis is also associated with other health conditions such as autoimmune disorders, an infection, or trauma.


      As you exercise, the blood pressure rises as more blood pumps through the body, and the veins get pushed closer to the skin. You can see the veins bulging out when they are full, and push up against the skin. For most people, the visual appearance of bulging veins returns to normal after exercise is complete and the body has calmed down.

      Serious weightlifters who do high-exertion exercises and lift heavy weights develop hard muscles and enlarged, rope-like arm or hand veins.

      Deep Vein Thrombosis – (DVT)

      Bulging veins can result from a blood clot deep in the arm’s veins due to circulatory problems.


      During pregnancy, the flow of blood in the veins increases by 20 to 40% to supply blood and nutrients to the baby in the womb. It can lead to bulging or visible veins in arms and hands.

      Medical Conditions

      If you have an underlying or undiagnosed medical condition, had or have cancer, are diabetic, or have hypertension, you can develop vein problems, and your veins may swell or enlarge.

      Why Do Veins Suddenly Turn Blue?

      If you notice the sudden appearance of prominent blue veins on your hands, check for skin discoloration and wounds that are not healing. It could be a sign of DVT, or deep vein thrombosis, a serious medical condition. Veins that turn blue rapidly indicate blood pooling in your veins when the circulatory system is not functioning properly.

      If your veins deepen in color and turn purple or green, seek medical attention right away to prevent any life-threatening complications.

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      Treating Visible Hand Veins

      Treatment for bulging hand veins depends on the causes. In most cases, treatment is purely cosmetic and may not even be necessary.

      Your doctor will conduct a vein screening test to determine what is causing the veins to bulge out and recommend the best vein treatment procedure that makes your hands tight and younger again.

      Sclerotherapy – It is a well-known procedure that focuses on treating visible veins. During the process, a chemical solution is injected into the affected veins. The solution scars and closes the vein permanently. Over the next few weeks, the closed vein heals and disappears.

      Vein stripping and ligation – It is a surgical method for closing the vein that supplies blood to the targeted vein and removing it. The doctor will make an incision, tie off the vein and remove it manually. It is a more invasive treatment and performed under general anesthesia.

      Endovenous ablation therapy – Also known as laser therapy or radiofrequency ablation, it is a minimally invasive process, ideal for treating smaller veins. An amplified light or radio wave is pointed at the target vein to close it off without making incisions. No anesthesia is needed for this method of vein removal.

      Ambulatory phlebectomy – It is a minimally invasive procedure to remove visible or swollen hand veins. The affected veins are removed using small incisions. It involves local anesthesia.

      Once the targeted vein has been closed, the blood that runs in it automatically shifts to healthier vessels, and the closed vein eventually fades away. These procedures deliver good results and have a high patient satisfaction rate.

      Bulging veins due to pregnancy, exercise, or weight loss may return to normal after some time. However, varicose or spider veins in your hands indicate deeper health problems that need proper analysis. Discuss your condition with the best in class vein specialist near you to discover what works best for your case.

      Schedule an appointment with Dr. Sergei A. Sobolevsky for an appropriate diagnosis and effective treatment plan. He is an experienced and certified endovascular specialist with extensive expertise in Image-Guided Minimally Invasive Medicine and Vascular and Interventional Radiology. Dr. Sobolevsky examines and screens your enlarging veins to ensure your condition is not being caused by an underlying medical issue and recommends the best solutions that ease your symptoms and help you feel better.

      Dr. Sergei Sobolevsky (Vein & Vascular Specialist)

      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