Noticing bulging veins in hands and arms can cause some alarm. Although it is far more common to experience varicose veins or spider veins in your legs, many people can and do suffer from varicose veins in their arms. There are treatments available that have proven to be extremely effective and have minimal side effects.

Vein Care specialises in providing minimally invasive, non-surgical varicose vein removal treatments at our clinics in Melbourne. In this article, we look at the causes of protruding veins in the arm and upper body as well as the different treatment options available.

What are Varicose Veins in the Arm?

While it’s less common to experience varicose veins in the arm and hands, they can occur. After all, we have veins all throughout our body that can protrude and manifest as bulging, twisted, swollen, purple-blue varicose veins. Regardless of where they appear on our body, varicose veins have many of the same underlying causes, symptoms and treatments. Causes include old age, obesity, hereditary, hormonal, occupational and other lifestyle factors. Injury, trauma and conditions like lymphedema can also contribute to the development of varicose veins in hands and arms.

The Negative Effects of Varicose Veins

From a cosmetic viewpoint, many people can lose confidence in their appearance when their veins begin protruding. In extremely visible areas like the arms and hands, this can feel far worse. Unlike varicose veins in legs, which can often be hidden easily with clothing, bulging veins in hands and arms are difficult to cover up. This can make everyday interactions like shaking someone’s hand an embarrassing and anxiety-inducing situation for some.

Additionally, the added pressure in the hands can make performing daily tasks uncomfortable and even painful. Left untreated, varicose veins can protrude more and more over time, leading to aching, pain, swelling and reduced mobility.

What Can Lead to Prominent Veins in Arms?

Like our legs, the veins in our arms and hands often need to work against gravity to pump deoxygenated blood back up to our heart. The causes of prominent veins in arms are similar to the lower body. It can be hereditary, hormonal or caused by a number of external factors. Before veins become varicose veins, they can protrude due to certain lifestyle factors.

Having a low percentage of body fat, for example, may cause the veins to protrude from your hands. Also, exercise raises blood pressure and pushes veins towards the skin. Though this typically goes away, regular exercise may make bulging veins become permanent.

Varicose Veins Causes and Symptoms

Varicose veins in arms and hands can look similar across a range of patients, regardless of the underlying cause. Some underlying causes include:

  • A family history of varicose veins or spider veins
  • Poor blood flow due to the natural ageing process
  • Increased pressure on the midsection or abdomen that pushes blood to the extremities. This may be caused by excess weight or pregnancy
  • Menopause, which can cause hormonal and physical changes to the body

It’s important to seek treatment early, so get in touch with Vein Care if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Blue or dark purple coloured veins
  • Veins that appear to be bulging or twisting beneath the skin
  • Chronic aching or heaviness in the arms
  • Swelling, throbbing, burning or cramping in the arms and hands
  • Redness, discolouration or itching around prominent veins
  • Skin hardening or ulcers that are localised to one area (this may indicate more serious vascular diseases)

Treating Varicose Veins in the Arms

Depending on the severity of your condition and your personal preferences, Vein Care offers a wide range of non-surgical treatments for varicose veins. Most abnormal veins aren’t necessary for blood circulation, meaning they can be eliminated in non-surgical, outpatient procedures. We use safe procedures to eliminate the symptoms of diseased veins, improve venous health and restore the appearance of the affected area, including:

  • Sclerotherapy and Microsclerotherapy: This involves injecting a special solution into the problem veins which cleanses the area and collapses the vein wall. After that, the immune system naturally does the rest.
  • Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy: An ultrasound is used for a more advanced version of Sclerotherapy that enhances the accuracy of the treatment. This can be used if there is a larger number of problem veins or in circumstances where veins are not as close to the surface or prominent.
  • Endovenous Laser Therapy: An alternative to surgical vein stripping, this involves using a laser to heat problem veins so they shrink and close, sealing off the vein so blood can flow through other nearby veins instead. It’s a more effective, less painful option that allows for faster recovery.
  • Endovenous Cyanoacrylate Super-Glue: A special glue is injected into the problem vein under ultrasound guidance which seals it. After the vein is sealed, it heals, and the glue is absorbed into the body.
  • Ambulatory Phlebectomy: Used to target visibly bulging veins, this treatment involves pulling out visibly bulging veins with a special hook under local anaesthetic. The incisions are tiny enough that stitches are not necessary.

These treatments can be completed in as little as 30 minutes to 1.5 hours with side effects limited to minimal discomfort and tenderness. Depending on the treatment, full results are visible within 2 to 6 weeks.

What to Know About Hand Veins 

Remember that it is perfectly normal for many people to have visible veins on their hands and arms. If you find that your veins are becoming significantly more prominent or are causing issues like pain, discomfort, embarrassment and limited mobility, it may be time to seek treatment to improve your quality of life.

What Causes Hand Veins and Arm Veins to Become More Visible?

For some, bulging veins in hands and arms can be just a cosmetic issue with no medical consequences. For others, it can suggest a more serious underlying condition. There can be a variety of causes behind prominent hand veins. What those causes are can help determine whether the issue requires serious concern or can be explained by natural factors.


As we get older, our skin thins as collagen and fat layers under the skin diminish, causing veins to appear more prominent. In some cases, prominent veins can be a sign of a more serious medical issue such as varicose veins or deep vein thrombosis. Ageing weakens your veins and reduces their ability to control blood flow, leading to these conditions. If veins are prominent and accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, swelling, or discolouration, you should seek advice to determine whether they require medical treatment.

Low Body Weight

Layers of fat under our skin will typically conceal the appearance of veins. If you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, you may notice that veins become more visible in certain areas, especially hands and arms, which tend to have less body fat. This effect may be exacerbated if you’ve been doing a lot of exercise to lose weight as well.


Exercise increases your blood pressure as more blood pumps through the body. This can increase the visibility of veins as they get full and push up against the skin. Some people who exercise frequently or regularly do high exertion exercises like heavy weight lifting may start seeing permanent visible veins protruding through the skin.

Hot Weather

Heat can also contribute to the visibility of veins in your hands and arms. Higher temperatures cause veins to dilate and expand. This adds stress to vein walls and can result in the appearance of blue ropey veins on your hands.


Genetics play a major role in the visibility of veins. Individuals with fair skin and light hair are often more likely to have visible veins on their arms and hands. This is because lower levels of melanin make it easier to see veins under the skin. If one or both of your parents have prominent visible veins, then it should be no surprise if you do too.


Certain medications can have side effects that increase visibility of veins in your arms and hands. Some antibiotics, for example, can cause inflammation of the veins, making them more prominent. Certain medical treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy can also cause veins to become more visible.


Varicose veins in the arm can sometimes be the result of an underlying condition called lymphedema. This is when lymph fluid accumulates in body tissues due to a blockage in the lymphatic system. Swelling and inflammation in the affected limb can result which in turn impacts blood flow in veins, potentially leading to the development of varicose veins.

Injury or Trauma

Varicose veins can also occur in arms and hands following an injury or physical trauma to the blood vessels in the area. This can include anything from falls or sporting accidents to serious car crashes. In these cases, treatment can involve repairing or removing the damaged blood vessels depending on whether there are any other underlying issues that remain.

Make an Appointment with Vein Care in Melbourne

While visible veins in your hands and arms are not always a serious medical issue, it is important to stay aware of any changes in your health and veins. This is especially true if they are accompanied by pain and discomfort. Vein Care offers non-surgical varicose vein removal treatments, helping people with both cosmetic and medical vein concerns.

To find out more or to make an appointment, call us today on 1300 730 100 or contact us online.