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Miami, FL
A 54-year-old female asked:

I have a vein in my left leg that hurts. it is becoming larger and protruding. this vain is on my left leg above my knee on the outside of my leg. is there a major artery there?

4 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Breiner
Podiatry 34 years experience
Vein: I think this is a vein that is becoming larger. The arteries in this part of the leg mostly run behind your knee. Sometimes the valves in the veins become leaky and the blood will pool in the veins and cause them to swell as they fill with blood. Seek medical attention if they remain painful or get larger.
Dr. Philip Rosenblum
Family Medicine 28 years experience
Not an artery, but..: The painful vein you are describing on the outer part of leg is not near the main arteries of the leg. Pain can be caused by stretching of the walls of the vein itself. Varicose veins are usually not painful, but a blood clot in the leg can be both painful and dangerous. This could be a DVT or deep venous thrombosis. You should have this checked as soon as possible. Ultrasound can rule this out.
Dr. Norman Chideckel
Vascular Surgery 42 years experience
i disagree varicose veins can be painful,i agree that ultrasound is important but needs to be done standing to assess venous reflux of the superficial vein i.e. great saphenous vein incompetence
Sep 3, 2012
Dr. Philip Rosenblum
Family Medicine 28 years experience
Provided original answer
Point taken. Tough do distinguish levels of pain complaint under these circumstances. DVT is certainly the more dangerous condition.
Sep 3, 2012
Dr. James White
Cosmetic Surgery 31 years experience
Major, no: Major arteries of the lower extremity are usually located toward the inside and back of the limb. Arteries are usually deep, close to the bone for protection. Most likely, the vessel is a varicose vein. An easy test would include limb elevation, , if the protruding vessel is vein--the size should decrease with elevation. If the protruding vessel is an artery, there should little change.
Dr. John Landi
Phlebology 47 years experience
Seems like vein.: What you are describing appears to be a varicose vein. There are no major arteries in that location and under the skin. Varicose veins do occur in this area and are usually due to malfunctioning valves in either the saphenous vein or anterior accessory saphenous vein. A venous reflux ultrasound would make the diagnosis and help to formulate a treatment plan.

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Last updated May 1, 2016

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