Why do the Veins in My Hands Hurt and What Should I Do?

Blog Post
By BASS Vein Center
Why do the Veins in My Hands Hurt and What Should I Do?
September 19, 2023

Running through the entirety of your body are little tubes called blood vessels. These vessels make sure every part of your body gets the nutrients and oxygen it needs to survive. Blood transports the necessary items through the vessels from the heart and lungs to the organs and limbs. The vessels that take the blood away from the heart are called arteries, and the vessels that bring it back are called veins.

Should I Be Concerned About Visible Hand Veins?

Arteries have it easy because gravity is working with them to take blood down through the body. Veins, on the other hand, have to struggle against gravity to get the blood back to the heart. 

Problems begin to form when you begin to age. The valves and vein walls weaken and struggle under the pressure of gravity attempting to force the blood back down away from the heart. Normally, this manifests through varicose veins in the legs, but it can show in the hands as well. 

What Can Cause Visible Veins in Hands?

There are several simple causes for visible hand veins. Some of these causes are harmless and painless, while others are more of an issue. 

  • Low Body Fat: People with lower body fat percentages tend to have more visible veins, as there is less tissue covering the veins. This is often seen in athletes and individuals who are very lean.
  • Genetics: Some people naturally have more prominent veins due to their genetic makeup. If your family members have visible veins, you may be more likely to as well.
  • Age: As we age, the skin becomes thinner and loses elasticity, making veins more visible. The collagen and fat under the skin decrease with age, contributing to this effect.
  • Dehydration: When the body is dehydrated, the blood can become more concentrated, making veins appear more prominent. Staying adequately hydrated can help reduce the visibility of veins.
  • Heat: Warm temperatures can cause blood vessels to dilate and become more noticeable. This is a common reason for veins to become more visible during hot weather or after physical activity.
  • Exercise: Engaging in physical activities that involve repetitive hand movements or gripping, such as weightlifting or rock climbing, can temporarily make hand veins more prominent due to increased blood flow to the area.
  • Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the body undergoes significant changes, including increased blood volume, which can lead to more visible veins in various parts of the body, including the hands.
  • Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those that occur during menstruation or menopause, can also affect vein visibility.
  • Medical Conditions: In some cases, visible veins in the hands may be associated with underlying medical conditions, such as venous insufficiency, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or other circulatory disorders. If you have concerns about your veins or experience other symptoms, it's important to consult a healthcare professional for evaluation. 
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as vasodilators or blood thinners, can affect blood vessel dilation and may lead to more visible veins.

In most cases, visible veins in the hands are benign and not a cause for alarm, but it's always best to consult a healthcare provider for a proper evaluation if you have any doubts or concerns.

Why Do My Veins Hurt in My Hand?

While most visible veins aren’t dangerous or even painful, there are a few conditions that can make them hurt. Here are the most common causes and what you can do to help soothe the discomfort. 

  • Phlebitis: Phlebitis is the inflammation of a vein, often occurring in the superficial veins of the arms or legs. It can cause pain, redness, warmth, and swelling along the affected vein. Phlebitis can result from injury, infection, or the insertion of an IV line.
  • Thrombophlebitis: This is a condition where a blood clot forms within a vein, leading to inflammation and pain. Superficial thrombophlebitis affects veins close to the surface of the skin and can be associated with redness and a hard, tender cord-like structure along the vein.
  • Venous Insufficiency: The different stages of venous insufficiency occur when the valves in the veins of the legs or arms do not function properly, causing blood to pool in the veins. This can lead to aching, discomfort, and visible veins in the affected area, including the hands.
  • Overuse or Strain: Repetitive or excessive hand movements, gripping, or lifting heavy objects can strain the muscles and blood vessels in the hand, leading to pain and discomfort.
  • Vasculitis: Vasculitis is the inflammation of blood vessels, which can affect veins. Depending on the type and severity of vasculitis, it can cause pain, swelling, and redness in the affected area.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): While DVT typically occurs in deeper veins of the legs or pelvis, it can occasionally occur in the upper extremities, including the arms and hands. DVT is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention and can cause pain, swelling, and redness.
  • Infections: Infections in the hand, such as cellulitis or an abscess, can lead to localized pain and inflammation in the affected area, including the veins.
  • Trauma: Injuries to the hand, such as fractures, dislocations, or crush injuries, can damage the veins and cause pain.
  • Nerve Compression: Nerves in the hand can become compressed or irritated due to various factors, including repetitive motion or pressure, which may manifest as pain that radiates along the veins.
  • Raynaud's Disease: Raynaud's disease is a condition where the blood vessels in the fingers or toes constrict excessively in response to cold temperatures or stress. This can cause pain, numbness, and a change in the color of the fingers, and it may affect the veins.

If you are experiencing persistent or severe vein pain in your hand, especially if it is associated with other symptoms such as swelling, redness, warmth, or changes in skin color, it's important to seek medical evaluation promptly. Your healthcare provider can conduct a physical examination, order necessary tests, and determine the appropriate treatment based on the underlying cause of your symptoms.

If you aren’t ready for more invasive removal or laser treatments, there are some gentle home remedies you can try. These are simple tasks that will help ease the discomfort in your hands and arms.

  • Rest and elevate - Take breaks throughout the day to elevate the limb above your heart. 
  • Compression - Some pharmacies sell elastic compression gloves that can help blood flow, encouraging proper circulation. This is one of the different types of conservative vein treatment.
  • Stay hydrated - Drinking plenty of water helps reduce the swelling and resulting discomfort. 
  • Heat compress - A heat compress can help soothe the pain. Don’t leave it on too long though, or the veins will expand and possibly worsen the pain. 

BASS Vein Center

At BASS Vein Center, we employ the best vein specialists and surgeons to ensure all your vein needs are met. Whether you are looking for a vascular surgeon or a phlebotomist, we are here to help. Visit our website to learn more about relieving varicose vein discomfort. If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today.

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