Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins that form near the surface of the skin, most commonly in the legs and ankles. Varicose veins are inherited, or caused by pregnancy, obesity, prolonged standing, age, or leg trauma. About 50 to 55 percent of women and 40 to 45 percent of men in the United States suffer from varicose veins. They may be associated with pain, heaviness, restless leg syndrome, cramps, spider veins, or leg swelling, and delaying treatment can result in serious problems such as leg ulcers or blood clots. New treatment methods in the past decade have allowed many patients to rid themselves of pain, swelling and unsightly veins in less than a month. Treatments are usually covered by insurance companies and side effects are rare.