Everyone has had blood vessels that burst at some point. These ruptures are almost always expressed as bruises and are due to the body being exposed to a shock or another form of minor superficial trauma. When the blood vessels under the skin burst, oxygen-poor, blue blood flows out under the skin and creates the bluish mark that we call a bruise. Usually, the broken blood vessels heal on their own and the bruise disappears soon after. However, there are other causes than shocks that cause blood vessels to rupture and we will discuss these causes in this article.

Why blood vessels in the legs break

There are a number of causes and risk factors for blood vessels in the legs to burst. The most common cause is heredity. Another reason is that the blood vessels become narrower with age, which means that broken blood vessels are more common in older people compared to younger people. Women are also more sensitive than men, which is because women have thinner skin.

Risk factors for possibly suffering from ruptured blood vessels are being overweight, smoking, being sedentary and too much exposure to UV radiation. All these factors contribute to the blood vessels becoming more sensitive and fragile.

Medicines that are blood thinners can also increase the risk of blood vessels rupturing.

Another risk factor for suffering from ruptured blood vessels is reduced function in vein valves, which in turn means that blood can collect in pools that become varicose veins. When these pools of blood swell, the blood vessels can rupture. Impaired function of the valves leading to leakage increases with increasing age. Being overweight and sedentary and more can also contribute to weakened valve function, but heredity is the biggest factor. People who have one or two parents who have impaired function in the venous valves will almost certainly suffer from this themselves.

How do broken blood vessels affect the risk of varicose veins

Is there a connection between broken blood vessels and varicose veins ?

Varicose veins are accumulations of blood in the veins under defective and leaking venous valves. Although it is easy to believe that varicose veins are due to broken blood vessels, it is rather that it is blood vessels that have not broken that are varicose veins. Varicose veins are not the same as ruptured blood vessels, but varicose veins can cause ruptured blood vessels if the varicose veins are severe. This is because when the varicose veins get bigger and bigger, there is a risk that the veins that make up the varicose veins will break.

Is it dangerous to have broken blood vessels in the legs?

Superficial ruptured blood vessels are generally not dangerous unless they are extensive. However, ruptured blood vessels deeper into the body can be very dangerous. If a blood vessel breaks inside the body and not on the surface, so-called internal bleeding occurs. Such bleeding is life-threatening and a person affected should immediately call an ambulance.

The symptoms below can also be signs that the bleeding is dangerous enough to seek medical attention:

  • Pain in the area where it is bleeding
  • Profuse bleeding from an open wound
  • A lump that goes over the bleeding and into the wound
  • Darker skin in the area around the bleeding
  • Swollen extremities Bleeding gums, nose, urine or blood in the stool


When a superficial blood vessel ruptures, you can see that the skin becomes discolored, often bluish. That's why we call the superficial symptoms of a broken blood vessel a bruise.

There are a number of reasons why a blood vessel can burst. The absolute most common reason for a superficial blood vessel to rupture is an external trauma of a milder kind, such as a bump or a light blow.

The risk that a blood vessel may burst is linked to a person's individual conditions such as heredity, age and gender. There are also a number of lifestyle factors that can increase the risk of a blood vessel breaking. These are, among others, obesity, exposure to the sun's ultraviolet radiation, medication, sitting still, which results in impaired blood circulation. Broken blood vessels that lie superficially, just under the skin, are almost never dangerous. The broken blood vessels should heal by themselves, but if the blood vessels do not heal by themselves, it can be dang