Medical Compression Varicose Vein Stockings Varicose veins are large, swollen veins that often appear on the legs and feet. They happen when the valves in the veins do not work correctly, so the blood does not flow effectively. The veins rarely need treatment for health reasons, but if swelling, aching, and painful legs result, and if there is considerable discomfort, treatment is available. There are various options, including some home remedies. In severe cases, a varicose vein may rupture or develop into varicose ulcers on the skin. These will require treatment.