Varicose veins are enlarged veins that can be blue, red, or flesh-colored. They are often raised above the skin on legs and look like twisted, bulging cords because of a defect with the leaflet valves inside the vein. Normally, blood in the veins travels back to the heart in the direction (towards the heart) supported with the pump action of the calf muscles and one-way valves. These valves, when working normally, prevent blood from flowing backward. But sometimes the leaflets of the valves fail to meet properly, allowing blood to flow downward and pool causing the vein to expand. They can also be associated with pain, aches, heaviness, restless legs or night leg cramps, or burning and itching of the skin.