Being tall is a key factor in suffering varicose veins, researchers said.

Being tall is a key factor in suffering varicose veins, researchers said.

Varicose veins usually announce themselves as bulging, bluish cords running just beneath the surface of your skin.

They examined the genes of more than 400,000 Britons to find out more about triggers the painful condition.

Despite being very common, affecting around 15 million Britons, little is known about what causes the bulging and discoloured veins. Academics used computer software to discover which factors were associated with varicose veins and said their results ‘strongly suggest height is a cause, not just a correlated factor’.

The study at Stanford University, California, added the finding was ‘very surprising’ and genes linked to height could provide clues for treatment.

The journal Circulation reported that it was also confirmed other risk factors include leg surgery, smoking, hormone therapy, family history and lack of movement. Sufferers currently have to have surgery or laser treatment.