• Broken capillaries, which are tiny, red thread-like veins in the skin of the face, arms, legs and ankles, have many causes. But broken capillaries that occur only on the ankles and are combined with swelling of those joints can indicate serious problems.

    What Is a Broken Capillary?

    A broken capillary, also known as a telangiectasia or spider vein, is a tiny blood vessel in which the wall has ruptured, according to the Mayo Clinic. Broken capillaries in the ankle are often caused by pressure on blood vessels, but this pressure can indicate underlying medical conditions and disease.

    Weight Gain

    Weight gain puts pressure on everything in the body, including capillaries in the ankles, which can cause blood vessel walls to rupture, according to Tulsa Vein Specialists.

    Pregnancy and Hormones

    Pregnancy weight gain can also contribute to broken capillaries in ankles. In addition, water retention and hormonal changes can cause capillaries to break, according to Tulsa Vein Specialists.

    Poor Blood Circulation

    Poor blood circulation is aother cause of broken capillaries in the ankles and can be a result of obesity, lack of exercise and leg trauma. According to the American Diabetes Association, poor circulation can also mean diabetes.


    In addition, according to the American Association of Diabetes, blood vessels in the foot, ankle and leg can narrow and harden because of diabetes. The presence of broken capillaries in the ankles may be an indication that this is occurring.

    Liver Disease

    Liver disease can result in broken capillaries, or what the New Zealand Dermatological Society terms "spider angiomas." Symptoms of Wilson's disease---a liver condition that creates excess amounts of copper in the body---include bruising and broken capillaries in the ankles, according to the Mayo Clinic.


    Tulsa Vein Specialists: Treatment of Varicose and Spider Veins

    New Zealand Dermatological Society: Wilson Disease

    American Diabetes Association: Foot Complications

    More Information: Wilson's Disease

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