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QUESTION: My son is 6. Today I noticed that the veins on the back of his calves are not only visible, but I can now even feel them when I touch his legs. He is a thin kid, but hasn't gotten any thinner or taller lately so I don't think that is the reason.

Is it normal to be able to see and feel a child's veins?

ANSWER: Hi, M,

This is most likely normal.  It is common to see and feel the veins and the harder valves that are in the veins in a kid who is thin.  If all of a sudden you see veins that weren't there in the past, a visit to the doctor would be reasonable.  Most likely this is just normal.  Veins can vary in size depending on activity, level of hydration and other factors.

Good luck, Dr. Olson

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your reply. This is new it only started a couple days ago. If I were to take him to the doctor, what kind of things would they look for that might cause this? If it is just dehydration I can try to make him drink more.  If there are other things, I kind of like to know what they'd be considering.

Answer
Hi, M,

Dehydration wouldn't cause this.  The veins would be less visible in dehydration.

The veins have valves in them, to assure a one way flow back to the heart, and sometimes the valves can be felt through the skin.  Unusual causes of sudden and persistent changes in the veins could be due to blockage of the venous return, but again, this would be unusual in an otherwise healthy baby.  

Good luck, Dr. Olson

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David Olson, MD

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I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions about general pediatric topics, either medical issues or behavioral issues. This would include all the various questions one receives in a busy pediatric practice. I`m a board certified pediatrician in northern Michigan and have been in practice for over 15 years. I enjoy the teaching role I have in our practice and would enjoy the opportunity to help others with their pediatric problems.

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