Exercises to Help Prevent Varicose Veins
Varicose veins usually cause pain, but at times only cause concern due to their prominent appearance. Most commonly the pain from varicose veins may be described as swelling in the legs, heaviness in the legs, muscle cramping, and throbbing pain in the legs.
The symptoms tend to worsen over the course of the day and also with either standing or sitting for long durations. Through the course of the day, the veins in the legs must work hard to keep blood flowing toward the heart and with static standing and sitting, the muscles are not squeezing the veins as much to push the blood back to the heart.
Additionally, heat can also increase the pain of varicose veins. With rising temperatures, this causes the vessels in the body to increase in size to allow more blood flow, which causes the veins to enlarge even more.
The following is a list of ways to try to prevent pain or to treat the pain from varicose veins, which all can be done at home.
Tips for prevention:
- Compression hose: compression hose are a special garment that can be purchased over the counter or with a prescription from your doctor. The hose are worn directly against the skin on the legs and help to put pressure on the legs. It is best to put these on every morning to try to prevent pain, as opposed to using them after the swelling has already started.
- Shoe wear and clothing: Specific types of shoes, such as high heels, and tight clothing can worsen pain from varicose veins. It is best to avoid tight clothing, but also to wear sensible and comfortable shoes, particularly when standing or walking for long periods throughout the day.
Tips for treatment:
Elevation: Elevating the legs at the end of the day or with swelling can help to reduce swelling. The legs should be elevated so that they are above the level of the heart. This allows for the veins to use gravity in order to push blood back toward the heart, reducing swelling and symptoms.
Stretching: Since veins work through the contraction of the muscle, stretching the calf muscle and thigh muscles through the day may help to reduce pain and swelling. This is especially helpful with any activities that require long duration of sitting or standing. During the day, it is also important to change positions, at least 1-2 times every hour.
Cool temperature: Taking cool showers, baths, or keeping the temperature in the home cooler can help to reduce swelling. Cool temperatures allow for the vessels to tighten, reducing swelling and improving movement of blood.
Do you require a surgeon for pain relief?
Provided that pain from varicose veins is not controlled by either tips for prevention or treatment, please visit with your physician about other potential treatment options.
Meet ABMS Board Certified Surgeon, Dr. Mackay
Contact the office of Dr. Edward Mackay, a board certified vascular surgeon providing services to patients in the Tampa area.