5 Cost-Effective Ways to Relieve Varicose Veins in Legs
At East Tennessee Vein Center, we see firsthand every day just how common varicose veins are. In fact, nearly half the U.S. population has them to varying degrees. For some, they are a cosmetic nuisance, but for many others they cause pain, swelling, aching, or heaviness. Such symptoms can be burdensome and may cause some people to decrease their normal daily activities. However, there are measures you can take to alleviate some of the symptoms.
- Put your feet up.
Elevating your feet above heart level for 10 to 15 minute intervals allows gravity to naturally circulate any pooled blood in your legs back towards your heart, which can reduce swelling, throbbing, aching, or heaviness in the legs and ankles.
- Avoid prolonged periods of sitting or standing.
Sitting or standing for extended periods of time can cause undue pressure in the veins of the legs. Over time, this pressure can weaken the structure of the veins and cause blood to pool, contributing to the bulging, ropy appearance of varicose veins. If sitting or standing for long periods of time is unavoidable due to your profession, try to shift positions frequently. Take a break once an hour to stand if you’ve been sitting, or to sit if you’ve been standing. Flexing the foot upwards at the ankle as you sit and then flexing down, or “stepping on the gas,” engages the normal calf muscle pump of the venous system. We are designed to be active, not sedentary.
- Wear compression stockings.
Support, or compression, stockings are tighter at the ankle and gradually decrease in compression further up the leg. The compression improves circulation by helping redirect blood through the veins upwards to the heart. Talk with your physician about which grade of compression stockings would best suit you.
- Stay active.
Obesity increases the risk of developing varicose veins, so it’s important to stay within the weight range that’s healthy for you. Regular physical activity can help control weight and also builds muscle in the legs. Any low impact exercise such as walking, swimming, or biking promotes overall circulatory health, which is essential for healthy veins.
- Choose shoes wisely.
For women, it is a good choice to opt for flats over heels, allowing your calf muscle to flex and contract naturally during normal daily use. Also, if you aren’t wearing the proper size and shoe fit, varicose vein symptoms such as swollen feet or legs may become even more bothersome.
If you have varicose veins, or suspect you may develop them thanks to your heredity, the 5 self-care suggestions above may help. However, know that varicose veins are chronic and progressive, meaning they will not go away even if you’re able to manage the symptoms. Additionally, much of vein disease is hidden and any visible varicose veins you have are usually the tip of the iceberg.
If untreated over a long period of time, varicose veins tend to gradually progress causing worsening of symptoms of pain, swelling and appearance. In a minority of patients with varicose veins progress can lead to discoloration of the skin over the veins, leg ulcers, heavy bleeding, or blood clots. Fortunately, treatment of varicose veins has never been easier thanks to advances in ultrasound and laser procedures.
Treatments are minimally-invasive and are performed in-office. Even people with relatively mild symptoms of leg pain or swelling are frequently pleased by how better their legs feel after treatment. And patients with more severe symptoms are relieved to be able to return to their daily activities without the limitations their varicose vein symptoms had been creating.
At East Tennessee Vein Clinic we treat veins differently because we eliminate the entire network of failed veins, not just large visibly bulging veins. In 2001, Dr. Andrew M. Douglass opened the first dedicated vein clinic in Tennessee, and since then has helped thousands have healthy legs that look and feel better.
If you’d like to be free from the painful symptoms and unsightly appearance of varicose veins, request a consultation with the experts at East Tennessee Vein Clinic in Knoxville, or call us at 865.686.0507, or toll-free at 866.281.VEIN.