Keep your legs strong to avoid varicose veins!

46049046_MDo you feel tired after standing on your feet all day? Have you noticed swelling around your feet or ankles after standing for some time? Does it hurt when you walk, but the pain stops when you rest? Is your favorite time of day when you can lie down and prop your feet up at the end of the day? These aren’t just signs that you’re getting older. All these symptoms can also be your body’s warning that you may have developed venous insufficiency.

Venous insufficiency occurs when the blood in your legs has difficulty pumping back up to your heart. As a result, the valves in your leg veins are either broken or missing, which causes the blood to flow backward or stay in one place. The longer this issue continues, the more likely you will develop varicose, spider vein issues, or venous ulcers.

Many of our patients with venous insufficiency seek treatment only after they see large bulging varicose veins or webbed spider vein patches on their legs. But the problem usually has started long before these problematic vein issues appear on the surface of your legs. Once the problematic veins appear, there is no way to stop the problem from worsening without seeking vein treatment at a clinic like ours. Vein treatment is the only way to remove problematic varicose or spider vein issues before they progress.

If vein treatment is the only way to remove varicose or spider veins, what can you do to avoid developing them in the first place? Here are a few things you can try.

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a diet rich in fiber and vitamins
  • Reduce your sodium intake
  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid standing or sitting for long periods
  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure
  • Reduce your stress
  • Exercise

Let’s focus on exercise as a preventive treatment. Exercise is one of the best ways to help maintain a healthy circulation system and prevent vein problems. While exercising, your heart rate rises as blood is pushed throughout your body and to your muscles so you can move. This increased circulation as a result of exercise helps keep your veins and heart healthy. Remember, the easier it is for the blood in your body to flow, the less likely you will be to develop vein issues.

So what kind of exercise is best? Whatever works for you! Any activity is good for your vein health, but if you want to prevent venous insufficiency, we recommend focusing on exercises that strengthen your legs. Strong leg muscles and veins help to keep your blood flowing correctly instead of clogging up. If you’re new to regular exercise, start simple. Try daily walks or low-impact exercises like biking, swimming, jogging, yoga or leg lifts.

Exercise is such a critical part of maintaining your vein health. Even after you seek treatment, we recommend getting back into an exercise routine quickly, usually by walking a few times each day after treatment, to help keep your blood flowing. After you’ve been diagnosed with venous insufficiency, you will have to be a bit more careful about the types of exercise you engage in. While exercise is good for you, some high-impact or strenuous forms of exercise can exacerbate your condition, including:

  • Running: Running is fantastic for strengthening your leg muscles, but it’s also very hard on your joints and muscles. Each time you set your foot down at high speeds, it puts extra pressure on your legs which can hurt if you have venous insufficiency. We recommend talking to your vein treatment doctor before resuming running or using compression stockings to help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Weightlifting: Lifting weights is excellent for strengthening your muscles but also puts more strain on them. We recommend working with a trainer to ensure you practice good form and technique and use lighter weights.
  • Situps: This one might seem strange since situps are an abdominal exercise, but they can affect the pressure in your legs. Performing a situp increases abdominal pressure, which also increases the tension in your legs, which may exacerbate your venous insufficiency symptoms.

Exercising with venous insufficiency requires more patience and care. But vein treatment can help you resume most of your normal activities. Once you’ve fully recovered from your treatment, you may attempt more strenuous leg exercises like biking, jogging, or weightlifting with your doctor’s permission.

We know that getting into a regular exercise routine may not be the most feasible for everyone. If that’s the case, try some simple movements each day to help improve your circulation, like:

  • Calf raises
  • Leg circles
  • Ankle circles
  • Pointing and flexing your toes
  • Knee raises
  • And other leg stretches

Simple movements like these might not seem like much, but they can still help to strengthen your legs and improve your vein health.

Remember, whatever you do, ensure that your exercise routine works out the muscles in your leg so they stay strong and your veins stay healthy. That’s the best way to help prevent your venous insufficiency symptoms from worsening and developing into varicose or spider vein problems!