6 Things You Can Do to Help with Your Varicose Veins:
Varicose vein disease affects more than 25 million Americans and can be a significant cause of uncomfortable and painful leg symptoms. Many of these symptoms, such as leg aching and heaviness, are what motivate people to seek treatment in the first place. While medical intervention is the only way to correct the underlying problem, there are several things you can do to help manage your symptoms. Below you will find a list of lifestyle modifications you can make that are referred to as “conservative therapy.” Your insurance company will often require that you have completed a “conservative therapy trial” to see if your symptoms improve before they will consider covering varicose vein treatment.
- Walking. Walking is of the upmost importance when you have varicose vein disease. When you walk it forces the calf muscle to contract. This contraction of the muscle helps to push blood flow back to the heart, which in turn helps reduce the amount of blood that is sitting in your veins. In addition, it also helps stimulate drainage from the lymphatic system. Ideally, walking should be performed for at least 30 minutes every day. If you have a sedentary job, you should try to get up and walk at least 2 minutes every hour.
- Ankle flexion. So many people spend their days sitting at a desk for their jobs. And getting up to walk every hour can be challenging if not impossible in our ever-demanding job sites. However, sitting for the majority of the day takes its toll on your veins. Gravity does not work in your favor. Ankle flexion (or pumping your ankles) can help mimic the same movement we do while we’re walking, thereby activating that calf muscle pump and propelling blood back towards the heart.
- Avoiding high heels. Ladies…those high heels may actually be hindering you. This is especially true if you suffer from leg symptoms such as leg aching and tiredness. For some individuals, their leg symptoms may get better just by avoiding high heels. The reason for this is because you have to be able to flex your ankle in order to engage your calf muscle pump, which is something you can’t fully do in high heels. You might want to consider wearing flats for a period of time to see if your leg symptoms improve.
- Leg elevation. Elevating your legs above the level of your heart several times a day for 15-20 minutes can help with leg symptoms such as aching and swelling. This is because it helps reduce the effects of gravity, and it promotes the flow of blood back towards the heart. However, there are certain medical conditions that leg elevation would be contraindicated for, such as gastro esophageal reflux, congestive heart failure, and peripheral arterial disease.
- Weight control. Varicose veins can affect those individuals who are both a normal weight and overweight. However, they are typically made worse in those individuals who are overweight. Even a modest amount of weight reduction can be beneficial in reducing the symptoms associated with varicose veins.
- Compression hose/sock. Compression hose act as an outside force that mimics the calf muscle pump. There are different strengths and are measured in mmHg. For example, a 10-15mmHg is considered a light support hose, while a 20-30mmHg is a heavy support hose. For varicose vein disease, 20-30 mmHg is recommended. Also, you will need to be measured and fitted for the appropriate size to get an accurate and comfortable hose or sock. We have many different styles to choose from and we can get you into a hose or sock that will suite your lifestyle. They are not like your grandma’s stocking!
All of these recommendations can help with the symptoms of varicose vein disease; however, they may not all be indicated for every person. It is important that you discuss these with a healthcare provider prior to initiating any type of new treatment plan to make sure it is right for you. The staff at Tennessee Vein Center has many years of experience treating varicose vein disease and can assist you with the plan that is right for you. Call today for your appointment.