Varicose Veins and Exercise

The benefits of regular exercise are well known, yet when it comes to vein health not all physical activity is created equal.  Activities that require your legs to support heavier weight over a prolonged period such as weightlifting, or backpacking, or possibly repetitive movements like running can cause your leg vessels to distend.   You may notice that after an exercise session that your leg vessels are more distended and that they ache more.  These exercises tend to cause vasodilation and therefore, cause an increase in the size of the veins in your legs leading to leg pain, and leg swelling and potentially worsening of your varicose veins.

If you do notice a worsening of your leg symptoms during or after exercise, we do recommend, as a first line, compression stockings.  Many athletes are wearing compression even if they do not have varicose veins because compression stockings seem to help with recovery and helping the body get rid of lactic acid.  Compression stockings come in a variety of colors and styles — no longer do you need to be embarrassed by your stockings.

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Left leg varicose veins in an athlete

Regardless, we do recommend regular exercise even if you have varicose veins.  Contracting the calf muscles helps push the blood out of the legs.  You do need to listen to your body.  If your activity is so strenuous that it aggravates your varicose veins, you may need to moderate your activity until you have your varicose veins treated.

In addition, there are, several exercises that encourage good vein health and aid in overall blood circulation. These include moderate, low-or non-impact activities such as walking, swimming, and stretching. These exercises involve flexing of the ankles and calf muscles which can help ease leg pain and may keep varicose veins from getting worse. These types of light exercises are effective because they increase circulation and keep excess pressure from building up.

Regular exercise can help keep veins strong but it’s important to note that physical activity, no matter what kind, can’t act as varicose vein removal. Once venous insufficiencies develop, medical intervention will likely be necessary.

At Lakeshore Veins, we understand that constant leg pain and leg swelling can dramatically affect the quality of your life.  We want you to keep exercising.  That’s why we offer several, minimally-invasive procedures such as radiofrequency ablation, laser ablation and microphlebectomy to rid you of your varicose veins symptoms. Please give our office a call (262) 241-3999 or contact us online to learn more about varicose vein removal in the Milwaukee area.

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