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Living with Varicose Veins: Staying Active in the Winter is Important for Vein Health

Last updated: May 16, 2019
Woman running outside during winter weather

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Varicose veins are a serious but treatable medical condition and may also be a sign of underlying venous disease. Beneath the skin’s surface, veins bulge when the valves that regulate the flow of blood from the heart to the legs malfunction. Left untreated, these ropey veins can lead to phlebitis (vein inflammation), thrombosis, skin ulcers, blood clots and even embolisms that could result in death.

VCA network physicians specialize in Phlebology, the medical specialty of treating vein disease. They are highly recognized for their published research and many work as lecturers and trainers in the field of vein treatment around the world.


Living with Varicose Veins

Varicose veins and their consequences can adversely affect active lifestyles. If the discomfort of varicose veins or ankle swelling is keeping you from maintaining a healthy way of life, read on to learn about solutions you can implement today.

Two effective treatments used by VCA physicians are sclerotherapy, a microinjection procedure that requires no pain medication or surgery, and endovenous laser therapy (ELT, or sometimes referred to as EVLT), a quick, minimally invasive laser treatment that requires no hospitalization and no complicated surgery.

Another vein treatment option is compression garments designed specifically for active lifestyles. Not only do they help prevent vein damage, but they also increase muscle performance and slow the onset of fatigue by decreasing the build-up of lactic acid and increase muscle perfusion.


Protecting Your Veins

One of the best ways to protect your legs from developing varicose and spider veins is by staying active and exercising regularly. However, all exercise efforts don’t provide equal benefits. Failing to exercise properly or performing certain frowned-upon exercises can have more repercussions than advantages to your vascular health.

Here are some quick tips on the do’s and don’ts for promoting healthy veins through exercise this winter:

The Dos:

  • Do take a walk once in a while. Walking is one of the best things you can do to improve circulation in your legs. It’s beneficial whether done on the treadmill or while taking your dog out for a walk.
  • Do wear compression socks to help your blood flow efficiently through your legs and back up to your heart. Compression socks offer added support for your veins and are especially recommended for exercises that require a lot of sitting or standing still.
  • Do keep your legs elevated whenever possible. While working out, use machines that allow your legs to remain level with or above your heart, like the leg press, to help reduce vein pressure and keep the blood flowing.
  • Do hop on a bicycle if you have a chance. If you would like to spend time outdoors, a leisurely bike ride is both enjoyable and beneficial to your vascular health. A stationary bicycle is just as helpful; both are excellent choices for stretching and strengthening your leg muscles without causing excessive stress on your joints.

The Don’ts:

  • Don’t run on hard surfaces for extended periods of time. Running outside is great for your health, as long as you avoid the pavement and seek out softer surfaces, like grass, sand or a track that is designed for repetitive running. Keep in mind that running can be harmful if done incorrectly, and walking is extremely beneficial for your veins.
  • Don’t hold your breath, especially while doing strenuous exercise. You should always practice proper breathing when doing any physical activity to improve blood flow and avoid tensing up and straining your muscles.
  • Don’t lift heavy weights. Lifting heavy loads adds stress to your leg muscles, causing you to strain and put pressure on your veins. If you feel you need to lift weights, avoid pumping heavy iron and try lighter loads with less repetition.


Maintain Vein Health with an Active Lifestyle

Injury to your veins can increase your risk of developing varicose veins, so you need to make sure you protect your vein health with an active way of life. It’s important to wear protective gear and take all safety precautions if you play contact sports or have other hobbies that put you at risk for injury. For those with hobbies that include extended periods of standing or sitting, it’s important to break up the monotony and periodically change positions and wear graduated compression. That will help relieve the pressure.

The team at Vein Clinics of America takes pride in helping active patients stay healthy. We encourage everyone to remain active and can offer our expertise and experience.

What to Expect: Your Initial Appointment

  • Your first appointment will be a consultation with one of our doctors who will examine your condition and discuss your diagnosis and treatment plan with you.
  • Your physician will address any questions or concerns.
  • After your consultation, you will meet with the office manager to discuss your insurance benefits.
  • You can expect to be in the office for about an hour during this appointment.
  • Be sure to bring insurance cards.


Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you have varicose veins that you’d like to get rid of, call Vein Clinics of America for your complimentary vein health consultation at (844) 423-8346.

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