Your legs are pretty impressive. Not only do they carry all of your weight to move you from place to place, but the veins have to work against gravity to carry blood from your feet back up to your heart.
That’s a lot of pressure.
Sometimes, however, the veins responsible for carrying that blood don’t work as well as they should. The valves can get weaker and allow blood to trickle downwards towards your feet and pool. Over time, veins can become twisted and engorged, bulging from the skin.
These are called varicose veins.
Varicose veins are rather common and can affect anyone at any age. And although they are often considered a cosmetic problem by those affected, they can lead to physical symptoms like pain, aching, and heavy feelings in the legs.
If left untreated, painful skin ulcers can develop.
The first sign of a varicose vein could be a spider vein, which is a red or purplish star-burst-shaped cluster beneath the skin. Spider veins are generally cosmetic but could be a sign your veins are not working optimally, and that varicose veins may follow.
It is possible to prevent varicose veins and ensure blood keeps pumping back up to your heart.
Movement is one of the best things you can do in your prevention efforts. Walking leads to calf muscle contractions that keep blood moving; in a way, your calves act as a heart for your leg veins.
Putting your feet up can also help. If you spend a lot of time on your feet, but not walking, or sitting, elevating your feet at the end of the day – or during the day if you have time – can help prevent blood from pooling in your lower extremities.
Compression stockings are a device that you can use to help prevent blood from pooling. The stockings apply pressure to squeeze your legs to help keep blood moving.
If you are noticing spider veins or varicose veins, it’s a good idea to book an ultrasound with your doctor for a closer look.