Smooth legs by summer – Medical tips for varicose veins

Summer is coming soon and we all want to look great.  If you are troubled by varicose veins, the time to start working on those legs is now.  Newer medical treatments don’t require a long recovery.  You can get the veins treated, shape up and be ready for summer but you need to start soon.

Walk-in, walk-out options

Varicose veins are those unattractive blue or purplish lines on your legs. They may bulge and they may cause pain.  Up to one fourth of all adults may be affected by varicose veins and though they are mostly hereditary, any condition which puts excessive pressure on legs or abdomen can make them worse.

You can alleviate some of the pain by staying off your feet and may find relief in elevation of your legs but that won’t actually get rid of the problem.  To really get rid of varicose veins, you will need medical treatment.  Some patients with severe varicose veins may require the traditional “vein stripping” procedure which is the surgical removal of the vein itself, but most patients with moderate varicose veins will be treatable with newer procedures.

Catheter-assisted laser surgery heats the vein using a small catheter and causes it to collapse, sealing shut but the newest procedure uses a tiny catheter to infuse medication which will cause the vein to close by itself.  The Clarivein procedure is a walk-in, walk-out treatment.  After just a few hours, you leave the clinic on your own feet and can usually return to normal activities right away.

However, even though you have had your veins treated, nothing is permanent.  The varicose veins that have been treated aren’t very likely to come back – but in some cases they can or others may develop if you don’t take precautions.

Tips from the doctor

If you are not ready for treatment or just want to take precautions, these tips can help you prevent varicose veins from forming or may help keep them from getting worse:

Change your shoes – Low heeled shoes help to tone your calf muscles. The muscles help your veins to push blood back up to your heart and prevents blood pooling and vein stretching.
Stay off your feet – You don’t have to quit standing all together but limit the time you spend on your feet, especially if stationery. Those who have had jobs that require long periods of standing in place are more likely to develop varicose veins.
Wear loose clothing – Avoid clothing that restricts the upper part of your legs including Spanx or other thigh and abdomen shaping garments. Supportive leggings or socks which cover the calves or whole leg are helpful.
Watch how you sit – Sitting for long periods of time may also be almost as bad as standing and sitting with your legs crossed will actually make it harder for blood to flow correctly. Get up and move around as frequently as you can.
Change your sleeping position – Raising your legs a few inches can help blood to return to your heart more easily but don’t put a pillow underneath your knees, it should be under your feet. Some people, such as pregnant women, find that sleeping on the left side is more comfortable and allows for easier blood return, reducing the pressure in the legs.
Exercise is a must – Your veins are essentially expandable tubes. Working muscles give support to those veins and exercise also keeps the muscles toned and promotes a healthier blood supply.
Eat right – Don’t eat too much salt or foods that cause water retention. Eat plenty of fiber as constipation or straining can increase the vein pressure in your legs.  Foods with Vitamin C and flavonoids can help to strengthen the cell membranes in your blood vessels.

Summer is coming and so are the warm-weather fashions.  You still have time to get those legs in shape to show off for summer if you start soon.