At Premier Vein Clinics of Knoxville, many patients with varicose veins want to know how they can prevent more veins from developing, or how they can prevent the ones they have from getting worse.

The first step to an action plan for preventing or managing varicose veins is to understand the common risk factors that increase your likelihood of developing varicose veins.

  • Heredity plays a big role—if your direct family members have varicose veins, odds are you may as well.
  • Age matters because veins and vein valves can wear and tear over time.
  • Obesity increases the pressure on your veins, which may lead to an increased chance of developing varicose veins.
  • Your lifestyle or occupation may pose a risk—standing or sitting for hours at a time can restrict blood flow.

If you have any of the risks mentioned above, take action with the following steps to be proactive in preventing or managing your varicose veins.

Wear compression stockings.

Compression stockings are one of your first lines of defense against varicose veins for both men and women. Lightweight graduated compression hosiery has been proven to reduce symptoms such as discomfort, swelling, fatigue and aching.

Compression stockings work by applying pressure on your veins with the tightest compression around your ankles and gradually reducing tension up your legs all the way to your thigh. The purpose is to assist in directing blood flow from your feet back up your legs to your heart and avoid pooling of blood in the veins. You can purchase compression stockings at Premier Vein Clinics, a medical supply store, drug store or online, but it is helpful to talk with a physician first about your specific needs so you are wearing them appropriately. They are available in two lengths, knee and thigh, and come in three degrees of compression. Stockings should be put on in the morning, before any swelling builds up in the legs over the course of the day.

Vary Standing & Sitting

Long periods of sitting or standing adds to gravity’s pull and can contribute to poor blood flow from the legs towards the heart. A research study appearing in the IOSR Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences in 2013 indicated that working posture was one of the most significant risk factors of varicose veins, with prolonged standing occupations posing the greatest risk.

Elevating the legs above heart level for ten to twenty minutes a day can give your circulatory system a boost. If you’re sitting most of the day, prop your feet on a step stool if possible. Even moving your legs slightly helps keep the blood flowing.

If you’re standing most of the day, try to do calf raises by standing on your tiptoes from time to time, or work in five to ten squats when you have the chance.

Exercise & Watch Your Weight

There’s no getting around it—your legs bear the burden of supporting your body. If you are overweight, you’re putting more pressure on the veins in your legs to efficiently pump blood against the pull of gravity. Make a plan to lose weight by eating well and exercising more. The benefits of exercise are twofold—it can help you keep excess weight off and also helps keep  blood circulating in you legs. Walking or swimming are great options.

If you are concerned about developing varicose veins, or are suffering from pain or swelling in your legs, it may be time to do something about it. Schedule a consultation with one of the board certified vascular surgeons at Premier Vein Clinics to discuss your options for keeping your legs healthy and free of varicose veins.