When you look at your legs, do you see gnarled, enlarged veins? Or, do you see red or blue, short, jagged lines that look like spider webs? Regrettably, you probably have varicose veins and/or spider veins. Varicose veins affect half of all women – and men – 50 years and older. They can be unsightly and painful at times. Fortunately, self-care treatments are available to reduce any pain and discomfort from varicose veins.
Varicose Veins Overview
Varicose veins are enlarged, dilated veins that become overfilled with blood. They can be red, blue, or flesh colored. They can look like they’re twisted and bulging. For some people, varicose veins can painful.
Any vein can become varicose. However, veins in the legs and feet are more commonly affected. That’s because standing and walking increases the pressure in the veins of your legs and feet.
Spider veins are just smaller versions of varicose veins. However, they form closer to the surface of your skin. But they look like tree branches or spider webs – hence the name.
Causes of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are caused by weak or damaged valves in your veins. Your heart pumps oxygen and nutrient rich blood through your arteries to the rest of your body. Your veins return the blood from your body back to your heart to be recirculated. However, the veins in your legs must work against gravity to pump your blood back to your heart. To do this, your leg muscles contract to pump blood upward. Tiny valves in your legs open to let the blood flow through, but then they close to keep blood from flowing backward. When these valves weaken, blood can leak back and collect into the veins. Eventually, the pooled blood enlarges the veins, making them varicose.
Like varicose veins, spider veins can also be caused by a backup of blood. However, they can additionally be caused by sun exposure, injuries, and/or hormone changes.
Risk Factors of Varicose Veins
Some risk factors that can contribute to the development of varicose veins include:
- Age – As you get older, your valves can stretch and lose elasticity. Wear and tear on the valves can cause them to weaken, which enables blood to collect in the veins instead of flowing to your heart.
- Gender – Women are more likely to develop varicose veins. Hormone changes can cause vein walls to relax.
- Genetics – If someone in your family has had varicose veins, you’re more likely to get them, too.
- Obesity – Being overweight puts added pressure on your veins.
- Standing or sitting for long periods of time – When you remain in the same position for extended periods, your blood doesn’t flow as well as it should.
Treatment of Varicose Veins
There are several self-care treatments you can do to ease your pain and keep your varicose veins from getting worse. Refer to the infographic below.
If your varicose veins don’t improve with self-care, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove or close off the veins. Some common surgical procedures include sclerotherapy, foam sclerotherapy, surface laser treatments, catheter-assisted procedures that use radiofrequency or laser energy, ambulatory phlebectomy, endoscopic vein surgery, and surgical ligation and stripping. If you require surgery, talk to your doctor about which procedure is best for your situation.
Reduce Leg Stress and Pain with ezWalker® Custom Orthotics
While custom orthotics can’t prevent varicose veins, especially if they run your family, our ezWalker® Performance Custom Orthotics can help reduce the risks associated with prolonged standing. Our custom-made orthotics help support the bones and muscles in your feet while realigning them into a proper bio-mechanical position. If you stand for long periods of time for your job, ezWalker® Custom Orthotics can help improve your posture, relieve stress on your joints, improve your foot function, and reduce pain.
WalkEZStore Custom Orthotics are ultra thin and ¾ length, so they will fit into any shoe. And you can easily transfer them from one pair of shoes to another. If you suffer from on-the-job foot fatigue and pain, order your pair of ezWalker® Performance Custom Orthotics today. Your feet will thank you.
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.®
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Cover photo credit: 123RF / zlikovec