Prevention of varicose veins in the legs: what is important to know

varicose veins in the legs

One of the problems of many women and about 15% of men are varicose veins in the legs. In this disease, the vessels in the legs (veins) that return blood rich in carbon dioxide and waste products of metabolism are deformed, dilated, lose their tone and appear under the skin.

In addition to cosmetic defects, changes in the structure of the veins and impaired blood circulation lead to discomfort in the legs and even to pain, swelling and a feeling of heaviness. Although there are various medical tools and procedures that help with treatment, it is important from the very beginning, as soon as the first signs of varicose veins appear, to get involved in prevention - this will help avoid pain, swelling, tired legs, externalcosmetic defects.

What's the problem?

Varicose veins, commonly called varicose veins, are serious changes in the venous wall, its weakness, excessive stretching, which causes dark blue or purple twisted swollen veins to appear under the skin. In the initial stage, small "stars" of dilated capillaries, small gums and then larger ones may appear.

The veins have a special structure: in addition to the elastic wall, they also have small valves (pockets) that do not allow blood to flow in the opposite direction. Varicose veins form when the valves on the walls of the veins weaken, stretch, deform and do not close completely. Excessive stretching of the walls and defects of the valves eventually lead to the fact that the blood flows worse through the vessels, its movement slows down and even stops. First small veins appear in the form of "stars" or cobwebs, and then thicker and denser varicose veins appear.

Other symptoms of varicose veins can manifest as:

  • calf burning, throbbing sensation;
  • discomfort in the legs, feeling of heaviness or pain;
  • muscle spasms, spasms more noticeable at night;
  • swelling of the legs and ankles;
  • Dry or itchy, pale skin that looks thinner than healthy skin

If there is a tendency to varicose veins or the first symptoms appear, there are a number of procedures that eliminate discomfort and pain in the legs, help improve blood circulation and tone the veins.

Exercise and physical activity

swimming as a prevention of varicose veins

Regular exercise improves blood circulation in the legs. Muscle contraction helps push out the blood that has accumulated in the veins. Exercise also helps lower blood pressure, which is another negative factor that contributes to varicose veins.

Low-intensity exercise helps contract the calf muscles. They work without unnecessary stress.

Effective low-impact exercises include:

  • swimming;
  • walking;
  • cycling;
  • yoga.

Compression socks and tights

Compression stockings are available at most pharmacies and orthopedic stores. They distribute pressure on the legs, pressing on the walls of the veins from the outside. It helps move blood to the heart and relieve blood clots in the lower extremities. The study found that people who used knee-length compression stockings maintained a pressure between 18 and 21 mmHg. within a week noted a reduction in pain and discomfort associated with varicose veins. It is important to choose socks and tights with a doctor or salon specialist so as not to confuse the degree of compression.

Plant extracts

Studies show that horse chestnut extract can help relieve leg pain, heaviness and itchy skin in people with chronic venous insufficiency (one of the main causes of varicose veins).

A review from a study reports that sea pine extract and broom extract can reduce leg swelling or edema, which is often associated with varicose veins.

Plant extracts and essential oils must be diluted before application to the skin or use in an aromatherapy diffuser.

Changes in diet

diet for varicose veins

Salty or sodium-rich foods contribute to swelling, including in the feet and ankles, so reducing salty foods can minimize water retention. Foods high in potassium such as almonds and pistachios help prevent and treat varicose veins by reducing water retention in the body. This group includes:

  • almonds and pistachios;
  • lentils and white beans;
  • potatoes;
  • leafy vegetables;
  • Some species of fish, such as salmon and tuna.

Dietary fiber helps maintain bowel function and prevents constipation. This can be important as stress can damage the valves or lead to blockage of blood in the veins. High fiber foods include:

  • nuts, seeds and legumes;
  • oats, wheat and flaxseed;
  • whole grains.

Overweight people are more likely to suffer from varicose veins, so losing extra pounds can reduce the pressure on the veins, reduce swelling and discomfort.

Flavonoids in food

Adding flavonoid-containing foods to your diet also helps reduce the risk of varicose veins. Flavonoids, being biologically active substances, improve blood circulation, maintain even blood flow and reduce the likelihood of blood accumulation in the veins. They also help lower blood pressure in the arteries and relax the blood vessels, reducing stress on the veins and reducing the risk of varicose veins.

Foods that contain flavonoids include:

  • vegetables: green onions, peppers, spinach and broccoli;
  • Citrus fruits and grapes, cherries, apples and blueberries;
  • cocoa;
  • garlic.

Herbal medicines

Some herbal preparations help to tone the veins and reduce their deformation. It is believed that taking grape seed extract can reduce leg swelling and other symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, although there is currently little evidence of its effectiveness. If you are taking medicines to thin the blood, you should avoid taking grape seed extract as a dietary supplement, as it may interact with the medicines and increase the risk of bleeding.

Choosing the right clothes

choice of clothes for varicose veins

Wearing tight, tight and synthetic clothing can restrict blood flow to your legs. Wearing loose, breathable clothing that does not restrict the blood supply to the lower body improves blood flow through the veins and reduces valve deformity.

It is also forbidden to wear tight and narrow shoes. Shoes with narrow toes put pressure on blood vessels and cause pain. It is recommended to choose shoes with orthopedic insoles.

Wearing shoes with low heels or a comfortable, stable sole instead of high heels can also help relieve the pain of varicose veins in the legs.

You need to lift your legs more often

Periodic lifting of the legs upwards, ideally to the same height as the heart or higher, helps to improve blood circulation. This reduces the pressure in the veins of the legs, and gravity helps the blood to flow back to the heart smoothly. You should try to lift your legs if you intend to sit for long periods of time, such as when working or resting.


Gently massaging your legs, feet and thighs can hold blood in your veins. You can use gentle massage oils or moisturizer for optimal results. However, it is extremely important to avoid putting pressure directly on the veins, as this can damage the fragile tissue. No less useful massage with jets of water in the shower, including contrast.

Constant motion

Avoid sitting for long periods of time. If you have to sit for a long time at work, you should try to get up and move, or at least change your position often so that the blood flows completely through the veins of your legs.

Avoid sitting cross-legged, as this can further restrict blood flow to the legs and feet and worsen circulatory problems.

Procedures for the treatment of varicose veins

treatment of varicose veins

If preventive measures at home have not improved the condition of your veins, severe discomfort, pain and swelling occur, it is necessary to remove varicose veins medical treatment.

The doctor may prescribe the following:

  • Endothermic ablationThis is a procedure in which heat is applied to seal the affected veins;
  • Outpatient PhlebectomyThe doctor pierces the skin and removes the varicose veins through small incisions. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia, there are practically no scars
  • Sclerotherapy.This procedure uses a special foam to close the damaged veins. Blood will flow through the bypass venous system;
  • Ligation and removalIn this procedure, varicose veins are surgically removed;
  • Laser surgery.Intense flashes of light are directed at the vein, leading to fading;
  • Endoscopic surgery.During this operation, a small video camera is inserted into the leg to help the surgeon see better what is happening to the veins. The veins are removed through several small incisions.

Future forecasts

Varicose veins cause discomfort and cosmetic defects. Preventing varicose veins at home is possible, and diet and lifestyle changes can reduce unpleasant symptoms. But as the disease progresses, it is necessary to seek medical help to remove visible defects and heal the veins themselves.