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 is varicose veins in the legs. In this disease, the vessels in the legs (veins), which return blood rich in carbon dioxide and waste products of metabolism, become deformed, dilated, lose their tone and appear under the skin.

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

What is the problem?

Varicose veins, usually called varicose veins, are severe changes in the venous wall, its weakness, excessive stretching, due to which dark blue or purple twisted swollen veins appear under the skin. At the initial stage, small "stars" from dilated capillaries, small wreaths, and then larger ones may appear.

Veins have a special structure: in addition to the elastic wall, they also have small valves (pockets) that prevent blood from flowing 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 valve defects ultimately 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 spider legs, and then thicker twisted veins appear.

Other symptoms of varicose veins may manifest as:

  • burning in calf, throbbing sensation;
  • discomfort in the legs, feeling of heaviness or soreness;
  • muscle spasms, cramps, more noticeable at night;
  • swelling of feet 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 the blood that has collected in the veins. Exercise also helps lower blood pressure, which is another negative factor that contributes to varicose veins.

Low intensity exercise helps in calf muscle contraction. They work without undue stress.

Effective, low impact exercises include:

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

Compression stockings and tights

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

Plant extracts

Research has shown that horse chestnut extract can help reduce leg pain, heaviness and itching of the skin in people with chronic venous insufficiency (one of the main causes of varicose veins).

A review study reported that sea pine extract and butcher's broom extract can reduce leg swelling or edema, which is often associated with varicose veins.

Plant extracts and essential oils should be diluted before being applied to the skin or used in an aromatherapy diffuser.

Diet changes

diet for varicose veins

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

  • almonds and pistachios;
  • lentils and white beans;
  • potato;
  • leafy vegetables;
  • some types of fish, such as salmon and tuna.

Fiber foods help maintain bowel function and prevent constipation. This can be important, as stress can damage valves or cause blood to clog 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 pressure on veins, reduce swelling and discomfort.

Flavonoids in food

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

Foods that contain flavonoids include:

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

Herbal remedies

Some herbal preparations help 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 drinking blood-thinning medications, you should avoid taking grape seed extract as a dietary supplement, as it can interact with the medication 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 in your legs. Wearing loose and breathable clothing that does not restrict the blood supply to the lower body improves blood flow through the veins and decreases valve deformation.

It is also forbidden to wear tight and tight 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 with a comfortable, stable sole instead of high heels can also help relieve the pain of varicose veins in the legs.

Need to raise legs more often

Periodically raising the legs upward, ideally to the same height as the heart, or higher, helps to improve circulation. This reduces pressure in the veins of the legs, and gravity helps the blood flow back to the heart smoothly. You should try to raise your legs if you are going to sit for a long time, such as when working or relaxing.


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

Constant motion

Avoid sitting for extended periods. If you have to sit at work for a long time, you need to strive to get up and move around, or at least often change position so that blood flows fully through the veins from the legs.

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

Treatment procedures for varicose veins

varicose veins treatment

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

The doctor may prescribe the following:

  • Endothermic ablation.This is a procedure in which heat is applied to seal the affected veins;
  • Ambulatory phlebectomyThe doctor pierces the skin and removes the varicose veins through small incisions. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia, practically no scars remain;
  • Sclerotherapy.This procedure uses a special foam to close damaged veins. Blood will flow through the bypass vein system;
  • Ligation and removal.In this procedure, varicose veins are surgically removed;
  • Laser operations.Intense bursts of light are directed at the vein, causing it to fade away;
  • Endoscopic Surgery.During this operation, a tiny 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 Predictions

Varicose veins cause discomfort and cosmetic defects. Prevention of varicose veins at home is possible, and diet and lifestyle changes can reduce unpleasant symptoms. But as the disease progresses, you need to seek medical help to eliminate visible defects and heal the veins themselves.