One of the biggest complaints about varicose veins is the pain often associated with it. Varicose veins are formed when vein valves are no longer able to push blood upward through the leg, against the flow of gravity. As a result, blood pools in the vein and causes it to swell. Dark, bulging veins may be visible just under the surface of the skin. Whether or not there are visible signs, you may experience heaviness, itchiness, fatigue, or pain in your lower leg. The only way to fully treat the vein is by seeing a specialist, like our team of the best vascular surgeons in Orlando at Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center. In the meantime, there are a variety of options for managing pain levels.
Elevate Your Legs
Who doesn’t like relaxing? Sometimes, kicking back with your feet up can be just what you need at the end of the day to take care of your veins. A long day on your feet or sitting in a chair can cause already-strained veins to swell even further. By elevating your legs, you give the pooled blood a chance to drain. This can relieve some of the swelling and pain caused by varicose veins. Try placing your feet on a table or lie down and prop up your legs on a few pillows. You can also lie down and put your legs against a wall to elevate them. No matter which method is best for you, we recommend holding the position for at least 15 minutes.
Embrace Cold Water
Cold water, such as a cool swimming pool on a hot Florida day, is great for relieving swelling — including the swelling caused by varicose veins! Opt for cold water over hot water when bathing. This can help shrink the blood vessels and minimize swelling. On the flip side, it’s also important to avoid hot water. Heat can have the opposite effect on your veins, causing them to swell even more. If you’ve noticed your veins feel worse after a hot shower, try cooler water instead.
Less Salt, More Potassium
A diet high in salt can cause you to retain water, which can put excess pressure on stressed veins. Cutting down salt can minimize water retention. Keep in mind that most of our salt doesn’t come from the salt shaker. It’s often hidden in processed foods. Read labels to ensure you’re not unknowingly maxing your salt intake. Even if a package claims its contents are low-sodium, the label may tell a different story.
Upping your potassium intake can also be an effective way to minimize water retention. Plenty of tasty foods can give you a healthy potassium boost. Try picking up almonds, lentils, potatoes, and leafy vegetables during your next grocery run to add more potassium to your diet.
Wear Compression Socks
Compression legwear gradually applies pressure to the leg, with the most pressure near the ankle. This helps minimize pain and swelling associated with varicose veins by gently circulating pooled blood back up the leg. Compression stockings come in various sizes and levels of compression, so it’s best to consult a specialist about this legwear to make sure you’re getting the size that will be most beneficial for your vein health.
Eat More Flavonoids
Flavonoids can improve circulation, leading to lower blood pressure and more relaxed blood vessels. Foods high in flavonoids include vegetables like onions, bell peppers, spinach, and broccoli. There are also plenty of tasty fruits high in flavonoids. Try picking up citrus fruits, grapes, cherries, apples, or blueberries. Central Florida Vein and Vascular sells a supplement called “Lymphatic Formula” which supports healthy lymphatic function because it contains the micronized purified flavonoid fraction (MPFF) of Diosmin and Hesperidin as well as Selenium and Vitamin D. This supplement is especially important for patients with lymphedema and lipedema.
Many jobs require employees to either stand or sit for long periods of time. This can be troublesome for healthy circulation and puts a lot of stress on the veins in the lower leg. Regularly taking breaks to walk or stretch during the day can promote healthy circulation. Frequent low-impact exercises like walking or swimming can also help strengthen the calves and lead to better circulation. You don’t need an extensive workout routine — fitting in a 30-minute walk or swim daily can be beneficial for your veins.
Pick Comfortable Clothes
Tight clothing and certain shoes can constrict blood flow. This isn’t good for anyone but is especially problematic when you’re already experiencing pain from varicose veins. Instead, choose loose-fitting clothing and comfortable shoes. You’ll get an added bonus if your clothing options keep you cool in hot temperatures, as warm weather can also lead to unwanted leg pain.
Try Certain Plant Extracts
There are specific extracts that have been shown to reduce swelling and may relieve some of the pain from varicose veins. Horse chestnut extract can reduce pain, heaviness, and itching for some individuals, while others may benefit from sea pine extract and butcher’s broom extract. Remember that, if these are used in essential oil form, they should be diluted before applying to the painful area.
Seek Treatment from a Vein Specialist
At the end of the day, these steps can help you manage your varicose vein pain, but only treatment from a specialist can get rid of it. Treatment itself is minimally invasive and done in-house by a specialist, which minimizes stress on both your life and your body. After treatment, you’ll be able to enjoy legs without visible, painful varicose veins. We still recommend keeping these tips in mind even after treatment, as many of these habits can help keep your veins healthy and happy.
Looking to take the first step toward pain-free legs? Our team of the best vascular surgeons in Orlando at Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center is here to help. Our team has over 45 years of experience in vein care, and we understand that treatment isn’t one-size-fits-all. During an initial consultation, we will work with you to assess the current state of your vein health, address your questions and concerns, and create a treatment plan that will work best for you and your veins. You can schedule a consultation to see us at one of our three locations (The Villages, Hunters Creek/The Loop, and Ocoee/Health Central) by calling 407-545-3385 or 352-658-5547 today.