Running will do wonders for building up leg muscles, but some runners worry about whether repeatedly pounding the streets is creating varicose veins or make them worse, as many runners do exhibit noticeable lumpy and twisted veins.
As a runner, there are a couple of very simple reasons why you may be noticing varicose veins more. Firstly, it’s likely that you’re wearing shorts more often, baring your legs and having the opportunity to see any blemishes that you may otherwise have missed. Secondly, if you are losing weight and developing muscle, this may cause the varicose veins to appear more prominently than they did. Thirdly, if you run with others, you may have naturally noticed how your legs compare to those of other runners.
Actually, running in itself is unlikely to cause varicose veins. In fact, exercise is good for your veins, as it boosts circulation, pumping the blood faster back to the heart. However, your leg veins do have to work against gravity to push the blood from your legs to the heart. So if there are any deficiencies in the valves within your blood vessels, even though exercise boosts circulation, the pressure on weak valves will increase with greater blood flow, which is why varicose veins can look more swollen while you are running.
The main cause of varicose veins is hereditary.
Varicose Vein Prevention Advice
If you know they run in your family, there are a few things that could help you to avoid getting varicose veins too:
General Varicose Vein Avoidance Tips
- Weight management – making sure that you are not carrying excess weight relieves unnecessary strain on the veins in your legs. Keep a sensible diet and regular activity – running is great for this. You could also try swimming, walking, gym or other activities
- Don’t cross legs while sitting – this can restrict circulation
- Ankle rotations – these are great for boosting circulation in the legs. You can do them while sitting down and even under the desk, so there’s no excuse!
- Hydration – making sure you drink enough water, especially when active, helps your body to perform at its best
Varicose Vein Avoidance Tips for Runners
- Footwear – never run in trainers that do not have sufficient cushioning and support. Once trainers start to deteriorate, it puts added strain on your joints. Aches and pains can appear and injuries too. A general rule is to replace running shoes every 3-500 miles
- Compression socks/shorts – these can help circulation while running, especially longer socks to push blood away from the calves
- Stretching, warm up and cool down – start every run with a short walk to boost circulation and loosen everything off before you get going. After a run, ensure you stretch well to help the muscles and improve flexibility
- Softer running surfaces – the pavement or road can be quite an impact on your legs. Softer surfaces like grass or tracks might help to absorb some of the shock
- Put your feet up – whether it’s at the end of a run or the end of the day – elevating your feet helps the legs to recover
Running with Varicose Veins
Sadly there is no exercise which can make varicose veins better, but there is little evidence that running in particular will make your veins worse. If you are a keen runner, then the advice above should be considered. But it’s rarely advisable to stop being active, as exercise is an important way of helping to prevent vein problems from developing and reducing the risk of deterioration.
Once the varicose veins have started, the only real solution for getting rid of them is a medical treatment.
Cosmedics’ London Vein Centre treated the patient’s varicose veins using the latest techniques. The clinic offers a range of treatments so that Vascular Surgeon Mr Parameswaran Sridhar MBBS, FRCS can recommend or even combine the most appropriate solution.
- EVLA treatment from £1,650 – laser treatment to destroy the veins from the inside
- Tumescent Foam Sclerotherapy – Exclusive EVLA with Foam Sclerotherapy Combination
- ClariVein® treatment from £1,895 – a mechanical action combines with a special chemical to seal the vein
- Micro surgery from £500 – most often used alongside other treatments, physically removing the troublesome veins after laser/injections
- Foam sclerotherapy from £500 – a chemical injection which works to get rid of smaller varicose and larger thread veins
All treatments are available on a ‘walk in walk out’ day case basis with no overnight stay required, making it very appealing for busy patients with other commitments.
There are no waiting lists and scans are carried out on site in the first consultation to enable a fully informed discussion with the vascular surgeon. Treatment is fast and efficient.
London Vein Treatment Centre
Varicose & Thread Vein Treatment
Cosmedics Skin Clinics offer private treatment for thread veins and varicose veins at their London Vein Treatment Centre. They also offer varicose vein ultrasound scanning for proper diagnosis of any ‘underlying’ vein problems.
For more information or to book a consultation, please complete the form on this web page or call 020 7386 0464.