Will Varicose Veins Get Worse If I Exercise?

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Varicose veins (also called "spider veins" when they are milder) are vascular as well as aesthetic issues that should be handled by a medical professional with specialized expertise. At Lynch Vein & Aesthetics in Peoria, AZ, board-certified general surgeon Dr. Matthew Lynch offers comprehensive vein treatments and advice on reducing the appearance of spider and varicose veins.

Below, we'll look at what varicose veins are and how certain activities such as exercise affect their appearance.

What are varicose and spider veins?

Any vein close to the skin's surface is generally referred to as a spider vein. But when the veins enlarge, bulge, and twist, they're typically referred to as varicose veins. For some patients, these are simply an aesthetic issue, while for others, they may be signs of a serious medical issue.

Sometimes, our veins appear through our skin and even bulge out in areas that are hard to cover up, such as the face and legs. While any vascular issues should be addressed first, there are aesthetic treatments for spider and varicose veins that can help restore your confidence.

Patients at Lynch Vein & Aesthetics will first get a vascular assessment to diagnose any medical issues such as deep vein thrombosis. Dr. Lynch will ask about your medical history and medications and examine your veins. This may include a venous ultrasound.

What causes varicose and spider veins?

Spider and varicose veins result from the inability of one-way valves to close properly. This leads to blood pooling and increased pressure in your veins, even causing them to stretch and appear visible through your skin. Not only can veins be distracting, but this can lead to other problems such as swelling and cramping.

Can exercise help with varicose veins?

Exercise is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle and, in many cases, can reduce your risk of developing varicose veins. Moderate exercise can help spider and varicose veins look better by improving blood flow and strengthening calf muscles, so it's easier for blood to reach your heart.

When you exercise, your muscles contract, helping to circulate blood around the body and avoid blood pooling.

The best exercises for varicose veins are low-impact and include:

  • Walking

  • Swimming

  • Cycling

  • Calf and thigh lifts

Can exercise make varicose veins look worse?

It's important to talk to a specialist before doing vigorous exercise if you have spider or varicose veins.

Even though exercise is beneficial for varicose veins, not all exercises are created equal; some may worsen varicose veins. Some activities can put more pressure on the legs. But there are ways to partake in exercises that reduce your risk of increasing the appearance of veins.

Running can put pressure on leg veins. Compression garments and running on softer surfaces can reduce some of the risks.

Activities that put pressure on veins between the heart and legs can affect the ability of blood to flow back to the heart. These include weightlifting, crunches, sit-ups, and yoga poses.

Not everyone will be affected the same way by exercise, and there are postures and precautions that ensure most exercises are safe.

Treat varicose veins in Peoria, AZ

If you're interested in learning more about how exercise can help with varicose veins and help prevent veins in your legs from becoming visible and enlarged, it's time to consult a specialist.

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Matthew Lynch at Lynch Vein & Aesthetics in Peoria, AZ to learn more.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.