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Does wearing high heels cause varicose veins?

High heels – friend or foe? Does wearing high heels day in and day out increase the risk of forming varicose veins?

Wearing high heels contributes to poor posture and can cause not only ankle pain in some people, but also joint pain in your neck and back.

Because a rich network of veins exists in your foot wearing high heels can also negatively affect your “foot pump”.  We currently know that people with flat feet have an increased risk of developing varicose veins and so it is likely that added pressure on your feet is also likely to contribute to varicose vein disease. So if you have the other contributing risk factors for varicose veins than you may want to consider how often you are wearing those six-inch stilettos!

Why does wearing high heels cause varicose veins?

Wearing high heels minimises the full range of motion of the foot and ankle when walking. Normally when you walk with a full range of motion (i.e. wearing flats) your calf muscle contracts and shoots the blood up through your veins towards the heart and lungs.

However, when you wear high heels, this movement is restricted as you are standing on your toes which keep the calf muscle contracted. As a result, your calf muscle does not pump the blood back through your veins as it should. This lost efficiency can cause the pooling of venous blood in the leg.

If you already have visible signs of varicose veins or other risk factors, then we highly recommend that you consider taking a break from your Jimmy Choos and grabbing a cute pair of flats instead.

What are the contributing risk factors for varicose veins?

Other than wearing your heels too often the other risk factors which can lead to varicose veins in people include;

  • Genetics. Unfortunately, if both of your parents have varicose veins, there is a 70% chance of you inheriting venous disease

  • Gender. Women tend to be more at risk of developing varicose veins

  • Pregnancy. Hormonal changes, pressure from the uterus, and increased blood volume make varicose veins common during pregnancy.

  • Job: Working in a job that requires you to stand for long periods of time

  • Obesity. If you are overweight additional pressure is placed on the venous system


If you are worried about your varicose veins, we recommend that you see a vein specialist and have a vein assessment completed.

Here at The Vein Institute, we assess our patients using the latest in technology and provide them with a program of non-surgical treatment to remove varicose veins.

For more information and discuss your options for treatment contact the team at The Vein Institute on 1300 535 017.



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The Vein Institute,

227 Elizabeth street, ground floor, Corner of Elizabeth and Bathurst street, Sydney, NSW, 2000


Varicose veins are leg veins which do not pump blood effectively back to the heart and can be often seen as bulging veins just underneath your skin on either leg. These varicose veins have valves in them which are not working effectively so that blood which is meant to be pushed towards the heart, leaks downwards toward the legs. There are other leg veins which are still working, so blood does eventually arrive through other routes to your heart. However, varicose veins do exert added pressure on your circulatory system. Read More.

Endovenous Laser Ablation is a Varicose Veins Laser Treatment performed in our clinic under local anaesthetic. This new procedure is an excellent treatment option for most patients with varicose veins and is considered slightly more effective than surgery but without the need for hospitalization. Read More.

This is an endovenous treatment (meaning treating the vein on the inside). It is generally accepted to be associated with less pain and bruising than endovenous laser ablation. It is a “gold standard” form of treatment for large varicose leg veins treatment as the procedure requires no hospitalization or time of work yet is at least as effective as surgery. Read More.

Venaseal™ or ‘superglue’ treatment by Sapheon is the latest surgery free procedure that uses a medical adhesive to safely and effectively treat varicose veins. Unlike other treatments, Venaseal™ does not require tumescent local anaesthetic around the vein, so there is usually only one local anaesthetic injection. The Venaseal™ non surgical treatment procedure also eliminates the use of heat (or thermal energy) so there is virtually no risk of nerve or skin injury or any major reaction to the anaesthetic. Read More.

Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy allows our doctors to visually guide and monitor a needle to the exact source of the incompetent vein (valve) to be injected. By using ultrasound we can treat more quickly and safely larger and deeper veins that once required more invasive surgical treatment. Foam sclerotherapy is the new form of delivering the sclerosing agent that allows us to treat larger varicose veins that might be unsuccessfully treated with conventional sclerotherapy. The foam solution has the consistency of ‘shaving cream’, which improves treatment in two distinct ways. Read More.

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