Sitting All Day? Tips to prevent varicose veins

April 26, 2021 Dr Zil Yassine

It’s not unusual for us to be sitting all day, in fact, studies show that over 50 per cent of Australians sit for the majority of their workday. While those who are lucky enough to have a comfy chair might not see it as too bad, extended periods of inactivity can lead to a range of health issues, including excess weight, back pain and vein disease. For those who are sitting all day, here are some tips to prevent varicose veins.

Why do varicose veins develop?

Varicose veins occur when the vein valves become weak and are unable to efficiently circulate blood, causes it to pool and form bulging, twisted vessels. This process is exacerbated by poor blood flow, most often due to factors like excessive weight, smoking, poor diet and low activity.

In particular, long periods of low activity will have an adverse effect on varicose veins because of the way your body pumps blood through the legs.

Learn more: Does crossing your legs cause varicose veins?


How sitting all day impacts the veins

When we walk our calf muscles contract, flex and apply pressure to the main blood vessel located in our lower leg. Each step naturally helps the ‘pump’ effect and assists with effective blood circulation back up to the heart. Therefore, that walking action is crucial to the healthy and consistent blood flow from the heart to the legs and feet.

When you are inactive for an extended period of time, the muscles aren’t moving and the veins have to do all the work. For those sitting at their desks all day, this can lead to reduced blood flow, aggravating any existing varicose veins and turning those one or two small veins showing on the leg into longer twisted veins that bulge through the skin.

Learn more: Varicose veins in feet and ankles

Sitting all day? Tips to prevent varicose veins

The conundrum here is a tricky one. You need to work to pay the bills and enjoy life, but you also need to take care of your body. Fortunately, there are things that can be done to increase blood flow and take care of your veins while you’re working a desk.

1. Micro exercises

The calf pump in your veins doesn’t need a lot to get going, which is good news. If you stand up from your desk every 20-30 minutes and take a couple of minutes to just walk around, do some simple calf raises or steps, you can get that muscle pumping and prevent the blood from pooling.

2. Compression

Medical grade compression socks are perfect for this issue. By using a graduated weave that boosts the circulation, they can help to compensate for a lack of movement and boost the blood-flow. The Vein Institute sells a range of these compression socks suitable for any workplace, with a range of options in colour and open or closed toe, as well as a comfortable but effective compression so they’re easy to put on and wear all day.

Diagram of a normal functioning vein with healthy vein valves, a varicose vein with damaged vein valves and then an image of how the varicose vein looks when compressed by wearing medical-grade compression stockings.

3. Wearing the right footwear

Many women in offices tend to wear high heels to work. While these might look good, they have a detrimental effect on your veins. When the calves are in a tensed position, they stop the muscle from being able to move and blood flow is restricted.

Where possible, wear a lower heel and something with arch support for any extended periods of time. Speak to a podiatrist to see what options there are to support the foot while still looking good.

Want more tips? Read our post about Staying healthy while working from home.

Seek expert advice

The doctors at The Vein Institute specialise in varicose vein treatment. We offer patients a comprehensive program using non-surgical laser treatment techniques. You can learn more in our Definitive Guide to Varicose Vein Treatment.

The benefits of non-surgical treatment are:

  • Walk-in walk-out treatment
  • 98% success rate
  • Extremely effective
  • Can be performed at a clinic (no hospitalisation)
  • No general anaesthetic
  • Medicare rebates apply
  • No downtime or time away from work

Call us at 13 VEINS (that’s 13 83467), or fill out our booking request form.