Swollen Legs: How To Manage Varicose Veins

December 5, 2020
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December 5, 2020 The Vein Institute

There’s nothing like an Australian summer season to get us visiting the beach, enjoying bushwalks or going out to enjoy the warm evening air. Even though many of us enjoy soaking up the rays, there is one thing that can often stand in the way. Swollen, veiny legs. For those who are suffering, here are some tips for summer legs: how to prevent swollen legs in the heat.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are common, affecting about a third of the population, with women being twice as likely to develop the vein disorder.

Some people experience no symptoms at all whilst others may experience all, or some, of the below. In general, vein pain is considered vague and dull rather than sharp or immediate. If you raise your legs and the pain goes away, this is an indication your pain is vein related.

  • Pain, itching or heaviness in the legs.
  • Burning, throbbing or muscle cramping.
  • Pain that intensified after prolonged sitting or standing.
  • Chronic swelling in the lower legs or ankles.

While warm summer weather is normally lovely, it can aggravate varicose veins and swollen legs, making them even worse. This happens as your body becomes warm and it tries to cool itself by dilating the vein walls, which intensifies varicose veins. The heat can also cause cramping and swelling symptoms to worsen, leading to significant pain.

While those with varicose veins may often feel like summer is the time to hide away their legs and wait for winter to come around, thankfully that needn’t be the case. Here are a few tips to reduce and manage the symptoms of varicose veins and to help you get out and enjoy the warm weather!

Summer legs: how to manage varicose veins in the heat

Keep cool

Keep the legs cool during hotter days by taking a swim in some cool water, visit the library or your local shopping centre to bask in the air-con, or enjoy a relaxing nap in a darker room with the curtains drawn to keep your body temperature low.

Wear the right shoes

Footwear has a distinct effect on the circulation in your legs. High heels, in particular, stop your calves from moving properly and inhibit blood flow, worsening swelling and vein issues. Wearing properly fitting shoes, or fitting your shoes with an insole, will significantly improve

Get physical

Regular exercise and physical activity are one of the best ways to manage varicose veins, swelling as well as a wide range of other health issues. Doing this in the summer can be tricky with the sun blaring down and heating you up, but there are a few great ways to keep those muscles moving and stay cool

Swimming, especially before 11 am or after 3 pm to avoid the sun’s peak heat.

Morning and evening walks when the sun isn’t out, or just starting to rise. Also going for a walk in the early morning at your local shopping centre is a great way to stay out of the sun and keep cool.

Yoga and pilates, where you’re not having to go outside or raise your body temperature.

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.

Compression

Wearing compression stockings is one of the best ways to manage swollen legs and varicose veins on a day to day basis. Bauerfeind’s range of compression stockings are made from a breathable and comfortable fabric that stays cool, so you can wear them in summer, winter or any other time of year.

In particular, their VenoTrain Cocoon has a special moisturising weave to keep the skin from drying out, so it stays cool and hydrated in the summer heat.

Slip, slop, slap

Using sunscreen whenever you go out in the summer sun is crucial for protecting your body against a range of health issues, and varicose veins are particularly sensitive to UV rays. Learn more: How the sun affects varicose veins. 

Hydration

Keeping hydrated is already an important habit in summer, but especially so for your vein health. Drink water regularly, especially in the middle of the day, when you’re exercising or out in the sun.

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 varicose vein 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

To book a consultation and discuss our treatment program, call  1300 535 017 or make an enquiry via the Contact Us page.