Tips to Reduce Leg Swelling in the Heat

January 21, 2021 The Vein Institute

Summer can be great for enjoying slow days by the pool, enjoying the air-con and a cold drink, or feeling a cooling breeze on an afternoon walk. However, hot days aren’t all cool feelings and easy-going times. Many people struggle with frustrating effects from the heat, especially swollen legs. While this can be caused by a range of issues, varicose veins can be one of the main culprits.

Managing swelling in legs can be arduous and difficult at the best of times, but in the middle of a hot day, the last thing you want is to have to put in even more energy and time and end up feeling exhausted before you’ve gotten anything done. If you’re looking for relief this summer; here are our 4 tips to protect your legs from the heat this summer!

Firstly, how is swelling linked to varicose veins?

Varicose veins develop when the veins are no longer able to pump blood up the legs sufficiently, this usually happens because the veins are weak and unable to create adequate pressure, causing blood to reflux.

When reflux occurs, it often leads to bulging veins and spider veins in the legs.

A similar thing happens with oedema, as the blood flows down into the feet and ankles, but the smallest of the blood vessels, your capillaries, leak fluid out into the surrounding tissue. This happens due to the vein walls being too weak to keep the blood flowing.

While varicose veins don’t directly cause swelling, it’s not unusual for underlying issues that aggravate veins to then cause swelling due to oedema.

If you find that the swelling in your legs is chronic and you have varicose veins, it’s worth talking to your doctor about it as it can be reversed.

How to reduce leg swelling in the heat

1. Wear compression stockings

Medical-grade compression stockings are one of the best ways to manage swelling and varicose vein symptoms on a day to day basis.

Lightweight breathable stockings that are suitable for all-day wear are ideal, and if you’re looking for something to keep you cool, manage swelling and stop skin getting dry, then the VenoTrain Cocoon is for you. With a slow release moisturiser that keeps the skin cool and hydrated, it’s perfect for hot summer days.

VenoTrain-black-thigh-high

2. The right footwear

The shoes you wear have a distinct effect on the flow of blood in your legs. Wearing high heels, restrictive business shoes and anything with tight straps can cause the veins in your ankles and lower calves to be constricted, and slow the blood flow, causing a swelling in the legs.

Wear roomier shoes that have space for the toes and stable arch support to help with swelling. Supportive sandals, joggers and roomy sandshoes are great here.

3. Maintain the temperature

When your body becomes too hot, it pushes more blood into the veins closer to the surface to cool down. When you’ve got varicose veins or other circulation issues, this can lead to swelling in the lower legs very quickly. Keeping your legs cool will help a lot with the swelling, here are some tips:

  • Seek out air-conditioned places like shopping centres, libraries or even the local café.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing that lets your skin breathe properly.
  • Take a dip in a swimming pool or lake nearby, or have a cool shower if it’s really hot.
  • Keep hydrated to prevent the skin drying out and heating up.

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.

4. Exercise and stretching

While it may seem counter-intuitive, exercising during the heat is a great way to not only reduce swelling but prevent it from happening in the first place. However, exercising on a hot day can be tiresome, so we’ve suggested a few ways to get moving but stay cool.

Doing a few laps in the swimming pool is a great way to get the muscles moving without overheating, and you can relax afterwards and enjoy the water.

Yoga in the morning is a great way to start the day and get the blood moving around the body. It’s easy to do in even a small space, so a morning routine in a cooler room in the house is simple.

Early morning or later evening walks are great, as the day is at its coolest. There are also fewer people around so you can enjoy your walk in peace.

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 981 402. Or, make an enquiry via the Contact Us page.