10 ways to help prevent varicose veins

Varicose veins are hereditary, but there are things you can do to prevent them from ever forming. You can also be at risk of these unsightly veins if you are overweight, injured, have limited movement or if you are pregnant. Varicose veins are simply veins that are swollen and twisted, and are visible just under the skin's surface. This issue is more likely to occur in the legs, and there are other problems that can occur as an extension of damage, including pain, skin ulcers and blood clots. As well as the excellent treatments we provide, we would also like to advise on the ways in which you can prevent them from developing or reduce the risk of them progressing from spider veins into varicose veins. 

Here are 10 helpful tips to help you prevent any problems with your veins:

1. Exercise regularly

Having good muscle tone in your legs means good circulation, as the muscle aids the veins in pumping deoxygenated blood to the heart. We recommend regular exercise to improve or maintain good muscle tone, including running or walking. Improved circulation through exercise can help to prevent worse development of existing varicose veins.

2. Maintain a healthy weight

By ensuring that you maintain a health weight you relieve pressure on your legs and reduce the risk of varicose veins, or worsening existing varicose veins. A person who is overweight is more at risk of developing varicose veins because of the pressure the body must exert on the veins.

3. Avoid wearing heels for long periods of time

Calf muscles with good muscle tone help the blood move through veins, which in turn prevents the pooling of blood that causes varicose veins. Wearing lower heeled shoes can help you develop increased muscle tone in your calves, which are one of common areas affected by varicose veins.

4. Eat a low-salt diet that is rich in high-fiber foods

Diets that are high in fibre, and include fresh fruit and vegetables will maintain your overall health and well-being, as well as preventing any swollen veins from appearing. Studies have showed a clear link between the development of varicose veins and poor diet, specifically low-fibre diets that cause constipation.

5. Elevate your legs when possible

There is scientifically proven evidence that encourages you to "put your feet up". This is most effective at the end of the day, and in raising your legs above your heart you aid your body in pumping blood from your legs, back to your heart. Any blood that has pooled in your lower legs is then pumped back to your heart, reducing the risk of varicose veins developing.

6. Do Not Smoke

Smoking is known to cause high blood pressure, which puts strain on your veins and is one of the main causes of vein issues. The health risks associated with smoking are also known to cause ‘lower limb venous insufficiency’, which can result in pooling of blood in the legs.

7. Avoid taking highly hormonal contraceptive pills

Estrogen or Progesterone are female-associated hormones used in birth control. It is recommended to avoid prolonged use of these, which can weaken the valves in your veins, that are essential in pumping blood from the legs back to the heart; a process called reoxygenation. Lower doses of these hormones are recommended to prevent any weakening of your circulatory system.

8. Wear compression socks

Compression socks provide a gentle continuous pressure to the leg, and this pressure helps the circulation of blood, as well as preventing swelling of the legs. Compression socks can also prevent the pooling of blood in the legs, that can lead to varicose veins. Compression socks are commonly used to prevent worsening of varicose veins, rather than prevention of varicose veins.

9. Wear sunscreen

Wearing sunblock protects your skin from harmful UV rays and also reduces your risk of varicose veins developing, in particular, spider veins. Spider veins are usually a pre-curser to varicose veins developing.

10. Avoid sitting and standing for long periods of time

Vary your position throughout the day to avoid sitting, or standing, for long periods of time. Sitting with legs crossed can restrict blood flow to the legs. Standing puts pressure on the valves in your veins, which must then work harder to pump blood back to the heart. Varying your position can also prevent spider veins from turning into varicose veins.