Varicose veins on your feet can be particularly uncomfortable. Here’s how to get relief.
Swollen veins on your feet are caused by the same breakdown in the venous system that leads to varicose veins on the legs. Every day, our arteries and veins transport oxygenated blood back and forth from the heart. But the veins in the legs and feet have the hardest job because they grapple with the greatest force of gravity. These lower extremities bear the full brunt of the downward pressure as they pump blood back to the heart.
Over time, the tiny valves responsible for pushing blood upward may become overwhelmed by gravity and allow blood to accumulate in the veins. This causes the vein walls to bulge up from under the skin, leading to the swollen appearance of varicose veins. Luckily, varicose veins in the feet can be prevented and treated in much the same way as varicose veins in the legs.
At-Home Treatment and Prevention
Varicose veins in the legs and feet can be caused by a number of factors. Obesity, hormonal changes during pregnancy, lack of exercise, staying immobile for extended periods of time, and a genetic predisposition all contribute to their development. But there are steps you can take to prevent varicose veins, reduce the troublesome symptoms, and remedy the condition.
Conservative, at-home measures include:
- Stay Active. The last thing you want to when your feet ache is exercise. But gentle exercises like walking and yoga activate the calf muscles, which in turn keep the blood pumping. When your calf muscles are strong, they work in tandem with the veins to drive blood to the heart. Exercising also helps maintain a healthy weight, which lessens the stress on the veins.
- Elevate Your Legs. Combat the downward effect of gravity on your feet by raising your legs above your heart a few times each day. Propping your legs up on a pillow prompts the blood to rush in the right direction rather than pooling in the veins.
- Ditch the High Heels. Slipping on high heels only adds extra pressure to already stressed foot veins. A better choice are flat-heeled shoes that work the calf muscles when you walk.
- Stock Up on Compression Stockings. Tight elastic compression stockings gently constrict the calf muscles and the veins, providing extra support as the valves pump blood through the legs. The garments are available in drugstores or by prescription.
Visiting a Vein Specialist
Treatments to eliminate varicose veins on the feet are generally minimally invasive procedures that require little to no anesthesia, a brief in-office visit, and a short recovery period. Among the procedures offered today are:
- Sclerotherapy. Commonly used to treat spider veins and varicose veins, sclerotherapy involves injecting a safe substance into the damaged vein. The substance irritates the vein, forcing it to close. Blood then diverts to healthier veins.
- Endovenous Ablation. This method actually covers two types of therapies. In laser ablation, the heat from a laser seals the walls of the varicose vein, collapsing it and causing blood to flow to other veins. Similarly, radiofrequency ablation closes off the vein but instead employs thermal heat from radiofrequency waves.
- Microphlebectomy. Microphlebectomy has replaced the invasive “vein stripping” operations of the past. Recommended for people with numerous bulging veins, a microphlebectomy procedure begins with small incisions in the leg. The damaged vein is then removed through these incisions.
Varicose veins may be an indication of a deeper problem within your circulatory system. That’s why it’s important to visit a vein specialist. At Siragusa Vein & Laser, we have the knowledge and expertise to diagnose and treat venous disorders. Call today for a free vein screening.