Runners and Varicose Veins: Treat Before Training

If you are an avid runner, it may be hard to believe that you actually developed those bulging, twisting lines on the lower leg known as varicose veins. After all, you work out, maintain a healthy weight and probably even eat right. Why in the world would varicose veins plague you? To understand why runners get varicose veins, we must look at the underlying causes of the disease.

Causes of Varicose Veins

Veins are the vessels in the body responsible for carrying blood back to the heart. In the lower legs, veins have a more challenging job of carrying blood against the flow of gravity, from the feet to the chest. Small valves inside the veins, known as check valves, keep blood flowing in a single direction, back to the heart. Over time, these valves can begin to wear out, allowing blood to pool inside the veins and the veins to become varicose.

There are many reasons why these valves may become damaged or wear out:

  • Genetics (probably the biggest factor in the development of varicose veins)
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Weight gain
  • Prolonged periods of sitting or standing
  • A history of blood clots or vascular problems

Will Running Make Varicose Veins Worse?

Contrary to what many runners might think, running will not make this condition worse. In fact, exercising the muscles of the legs regularly may actually make it easier for the veins to move blood through, preventing the problem from becoming worse. However, it can be difficult to believe your exercise is not exacerbating the problem if you are experiencing pain, heaviness and other uncomfortable symptoms shortly after your runs.

If you are experiencing symptoms with your varicose veins like aching, swelling or skin changes, you will likely benefit from treatment to eliminate varicose veins that are getting in the way of your workout program and even your daily life. With many minimally-invasive treatment options to choose from today, there is no reason to put off seeking varicose vein treatment before you resume your running regimen.

Treatment Options

At PCI Vein Center, we offer a variety of vein treatments that are performed on an outpatient basis and require little or no downtime afterward. Some of those options include:

  • Radiofrequency treatments (Venefit)
  • Injectable treatments (sclerotherapy)
  • Minimally-invasive removal of veins (phlebectomy)

If your running is suffering because of your varicose veins, help is available. To learn more about your choices in vein treatments, contact PCI Vein Center at 319-774-8432.


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