Tag: compression socks

9 Ways to Prevent Flying and Blood Clots

Are you worried about flying with varicose veins? That’s perfectly natural, but we’re here to help. After all, plane travel can take a toll on anyone’s health (and patience) but, for people with vein disease or compromised vascular systems, it can be particularly dangerous. (Long road trips could also spell trouble.)

And both of these travel modes are especially risky if severe varicose veins have left you with edema (swelling in your legs.) Fortunately, your vein health issues don’t have to keep you grounded. So, if you choose to fly, or even if you’re stuck sitting for a long drive, follow these eight tips for long travel with vein disease: plane exercises

1. Rock your compression socks while flying with varicose veins

Anyone with a history of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), stroke, cancer, or heart disease; anyone who’s recently had pelvic or leg surgery; or anyone who is pregnant or obese is particularly at risk of having a health problem on a flight–especially if the travel time is eight hours or longer. Anyone in this higher-risk category should talk to a doctor before flying. Most likely, your doctor will emphasize the importance of getting up regularly during your flight.

You will also likely be fitted for compression socks, which come in a variety of styles and sizes. These garments offer outside pressure that helps your veins fight gravity and get pooling blood moving. Plus, they can help get your calf muscles pumping harder, making it easier for blood to get out of your legs and feet and up to your heart.

Remember compression levels, come in a range of pressure levels. (They’re measured in mmHg, similar to your blood pressure.) Before you travel, be sure to ask your vein specialist how much force is necessary to keep you safe. Compression socks are important for air travel because they improve your circulation while reducing the risk of swelling and blood clots!

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

It’s important for all travelers to up their liquid intake on flights, but it’s crucial for people with vein problems. People tend to dehydrate on planes, and dehydration can actually make your body retain its remaining fluids. Of course, fluid retention and swelling go hand in hand, and swelling can cause problems with blood clots. To avoid this domino effect, start drinking as soon as you board the plane, and keep going throughout the flight. Bonus? You’ll probably have to use the restroom more often, which will help ensure your continued movement while in the air!

3. Get a Leg Up

Stuck in the terminal during yet another flight delay? Or able to contort your body a bit in your seat? Try elevating your feet to get blood flowing out of your feet and legs and up to your heart. Use your carryon luggage, or even the seat-back tray as a prob, and get those feet above your heart whenever you get the chance.

4. Sneak in a Mid-Flight Workout or Take a Road Side Break

There are many times during a flight where getting up and walking around is simply not an option. But we know that movement is a crucial part of preventing blood clots. So what’s an air traveler to do? Sneak in a workout–without ever leaving your seat! Try this simple sequence whenever you remember, and your veins will likely stay in good shape throughout the flight: Extend both your legs, moving both feet in a circular motion. Next, bring one knee at a time up to your chest, holding the position for a minimum of 15 seconds. Finally, return both feet to the floor and point them upward. Lift both your heels as high as you can, and hold for as long as is comfortably possible.

5. When in doubt, flex your feet

You don’t have to get up to protect your veins during travel. Instead, you can flex your feet while seated–that will help keep up your circulation. To get the benefits, just pull your toes back towards your body. Hold for 10 seconds, then point your toes for another 10 seconds. Switch feet back and forth a few times, and you’ll get some of the benefits of the mid-flight exercises we just reviewed. Without disturbing your seat mate or getting any strange looks.

6. Look for Leg Room

While it costs more, upgrading your seat to enjoy a little legroom could really make a difference to your vein health. Because, even if you’re not in first class, more room makes it easier to move your legs. And moving your legs more will lower your risk for clots or other vein issues while you travel.

7. Skip the Sleeping Pills.

So many of us swallow a sleeping aid after takeoff so we can snooze away the hours in flight. But that’s a big problem for your veins. Because if you deeply sleep through your flight, you won’t get up and move. Instead, aim for cat naps. Interrupted by plenty of activity breaks. (Go back to point three for tips on what to do during those breaks.)

8. Pick Safe Travel Outfits baggy clothing flying with varicose veins

It may be tempting to wear your cutest outfit if you’re seeing family or friends at the airport after months of distancing. But steer clear of tight jeans or even fitted yoga pants, as both can restrict your blood flow. Instead, opt for loose-fitting clothes that won’t put any extra pressure on your legs or feet. That way, your blood can flow without restrictions. And you can always pull off an outfit change just before landing if you prefer a different look.

9. Treat Varicose Veins Before Flying

What’s the safest way of flying with varicose veins? That’s actually a trick question. Because your safest bet is to seek varicose vein treatment before boarding an airplane. What does that mean for you? Well, if you’ve got a plane reservation coming up (or if you’re just dreaming of travel), don’t wait. Make an appointment today with our Houston vein specialists. We’ll discuss your vein health options, suggesting treatments that could make it safer to fly, or even sharing guidance to get you through your trip until you have time to treat those spider veins!

Sources: National Blood Clot Alliance

 

Are there Varicose Vein Complications? 7 Warning Signs to Watch For

Chronic vein conditions can lead to varicose vein complications. That’s why it’s important to treat those varicose veins quickly. Why is that the case? When you have this condition, you may develop varicose veins complications, many of which are serious. And you truly need to worry about these issues if you delay or forego vein treatment.

Are Varicose Veins Complications a Threat to Your Health?

We often hear people saying that varicose veins are unattractive, but no big deal. Which is why we’re here to tell you: that’s just not true!

If you can see those varicose veins, it’s a sign of more serious health problems brewing beneath the surface of your skin.  They tell vein specialists like us that the valves in your veins aren’t working properly. As a result, blood is pooling in your veins, and not flowing back up to your heart as it should. Patient-7-After

At first, that pooling may just cause your veins to bulge and become more visible. Often, painful cramps go along with varicose veins. That can make it difficult to get around and do your regular activities.

But, if left untreated, your problems won’t stop there. Soon, you may notice other symptoms. Including these 7 complications of untreated varicose veins.

8 Symptoms of Untreated Vein Disease

  1. Left untreated, varicose veins can lead to swelling in your legs, also called edema.
  2. The swelling may be painful, so your legs can hurt, and need rest and elevation to feel better.
  3. You may experience fatigue since this study proves varicose vein complications can lead to restless leg syndrome. And that can disrupt your sleep, leaving you tired the next day. Alternatively, heavy legs can wear you out more throughout the day. Then, as this study shows, your legs may cramp more at night, making it harder to sleep. And the study shows this symptom is worse for women than for men.
  4. Next, you’ll be at a higher risk for blood clots, especially DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis, a clot that forms in your deep leg veins. This situation is an emergency—if the clot breaks free, it can travel to your lungs and may be fatal.)
  5. And that’s not all you’ll face. As your veins bulge, that pressure could damage your skin, leaving you vulnerable to infections and ulcers (these are open wounds that resist healing.)
  6. Your skin can also change in appearance, turning dark and discolored. Over time, the skin may even thicken, and taken on a rough texture.
  7. Additionally, you’ll be more likely to experience bleeding episodes, some of which may be serious and require immediate medical attention.
  8. You’ll increase your risk for restless legs. This refers to a condition where you feel the constant urge to move your legs; it’s uncomfortable and can leave your sleep disturbed. About 30% of people with varicose veins experience restless leg symptoms, especially after bedtime.

Now you know why, even now, you can’t ignore those varicose veins. But we’re not just here to scare you. So, please follow our advice for treating varicose veins during the COVID-19 epidemic.

Treating Varicose Veins in Houston

After diagnosis, we can manage your vein health at home with some lifestyle changes. We can recommend compression garments to improve your blood flow, and reduce pooling and swelling. Plus, we can help you move more, which can also help varicose veins. And we can realistically determine whether you’ll need to schedule an in-office procedure to get rid of your varicose veins.

But we can’t help you if we don’t see you. So please, don’t ignore current health issues. If you notice varicose veins, reach out right away. The sooner we start treatment, the more likely it is that we can successfully manage your condition from the safety of your home.

Sources: Harvard Health

5 Easy Exercises to Boost Circulation Now

Looking for easy exercises to boost circulation? Well, you’ve come to the right place. And just in the nick of time!

After all, when you have vein disease, you may experience a wide range of symptoms, from tired heavy legs to changes in the appearance of your skin. One potential skin change you may experience could be very threatening to your health. And that’s developing a venous skin ulcer. (This is a sore on your leg that’s hard to heal, usually because your circulation isn’t working well.) While ulcers can be difficult to treat, but a new study is now suggesting that exercise, in combination with compression therapy, can help ulcers heal faster! Let’s take a closer look.

Exercises to Boost Circulation and Compression Therapy: A Powerful Combination

Compression socks will help your ulcer heal, but adding in exercise can speed up the process

According to research published in JAMA Dermatology, ulcer patients who tried compression therapy and exercise healed quicker than those who only used compression therapy. Compression therapy, usually in the form of socks or stockings, helps heal leg ulcers by directing more blood flow to your legs. In this new study, researchers reviewed clinical information for 190 patients, and found that healing rates improved by 14% when patients were prescribed compression therapy and exercise, as compared to compression therapy alone. For the purposes of this review, the exercise included walking and ankle exercises, both of which improve blood flow and strengthen calf muscles. Strong calf muscles can help manage the symptoms of vein disease because, when they contract properly, those muscles can help give blood the push it needs to make its way back to your heart.

As Houston vein specialists, we are dedicated to improving vein health and helping people heal from vein disease. With that goal in mind, we dedicate frequent Monday blog posts to exercises that may help improve your vein health. Given the  findings in this study, today’s post will highlight ankle exercises you can do from anywhere, and without any equipment. As always, consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise plan!

Five Ankle Strengthening Exercises to Boost Circulation Exercises to boost circulation

  • Standing on one foot: Begin by just standing on one leg at a time, and holding the position for as long as you can. Once that becomes fairly easy to pull off, try doing the same thing, but with your eyes closed.
  • Standing calf raises: Lift yourself up on your toes for 15 reps, taking a brief pause between sets. If you are ready for more of a challenge, do the exercise on one leg at a time, or hold a light set of weights while you do the raises
  • Heel walks: Lift your toes and forefoot off the ground. Walk back and forth across the room, balancing on your heels.
  • Hop Around: Stand on your right leg. Hop forward, sideways and backward up to 30 repetitions, if you are ready for that kind of challenge. Then switch legs and repeat the moves on your left foot.
  • Skater jumps: Start in a standing position on your left leg. Propel yourself to the right using the muscles in your left glute, and land on your right leg with a bent knee. Jump back to the left side, using the muscles in your right glute to move you over.

What’s the Right Way to Put On Compression Stockings?

Last week, we shared a blog post about the great reasons to start wearing compression socks. To recap: they could help protect you from deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. Plus, they can slow the progression of vein disease. And today, more than ever, they come in lots of cute styles! So now that you have the “why” when it comes to compression stockings, we’d like to address the “how.” After all, it can sometimes be tricky to work these tightly-fitted compression socks onto your legs. But first, let’s examine 5 early warning signs of deep vein thrombosis.

DVT Warning Signals to Watch For

Wearing compression socks can help prevent DVT. Here are the signs to look for, that can tell you you’re in danger for deep vein thrombosis.

  1. Cramps or throbbing pain in one leg, probably in the thigh or calf.
  2. One leg displays swelling.
  3. The skin around the sore spot on your leg may be warm to the touch.
  4. That skin may also turn red or darken.
  5. Swollen veins that are noticeably hard to the touch.

Got any of these symptoms? We may recommend compression therapy. And, if that’s the case, you’ll need to know the right way to put on compression socks. So we hope this guide can help ease this somewhat complex process.

How to Put on Compression Socks: A Step by Step Guide

First of all, it’s important to remember that compression stockings aren’t like typical pantyhose. So forget the usual

Creating a pocket for your toes is the first step to properly applying compression stockings.

ways you pull on stockings. Before putting on compression stockings, you should take off any jewelry and dry your legs completely. Now you’re ready to begin application.

Step 1: Whatever you do, don’t bunch up the feet of your stockings. This would only concentrate all that pressure in one small area, making it harder to pull your stockings into place. Instead, reach your hand down and through your stocking, and grab hold of the heel. Keep hold of the heel and turn your stocking inside out. This will create a little pocket for your foot!

Step 2: Put your toes in the foot pocket you just created. Pull the stocking up to your heel, then grasp the top layer of fabric, right near the middle of your foot.

Step 3: Keeping hold of the fabric, lift the stocking over your heel and pull upwards until your heel is completely covered.

Step 4: Now, use both hands to grasp the remaining loose fabric. Pull it gently up over your calf. Going slowly, continue sliding the stocking upwards, until it rests over your knee.  Smooth any wrinkles, making sure the stockings are laying properly in place.

Step 5: Repeat on other side, then get dressed and go. You’re ready to start your day with a valuable tool to support your vein health!

Did you know that medical compression socks actually require a prescription to make sure you get the right amount of pressure? Our Houston area vein specialists are here to help you find the right pair to protect your circulation and prevent dangerous clots. So schedule an appointment at one of our Houston area clinics today!

Sources: Sockwell USA, The Mayo Clinic

8 Moves that Help Spider Veins

If you need help for spider veins, you’re not alone: they’re a very common condition, especially among women who are or have been pregnant or are over the age of 50. Just because they’re common, however, doesn’t mean they can’t be treated! In our Texas Endovascular practice, we offer several different treatment plans for your spider or varicose veins, all of them being minimally invasive and performed as outpatient procedures! And, while you’re discussing with your doctor what treatment option is best for you, here are 8 tips to follow that can keep your condition from getting worse!

Hacks to Help with Spider Veins

There are many different lifestyle changes you can make to help spider veins. These are just a beginning point. And if you already have vein health concerns, you’ll need to explore treatment options.

walking can help spider veins
Frequent exercise, like taking walks, can help improve the appearance of spider veins
  1. Stay Active!

    Regular exercise can improve blood circulation in your legs, while also lowering your blood pressure (another factor that could improve varicose veins.) Not sure where to start? Check out our weekly Move it Monday blog posts for exercise inspiration!

  2. Rock Your Socks

    Tight (compression) socks or stockings apply pressure to your lower legs, potentially helping to improve blood flow to the area. Not sure how or when to wear these babies? This guide to putting on compression socks can help.

  3. But…Skip the Stilettos.

    High heels keep your calf muscles engaged, reducing the amount of blood that flows into the veins of your foot and calf. It also reduces the amount of force going to push blood into those veins, meaning blood can begin to pool and form new or worsen existing spider veins. So, while high heels don’t technically cause vein problems, they certainly won’t help spider veins.

  4. Skip the Salt, too.

    Salty foods can cause your body to retain water and swell up; while you’re swelling, those bulging varicose veins may worsen.

  5. Up Your Fiber Intake to Help Spider Veins.

    Fiber is good for your heart health, and improved heart health equals better blood flow throughout the body. For that reason, this diet to boost circulation could keep unsightly veins at bay.

  6. Embrace Massage.

    Gently massaging your legs can help stimulate blood flow to the area, but don’t apply direct pressure to bulging veins as the delicate tissue may be damaged.

  7. Take a Stand.

    Sitting for extended periods of time, whether at home, at work, or on a plane, allows blood to pool in your legs. Take frequent walking breaks to avoid this issue.

  8. Drop a Few:

    Extra pounds on your frame puts extra pressure on your legs. That’s because extra fat in your abdomen makes it tough for your blood to beat gravity and flow out of your legs, back to your heart. Instead, it pools in your legs, stretching your veins and leading to spider veins. So maintaining a healthy weight can help spider veins you already have. Or even keep new ones from forming!

Need more help managing your vein health concerns? That’s what we’re here for! Just reach out today and request an immediate appointment with our Houston area vein specialists!

 

Sources: mayoclinic.org, medicalnewstoday.com

What are Compression Socks For Men?

Did you know that compression socks for men are important? We know that when you imagine compression socks, some unattractive images come to mind. And most of them involve little old ladies. But, these days, compression socks for men and women come in all styles!  And, more importantly they support your vein health in many ways. Therefore, we need to take a closer look at the real deal with compression socks.

Who are Compression Socks Designed For?

So many people can benefit from wearing compression socks. People who frequently travel by airplane; pregnant women; people with varicose veins; individuals who must stay on their feet all day for work…even runners looking to boost their performance may be helped by wearing these socks.

For most people, compression socks help improve circulation to fight vascular conditions like lymphedema, varicose veins and/or chronic venous insufficiency. Still, some athletes choose to wear compression socks. And they do so without experiencing vascular issues, because they can help lower limb swelling.

Because wearing compression socks can also speed up recovery time after a hard training session thanks to the boost they give your blood flow. Plus, compression socks can increase your endurance. (They work to keep your legs from getting too tired.) They may also relieve the pain of aching joints, and help support your muscles and improve your balance.

How Do Compression Socks Work Their Magic?

Compression socks are made from stretchy, snug fabric designed to squeeze your legs and ankles tightly. That squeezing action works with the muscles in your calves to keep blood pumping out of your lower extremities and back up to your heart,  improving blood circulation, and cutting back on pooling blood and potential swelling.

Different styles of socks deliver different pressure—and different results—to your body. There are two main types of compression socks: graded and anti-embolism. Our vein specialists can help you decide what type is right for your needs. But anti-embolism socks are meant for patients confined to their beds. So, while these compression socks may be important if you’re in the hospital, they probably aren’t for you. .

Now, remember: graded compression socks are most common. But there are still choices. Because they come in different lengths, meaning shorter styles will have less of an impact on your legs. They are deliver varying degrees of pressure, measured in mmHg. If your vein doctor has recommended compression socks, it’s important to sit down and discuss the style, length and mmHg levels that your specific condition requires.

Where Can I Get Compression Socks?

Here’s the good news: compression socks are really easy to get a hold of. You can find them in a number of places: the drug store, our offices (or your primary healthcare providers). Heck, you can even get them online!

Bare in mind that online or in stores, you may not enjoy the widest selection available. Also, the pressure rating may not be sufficient to meet your vein health needs. So, what’s the best way to get what you need out of your stockings? See your vein specialists and score a prescription for compression socks. That way, you’ll be sure that the pair you receive is ideally suited for your specific needs. Plus, with a medical prescription, you may be able to use insurance to cover the cost of your stockings.

Do you have questions about how compression socks can benefit your vascular health? Or how you can obtain a prescription for your compression stockings? Just schedule a consultation with one of our Houston area vein specialists!

5 Reasons Why Fall is Varicose Vein Treatment Season

Have you been thinking about varicose vein treatment? That is perfect, because now’s a great time! While it may not have cooled down much outside, fall is here. And, with its arrival comes a new item to put on your to-do list: treat those varicose veins! Here are the top five reasons why fall is the right time to treat those bulging, twisted signs of venous insufficiency.

Why is Fall a Great Time for Varicose Vein Treatment?

1. You have more time Varicose Veins Exercise

Between the constant activity and summer break and the holidays, fall is the perfect time to follow post-treatment restriction on exercise and strenuous movement. Sending the kids to school each day can also allow you the opportunity to lie down and put your legs up following treatment.

2. Insurance is easier

By the time fall comes around, many people have already met most or all of their insurance deductibles. But, October and November is not so late in the calendar year that you won’t have time to secure a vein treatment pre-authorization, if that’s what your insurance carrier requires. And our Houston vein specialists accept most insurance plans, so you should be in the clear by this time of year.

3. The clothing and compression won’t be as much of a problem.

After spider-vein treatment, you will likely need to wear compression stockings for up to a month to minimize any bruising, pain or swelling and to help improve blood flow in your legs. It’s a lot more comfortable to wear these stockings after the heat of summer has passed, especially if you also want to cover them up with long pants.

4. The sun is less prominent

Did you know that UV rays can contribute to the development of varicose veins? And, even after undergoing treatment, sun exposure can slow down your recovery process or cause the skin in your healing legs to become discolored? That’s why you will need to avoid direct sun exposure for up to a month following vein treatment, and it’s why the fall is a much smarter time to begin the vein-treatment process.

5. You’ll be ready for the holidays.

Once Thanksgiving comes, you’ll be facing a mad rush of shopping and celebrating. That will be the case, even if the holidays look a little different this year. Now, if you seek varicose vein treatment earlier in the fall, here’s the best news we can offer. By the time you hit the holiday season, you should be mostly done with your recovery process. Which means that you can sit, stand and celebrate your way through the festivities. All without worrying about the look or feelings coming from those twisted, painful, varicose veins!

Sources: La Jolla Light

 

5 Reasons to Rock Compression Socks

For many people, the words “compression socks” bring to mind images of your grandmother’s awful stockings. It may make you want to run for your fashion life, directly in the opposite direction. But here’s the thing: compression stockings are very useful medical tools when it comes to managing your vein health. So it’s important to wear them when your doctors suggests it. So, in case you need a little extra push toward the compression stocking aisle, here are three great reasons to wear these most useful articles of clothing!

5 Compelling Reasons to Wear Compression Socks

Especially in the hot summer months, we know compression socks may seem unpleasant. But they have important jobs to do, so just give them a chance. Need more convincing? Here are the reasons why wearing compression socks is so important!

Choosing The Right Compression Therapy
Compression stockings don’t have to look like this anymore…there are many patterns and colors to choose from!
  1. They could save your life.

    Compression stockings put pressure on your leg, and that pressure pushes blood from the bottom of your legs into the deep venous system, helping blood return to your heart. Because of this, compression stockings are great tools for managing many types of vein disease. They can reduce or even eliminate edemas (swelling of the leg, ankles or feet) and can help reduce the risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis, a potentially deadly condition that often develops without any warning signs.)

  2. They can keep varicose veins from getting worse.

    Varicose veins emerge when valves in your veins fail, allowing blood to pool. This pooling blood can cause your veins to bulge or darken in color, which is the point at which they become visible through your skin. Because compression stockings promote the return of blood from your legs to your heart, they can help prevent blood pooling and prevent new varicose veins from developing, or existing ones from getting worse.

  3. Compression Socks speed up blood flow.

    Even if you don’t have vein disease, boosting blood flow is beneficial. These socks do their job by mimicking the natural movement your body makes when pump blood from your legs into the upper parts of your body. With this help, your body can work more efficiently. Which may translate to more energy in your body…and that’s always a good thing!

  4. Get help for all day standing and sitting.

    What’s one common complaint among people who spend all day on their feet? Swollen legs (edema.) And compression socks can help with this area as well. How? If you need to stand or sit for hours at a time, fluid can build up in your legs. And that’s when you may notice swelling.  At first, this may not seem like a big problem. But if you don’t address fluid buildup, the extra pressure could burst your veins, leaving you with open sores (ulcers) or infection. If that sounds scary, well…good. It is! Thankfully, however, wearing compression socks will minimize your risk by pushing fluid out of your legs while they work on your blood flow.

  5. These days, compression stockings are so cute!

    Back in your grandmother’s day, compression stockings were, admittedly, unattractive. In 2019, however, compression stockings come in an array of colors, sizes and prints. Basically, there’s a pair to fit every person’s individual style AND medical needs. So, basically, using the “ugly” excuse to avid compression stockings is no longer an option.

Vein disease can make your legs less attractive, but compression stockings can manage your symptoms AND help you look cute while doing so! Looking for a recommendation on a great pair of stockings? We’ve got so many options in our Houston area offices. Stop on by and check them out!

 

Sources: Web MD, Rite Aid, Explosion

Will High Heels Give me Spider Veins?

So many women have closets packed with high heels. Let’s face it, stilettos can be great–they make your legs look longer, they give you extra inches, and they add a stylish finish to almost any outfit.

That’s the good news about high heels…but here’s the not-so-good news. While wearing high heels won’t directly cause you to develop varicose veins, they can contribute to this problem by affecting blood flow in your veins. And, not surprisingly, the higher the heels, the bigger the negative impact on your vein health.

What Are Varicose Veins?

To understand the connection between high heels and varicose veins, we must first understand this problem and why it happens.

Over 25 million Americans have varicose veins. Some people will recognize the problem right away, thanks to visible symptoms like bulging veins or brightly colored veins that are visible on the skin’s surface.

Some symptoms of varicose veins are less obvious:  heaviness, aching, swelling, tiredness, burning, stinging, and leg cramps are all signs that you may have a problem. Other symptoms, like swollen legs, changes in your skin and even ulcers are also symptoms of spider veins, but they can often be mistaken for other conditions.

Varicose veins are a faulty part of the venous system, which is just a group of pipes, pumps, and valves in your body. Veins are ‘pipes’ for blood. Valves are like stop signs that keep the blood flowing in the right direction–either up to your heart or away from your heart to your other body parts.

When any part of your venous system stops doing its job properly, blood can begin to pool in your veins, causing them to stretch and bulge. That’s when you may notice symptoms of varicose veins.

High Heels and Blood Flow

When you walk, blood starts pumping in your foot and calf. Blood starts moving up the veins in your legs. Valves help that blood fight gravity and keep flowing up towards your heart.

Of course, that’s the case when your’re walking normally.  When you stride wearing basic, supportive shoes, your foot and calf work together. Veins in your foot fill it with blood as it lifts off the floor. When your heel and arch land back on the floor, that blood starts flowing into the relaxed veins in your calf. Once there, your calf muscles get to work, pushing blood into the deep veins in your legs.

High heels are a game changer in this system because of the way they affect your stride. When you’re rocking those three-inch stilettos, your heel never touches the ground. All your weight stays in your toes and the balls of your feet. Plus, because of the angle of your body, your calf muscles never get the chance to relax when you’re in heels.

The result of these stride changes is fairly significant. Your foot gets less filled with blood; your calf muscles are less effective when they try to pump blood up to your heart. The decreased pump strength can leave some blood behind in your legs, allowing it to build up and pool in your veins. When this happens, your vein health may suffer.

Preventing Spider Veins 

While no one expects you to give up high heels completely, there are steps you can take to limit the damage to your veins:

  1. Save those stilettos for short events and special occasions.
  2. Stick to heels that are no more than three inches (and shorter is even better).
  3. If you’re going to be in heels for a while, consider throwing on a pair of compression stockings.
  4. Strengthen your calf muscles once the heels come off by sneaking in a few sets of heel raises.
  5. Check in with your Houston vein specialist if you start noticing any of the spider vein symptoms we discussed above.

 

While high heels don’t directly cause spider veins, they may create an environment that compromises your overall vein health. If you already have spider veins, or have a family history of vein disease, keeping a close watch on your shoe closet is a very good idea.

 

Sources: New York Times

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