Here in sunny South Florida, shorts, skirts, and bathing suits are worn year-round. That means legs are seen year-round as well. If you have varicose veins, this can bring embarrassment rather than joy. It is estimated that over 23 percent of adults are affected by varicose veins. While a common and often harmless condition, varicose veins can be unattractive, uncomfortable, and sometimes a sign of other more serious issues. Fortunately, varicose veins can be treated. But it is important to understand what varicose veins are and the signs that can tell you whether they are an issue for you.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Throughout your body, veins send blood to the heart through one-way valves that help keep the blood moving in the right direction. However, these valves can sometimes become damaged or weak, which in turn causes blood to get backed up and pool in the affected veins. This leads to swelling of the veins which are visible just below the skin’s surface, appearing as blue or purple. While varicose veins are most common in the legs, they can form elsewhere in the body as well.
Many factors can raise your risk for varicose veins, such as family history, older age, gender, pregnancy, occupations which require lots of standing, and leg trauma.
6 Signs to Look For
Keep an eye out for these six common symptoms of varicose veins:
- Large veins visible just under the surface of your skin.
- Mild swelling of your ankles and feet.
- Painful, achy, or heavy-feeling legs.
- Throbbing or cramping in your legs.
- Itchy legs, especially on the lower leg and ankle.
- Discolored skin in the area around the varicose veins.
Treatment Options for Varicose Veins
There is a range of options for treating varicose veins. Which treatment is best suited for you depends in part on whether the veins are causing discomfort and pain or whether the individual is seeking treatment solely for cosmetic reasons.
Simple lifestyle changes can often reduce the appearance of varicose veins, including:
- Avoiding standing or sitting for long periods of time.
- Keeping your legs moving through exercise or other physical activity to help blood flow in your legs.
- Losing weight if you are overweight or obese.
- Avoiding tight-fitting clothes.
- Avoiding high heels.
Compression stockings, ranging from regular support pantyhose to prescription-strength compression hose, can help reduce varicose veins by apply gentle pressure which prevents blood from pooling and reduces swelling accordingly.
Medical procedures are also used to eliminate varicose veins. These include sclerotherapy, laser treatment, and vein stripping and ligation, among others.
If you have concerns about varicose veins and are exploring treatment options, consult with your physician who can recommend the best approach for your specific needs.
JAWS podiatry: Your South Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists
At JAWS podiatry in Hollywood, Florida, we utilize the most advanced and non-invasive techniques to reduce pain and speed recovery for individuals suffering from foot and ankle problems. If you’d like to learn more about the innovative and effective treatments we provide or how we can help you with your foot and ankle issues, please call us today at (954) 922-7333 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.