Varicose veins are swollen or enlarged veins, which are often blue or purple in colour. Typically they protrude from the legs and feet in a sometimes twisted, misshapen appearance. There tends to be more pressure on the lower legs, which is why those areas are affected. Varicose veins are very common and it’s estimated that they affect approximately 1 in 4 people. Women tend to suffer more commonly than men and those over 50 are more likely to develop them.
In most cases, Varicose veins are a cosmetic concern but don’t actually cause any other problems. However, for some people, they can cause aching and discomfort. There are many tell-tale signs that you’re suffering from varicose veins, alongside the obvious protruding appearance you may also have;
- Throbbing sensation in one or both legs
- Swollen feet/ankles
- Night time leg cramps (possible at any point, but more common in the evening)
- Achy or heavy feeling legs
- Dry and sometimes itchy skin patches over the vein area
- Restless legs
- Skin ulcers/changes in skin colour
Varicose veins develop when the valves inside the veins are not working correctly. When working properly, blood flows smoothly through the veins to the heart. It’s stopped from flowing backwards by many small valves that open and close accordingly. The formation of varicose veins occurs when the blood isn’t flowing correctly. If the valves have become weakened or damaged, the blood can flow backwards and collect in the vein, which will, in turn, cause the vein to swell and enlarge, becoming varicose.
The chance of developing varicose veins increases with:
- Being overweight
- Being pregnant
- Having close family members who also suffer
Fortunately, while varicose veins are extremely common, there are actually various treatment options and things you can do to improve and potentially eliminate their appearance. The most common methods of treatment (listed below) are often very successful and surgery is only rarely required:
- Compression socks/stockings: Specially designed socks/stockings are used to steadily squeeze your legs with the aim of improving circulation. The firm ‘squeezing’ encourages blood to flow upwards towards your heart (rather than backwards) and in turn, can eliminate the swelling of the vein.
- Endothermal ablation: This process involves using high-frequency radio waves or lasers to seal the affected veins.
- Magnetic Therapy: Magnetic therapy is ideal due to its circulation improving capabilities. We recommend the Magnopulse LegCare Wrap. The LegCare leg wrap is worn comfortably while it goes to work creating powerful magnetic fields around the leg. Magnetic therapy helps by improving blood circulation and increasing oxygen levels in the areas that are causing discomfort.
- Avoid long periods of standing or sitting in the same position. If you work at a desk job be sure to take regular mini-breaks to walk and stretch when possible.