More than 23% of all adult individuals in the U.S. are impacted by venous disease. If you’re one of these people, you may wonder why you experience more painful leg veins in the summertime than in other months of the year. There are various factors that help to answer this question, with some answers apparent and others, like your veins, beneath the surface.
How Summer Heat Affects Your Veins
When outdoors on sunny days, you might experience symptoms of your varicose veins. However, it’s not the exposure to sunlight that worsens varicose veins symptoms, but rather the summer heat. Likewise, not all people will experience worsened vein pain either from the heat. But, your likelihood of heat veins bothering you increases as you spend more time out in the summer heat and as the temperatures become hotter.
One interesting phenomenon, a process known as vasodilation, occurs beneath the surface. The term “vaso” means blood vessels and the term “dilation” means enlarge. Vasodilation is where the size of your blood vessels increase because they’re responding to specific environmental situations, like the hot summer temperatures.
Your veins enlarge, helping your body to cool itself by boosting the flow of blood towards your skin. The problem is, it could also make symptoms of venous insufficiency worse by boosting the volume of blood your veins hold. This is a process many individuals don’t completely understand because they’re not aware of how their body changes as it adapts to heat.
Tips to Reduce Varicose Leg Pain
There are a few ways you can reduce painful leg veins at any time of the year, but particularly in the summer. These include to:
1. Elevate Your Legs
For instant relief from discomfort and pain linked with varicose veins, keep your legs elevated above your heart. You can do this by:
- Stretching your feet up a wall
- Placing them on a table
- Lying down in your bed and resting your legs on a few pillows
This makes it easier for the flow of blood in your lower body to start flowing towards your heart, making your venous valves function more efficiently.
2. Use Cold Water
If at the end of the day you’re experiencing pain in your legs, stand in a cold shower and let the water hit your legs. The cooler temperatures of the water will cause your blood vessels to shrink, easing the swelling, leg cramps, overall discomfort and associated heaviness feeling.
3. Stretch Your Legs and Exercise
It can also help to perform short exercises that stretch out your calf muscles. Flex your feet often, particularly when you’re in the middle of a long trip and you have limited legroom.
Tips to Prevent Varicose Vein Pain
Like with other chronic conditions, prevention is key.
1. Wear Compression Hosiery
You can prevent symptoms like heavy legs and swelling by wearing compression hosiery. This will allow you to avoid painful cramps you’d typically experience at night or at the end of your day. To really benefit from compression stockings, put them on in the morning before you begin walking around. If you give your blood the chance to pool around your ankles, compression stockings won’t be as helpful for achy, heavy legs.
2. Wear Comfortable Clothing
You should also avoid tight clothing and high heels as much as possible. They constrict blood flow and place too much pressure on various areas of your body. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes, particularly if you plan on being on your feet all day.
Contact Inovia Vein Specialty Centers
If you are interested in learning more about varicose veins treatment options, simply fill out our Online Appointment Request Form or call any of our clinics in Northwest Portland , Tigard, Happy Valley, Hillsboro or Bend, Oregon.