Varicose veins are a genetic condition that is usually associated with inactive and overweight people, as well as pregnant women due to weak calf muscles and/or impeded blood flow in the veins in the legs and pelvic area. However, it is also known to affect perfectly healthy and physically active individuals.

Athletes and Varicose Veins | Vein Specialist Ventura & Los Angeles

Athletes are constantly running on hard surfaces or engaging in heavy resistance training and other strenuous activities. This puts their veins under a lot of strain, causing them to bulge and appear on the surface of the skin as ropy blood vessels on the lower thighs and calves. Varicose veins can also form on the arms, chest, and other parts of the body where blood flow is restricted.

Varicose veins usually don’t cause any pain or unfavorable symptoms, except for aesthetic concerns. But in some cases, they can cause uncomfortable symptoms that hinder the performance of an athlete.

Varicose Veins Prevention

For most people, light leg exercises like walking and jogging are enough to strengthen the calf muscles and reduce the risk of vein problems. But considering that this may not be an option for athletes, your vein specialist may recommend a personalized plan that includes:

  • Keeping your legs elevated when resting to make it easier for blood in the lower extremities to flow back to the heart
  • Avoid exposing your veins to extremely high temperatures in hot baths, hot tubs, and saunas
  • Increase your dietary intake of fiber and reduce sodium consumptions to reduce the risk for constipation, water retention, and other problems that may contribute to varicose veins

Varicose Veins Treatment

If your varicose veins are causing symptoms such as localized pain, itchy, swollen legs, or tired, heavy legs, your Ventura or Los Angeles-based vein specialist may recommend various minimally invasive treatments that involve little or no downtime and won’t cause major interruption to your training schedule. The sooner you get problematic veins treated, the faster you can achieve optimal training and performance.

If you’re looking to get rid of large, problematic varicose veins that cause pain, swelling, and heaviness in your legs, your vein specialist may recommend the removal of the damaged veins through two minor surgical procedures known as vein ligation and stripping.

Vein Ligation and Stripping | Varicose Vein Specialist Los Angeles & Ventura

These procedures are mostly used to treat severe cases of varicose veins, usually after addressing smaller vein problems with a minimally invasive procedure such as sclerotherapy. During vein ligation, your surgeon will make a small incision through your skin and surgically tie the affected vein. With vein stripping, a similar incision is made but with the view to removing the problematic vein.

What to Expect

If your vein specialist recommends vein ligation and stripping, it is best that you take the rest of the day off and ask someone to drop you off at the center and pick you up later because you’ll be sedated. Some tests will need to be done prior to the procedure to ensure the presence and location of varicose veins and to avoid any complications.

The doctor will numb the area before making a small cut over the damaged veins. During litigation, the problematic veins are tied off to force the blood to redirect and flow through other healthy veins. The vein is not removed, which allows other blood vessels to reconnect to healthier parts of the vein to continue circulating blood.

But if the vein and valves are severely damaged, the entire portion of the valve may be surgically removed or stripped. This requires the surgeon to insert a flexible instrument up the damaged vein, grasp it, and then remove it. Blood is automatically redirected to other healthy veins.

The procedure itself takes between 2 and 3 hours. You should be able to go home the same day, but it’s recommended that you wait a few hours to recover from the regional or general anesthesia used during the surgery.

Post Surgery Care

Vein ligation and stripping is a safe, minor surgical procedure that helps to treat the symptoms of venous incompetence, including swelling and ulceration, and prevent varicose veins recurrence. Your vein specialist in Ventura & Los Angeles will discuss any side effects that may result from the procedure, such as as scarring, and provide directions for care and preventing other varicose veins from emerging. You should be able to return to your normal activities after a few days of rest.

Pregnancy is one of the risk factors for varicose veins. The developing fetus and enlarging womb can apply a lot of pressure on the veins in the pelvis area, which in turn put pressure in the leg veins, leading to varicose veins and other vein conditions.

Pregnancy Related Vein Problems | Vein Specialist Los Angeles & Ventura

Generally, each pregnancy increases your risk for varicose veins, which means that older moms are more susceptible. In fact, studies show that 28% of women who have never had a vein issue in their family often suffer vein problems during pregnancy.

Although varicose veins are largely harmless, the associated pain, itchiness, burning sensation, and, discomfort can make pregnancy much harder for women.

Here are a few tips to help you prevent or minimize the appearance of varicose veins during pregnancy:

  • Try to reduce the amount of time you spend on your feet. If your job requires you to stand for many hours, then you should get custom, full-length pregnancy compression stockings from your vein specialist in Ventura & Los Angeles.
  • If you have a desk job, consider exercising your calf muscles to facilitate blood flow. With your foot flat on the ground, rock your foot from heel to toe multiple times. You can also do this exercise while standing.
  • When resting, avoid crossing your legs as this could obstruct proper blood flow. Instead, keep your legs in a raised position or choose your left side when you lie.
  • Do light exercise everyday, especially walking to improve circulation.

Avoid Any Permanent Treatments

Vein specialists don’t recommend any permanent solutions for varicose veins, like minimally invasive surgeries during pregnancy because the situation usually improves after giving birth. Moreover, the vein problem is likely to return on your subsequent pregnancies.

If your varicose veins are causing other problems, you should visit a vein specialist in Ventura & Los Angeles to discuss possible remedies during and after pregnancy.