Most people associate varicose veins with being overweight, inactivity, or standing for extended period of times. Indeed, some level of physical activity can improve blood flow in your leg veins and reduce the risk of varicose veins.

Exercise and Varicose Veins: The Dos and Don'ts | Vein Specialist

However, venous diseases are hereditary and are known to affect healthy people and athletes. In fact, some kinds of exercises can increase the risk of varicose and spider veins.

Vein specialists agree that some exercises help to develop your calf muscles, promote healthy blood circulation in your legs, and reduce the risk of vein disease. Before starting your exercise routine, it is recommended that you seek professional advice about the beneficial exercises. Here are some common do’s and don’ts:

The Do’s

  • Low-impact activities that target your calf pump are best for improving blood circulation. These including walking, swimming, cycling, and elliptical for about 30 minutes a day.
  • Walking is the number one recommended activity for improving lower extremity circulation. 30 minutes a day for 5 days should be sufficient.
  • Elliptical and stationary bike riding also target the calf muscle without exerting too much pressure on your joints.
  • Jogging or running on a grassy surface or synthetic track is also good for your calf muscles while reducing the stress on your joints from the high-impact of hard surfaces.
  • Light resistance training using lower weights, high repetitions, good lifting techniques, and incorporating aerobic activities such as riding a stationary bike or walking after every workout session to help the muscles relax.


  • Jump roping is as bad as running on hard surfaces because it stresses your feet and joints, which may worsen varicose vein swelling.
  • Heavy resistance training or weightlifting tends to increase abdominal pressure, which in turn impedes blood flow from your lower extremities towards your heart.
  • Strenuous activities such as lunges, crunches, sit ups, and prolonged abdominal posturing. Alternatively, you can do them in combination with aerobic exercises and in short segments.

Promote Healthy Blood Flow In Your Legs

Calf exercises are important for healthy blood flow in your legs and to reduce the risk of varicose veins. If you don’t have the time to exercise, you shouldn’t wear high heels except for special occasions because they weaken the calf muscle and impede circulation.

Instead, rock your feet on the ground from heel to toe when sitting or standing to engage these muscles. Also talk to your vein specialist in Ventura & Los Angeles about getting you customized compression stockings to wear when sitting or standing for extended periods, like due to pregnancy or when traveling.

Pain in your legs is a common occurrence after sustaining an injury, or due to a medical condition or other non-traumatic cause. Leg pain and swelling can also be caused by injury or inflammation of blood vessels, muscles, joints, bones, nerves, or other structures in the leg, or radiate from other parts of your body, like from a blood clot in the large veins in the legs, pelvis, or abdomen and be felt in the leg.

Leg Pain & Swelling | Vein Specialist in Ventura & Los Angeles

Whether the pain in your leg is due to trauma or a nontraumatic event, it is important that you visit your physician in Ventura or Los Angeles for proper diagnosis and treatment. Your physician or specialist will likely have a lot of questions about your medical history, occupation, activities that reduce or increase the pain, and so on.

Some of the things that your physician will consider when diagnosing your case include:

1. Extent of the pain

When examining your legs, your doctor will want to know the location or origin of the pain and whether it moves to the ankle, foot, toes, or other areas of the leg; the time of day when the pain and swelling is at its worst; the events that cause a flare up or help to relieve the pain; the time of day when the pain is most tolerable; whether the pain occurs a few days a month due to hormonal changes, and so on.

2. Your medical history

It is important that you provide your doctor with your complete medical history, including any heart conditions or thyroid, kidney, or liver problems. Keep in mind that the symptoms may be associated with arthritis or some medications you’re taking.

3. Your lifestyle habits

Your physician will also investigate your eating, sleeping, and activity levels as they may contribute to the problem. For instance, being overweight, inactive, and sleeping in a recliner could strain blood flow in the veins of your legs, leading to pain and swelling.

Treating Leg Pain and Swelling

There are many ways to treat leg pain and swelling, ranging from massage and physical therapy to wearing compression stockings to minimally invasive surgical procedures to remove troublesome veins. It is important that you visit your physician in Ventura & Los Angeles as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and timely and personalized treatment.

If you have a venous disease, your physician has probably advised you to stay away from hot water in spas and saunas, and even hot weather, because the heat causes your veins to dilate. This weakens the walls and causes pressure to build up, allowing blood to flow back and pool.

Cold Weather and Your Veins | Vein Specialist in Ventura and Los Angeles

Conversely, cold temperatures cause the veins to constrict, allowing them to function optimally and prevent pressure from increasing around the calves and ankles. This translates to minimal pain and reduced risk of swelling.

That said, extremely cold weather can be detrimental to the health of your veins in the following ways:

1. Changes in atmospheric pressure

Venous problems typically arise from increased pressure in the venous system due to a number of factors, including weight gain, prolonged standing or sitting, or even changes in atmospheric pressure. Severe cold weather can cause your body to feel heavier and inhibit proper blood flow in the veins, resulting in varicose or spider veins.

2. Slow down body functions

While cold weather increases metabolism to generate heat, it also slows down body functions to save energy. This includes lower blood circulation, which is made worse by physical inactivity. Without adequate pressure in the venous system to push blood against gravity, blood can begin to flow back and pool, creating varicose veins.

3. Lifestyle changes

From inactivity to dietary changes, cold weather causes you to change your normal routine to make life easier, but not necessarily healthier. Cold weather may cause you to sit or lay on your sofa or bed for extended periods as you watch TV or browse the internet, as you indulge in cookies, snacks, and other unhealthy foods. You may also change your diet to include fatty soups and stews to help you keep warm, resulting in weight gain and increased pressure in your venous system.

How to counter the cold for healthy veins

When indoors, consider relaxing with your legs elevated to make it easier for blood in your legs to return to the heart. Also walk around your home to stretch your legs, and massage your feet and ankles when possible. Lastly, take the opportunity to prepare healthy homemade foods rich in omega-3s and fiber to help improve blood circulation.

There are several minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins, spider veins, and other vein problems, all of which are considered safe, effective, and highly successful with minimal side effects. The typically vein procedure is performed with local anesthetic only and takes less than an hour, so you can drive yourself to and from the appointment.

What to Expect from a Vein Procedure | Vein Treatment Recovery

After your vein procedure, you will have to wear a bandage at least overnight, but you can remove it the following day before resuming normal activities. Most patients report some discomfort for the first 48 hours after treatment, so it’s recommended that you rest during this period.

Expected side Effects

Following the procedure, you will experience some discomfort accompanied by redness, warmth, and inflammation on and around the treated areas. Some patients also report a feeling of tightness along the collapsed or treated vein. Your physician will give you a pain prescription, like 400 mg of ibuprofen that you take every 6-8 hours, or 500 mg of Tylenol that you take every 12 hours.

During the first week after the procedure, you may feel like veins in the treated area are knotting, with blood pooling in the veins and causing the skin to feel warm and tender to the touch. This is normal as blood is redirected to other healthy veins, but you can relieve the discomfort by applying a warm compress and massaging the spot regularly.

It is important that you avoid soaking your body in water, like in a bathtub, or even pool, for the first 10 days after the procedure to reduce the risk of infections in the treated area.

You may also experience some occasional loss of sensation due to nerve irritation during the treatment. This should disappear with time.

7-10 Days Later

Most people should be able to resume their daily activities immediately after the procedure. But if you do a lot of strenuous things, it is best that you wait 7-10 days before engaging in such activities or lifting anything weighing more than 20 pounds.

That said, it is recommended that you engage in low-impact fitness activities, such as walking or using a low setting on the treadmill to facilitate the healing process. But you should avoid all high-impact exercises such as jogging, running, or lower-body weight training.

Months later

People recover differently from varicose vein treatment. Most experience considerable reduction of symptoms after one month, but they may go on for a few more months. You will likely feel fine after 6 months, but considering that venous insufficiency is a chronic condition, you should visit your physician for a follow-up assessment.

It is common knowledge that your dietary choices affect many aspects of your health and general wellbeing. New studies suggest that what you eat also affects the severity of varicose veins symptoms by aggravating the risk factors, interfering with proper blood circulation, or directly impeding blood flow in the veins.

Is Your Diet Causing Varicose Veins? | Vein Specialist in Ventura & LA

The items you eat can either make existing vein problems worse or improve your vascular function and ultimately reduce the severity of varicose veins.

Foods that make varicose veins worse

Considering that being overweight is a risk factor for varicose veins, any foods that cause you to add weight also increase your risk of venous problems. These include:

  • Refined starches
  • Soda and alcohol
  • Dairy products including whole milk
  • High-sugar foods
  • Oily foods

You can avoid weight gain by consuming nutritious foods and counting your daily calorie intake. You should also be careful about consuming foods that increase water retention, because it increases pressure on the veins. This can cause the veins to swell and the valves to get damaged, allowing blood to pool and form varicose veins.

Some of the foods that increase water retention and should be avoided include:

  • Processed meats
  • Canned foods
  • Many types of cheeses
  • Pizza
  • Pickles
  • Other salty foods

In addition, you should avoid foods that increase the risk of constipation, as it makes you more likely to getting hemorrhoids, or swollen veins in the anal canal. This can also cause damage to veins in your lower legs, resulting in the formation of varicose veins. Consider reducing your intake of red meat, chocolate, dairy products, bananas, and refined starches, while increasing your intake of foods rich in fiber, such as legumes, fruits and veggies, whole grains, and drinking lots of water.

Foods that provide relief for varicose veins

Besides avoiding the foods mentioned above, consider increasing your dietary intake of leafy green vegetables; fruits and vegetables rich in anti-inflammatory vitamins C and E; and natural diuretics that help to flush away water, like cucumbers, asparagus, celery, and herbs.

Although maintaining the right diet can reduce the risk for venous problems, varicose veins are largely hereditary, so you cannot prevent them completely. If your varicose veins are painful or a cosmetic concern, please visit a nearby vein specialist for diagnosis and discussion of minimally invasive treatments that can help your case.

Foam sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive treatment for spider veins. The procedure takes place in-office, and you can walk out right after the treatment and resume your normal activities immediately. But if your job involves prolonged standing or driving, or if both your legs were treated at the same, you may need a few days off.

Sclerotherapy Recovery Time & Aftercare | Vein Specialist in Ventura & LA

Here’s what to Expect:

On the day of the procedure

After your sclerotherapy treatment with Dr. Shah, you can expect the following:

  • The treated leg will be bandaged from the foot to the top of the treated vein
  • Your blood pressure and bandages will be checked
  • You will be given custom compression stockings
  • You will receive a prescription for any pain relievers that you need
  • You will be given a discharge letter

The treatment is not painful, and you should be able to walk out of the center about 30-minutes after the procedure. However, it is best that you get someone else to drive you home or to work for the next 48 hours.

The Following Day

On the following day of your treatment, the local anaesthetic will have worn off, so the bandaged leg will feel a little uncomfortable. It will also be slightly swollen. Just take your painkillers prescription as directed for the first few days.

The Second Day

You should remove the bandage after 24 hours and gauze and wear the compression stockings during the day for the next two weeks. Remove the stockings when taking a bath and going to bed.

Other precautions

  • Although the stockings may feel tight and uncomfortable, it is important that you wear them correctly to optimize the results of the procedure.
  • Try to walk as normally as possible to keep blood flowing properly
  • Avoid strenuous work or exercise for the first few days, and gradually build up the amount you need to do
  • Avoid driving for at least 48 hours
  • Avoid flying long haul (more than 4 hours flights) for at least 4 weeks after the procedure as it increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis

When to contact us

If you have any concerns about sclerotherapy or treating your varicose veins, please contact the Center for Vein Wellness.

Deep Vein Thrombosis also referred to as DVT is a venous complication that involves a blood clot (thrombus) forming in a deep vein in your body. DVT typically affects a deep vein in a leg running through the thigh and calf muscles of one of your legs.

What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis? | Vein Specialist in Ventura & Los Angeles

DVT is a complicated vein problem that may develop due to a number of factors such as medical conditions affecting how your blood clots; or prolonged immobility, like when confined to bed following an accident or surgery.

Symptoms of DVT

If you have deep vein thrombosis, you may not necessarily experience any pain or discomfort. However, most people report feeling:

  • A strong ache around the affected spot
  • Warm sensation in area around the clot
  • Swelling, pain, and tenderness around the calf
  • Red skin below your knee
  • Intense pain when bending the foot upwards towards the knee

If left untouched, DVT can lead to even more serious complications such as pulmonary embolism, which is a result of a piece of the blood clot in the leg vein breaking off and traveling in the bloodstream and lodging in the blood vessels in the lungs.

If pulmonary embolism develops, you may experience other symptoms like:

  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Chest pain or discomfort that intensifies when coughing or taking a deep breath
  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Rapid pulse

Pulmonary embolism affects about 10 percent of the people who delay treatment for deep vein thrombosis. So it is important that you visit a vein specialist at the Center for Vein Wellness as soon as you notice signs of DVT.

Treatment for deep vein thrombosis

If you suspect that your symptoms are due to deep vein thrombosis, Dr. Shah will perform a few tests to ascertain that. A D-dimer specialized blood test may be necessary to check for the presence of broken blood clots in your bloodstream. If you have recently had a surgical procedure, injury, or pregnancy, other tests may be necessary, like a Doppler ultrasound or a venogram.

If detected, you will have to take anticoagulant medicine to prevent your blood from clotting and making any existing clots bigger. Dr. Shah will also help you devise a strategy to prevent DVT from occurring again.

To learn more about deep vein thrombosis, please visit the Center for Vein Wellness.

Varicose veins affect more than one-quarter of the American population. So it’s likely that you have them, or you know a few people who have them. It is also likely that you or your friends have shared some information about varicose veins and other venous disorders, some of which may not be true. Let’s discuss some myths about varicose veins.

Myths About Varicose Veins | Vein Specialist Los Angeles & Ventura, CA

Common Myths About Varicose Veins

It is important that you have accurate information about varicose veins for a proper self-diagnosis, and to know when to seek professional help. Here are a few common misconceptions about varicose veins to enhance your understanding of the condition:

1. Varicose veins occur because of crossing your legs

Crossing your legs is not one of the risk factors of varicose veins. In itself, it cannot weaken or damage your valves, which is what causes blood to pool in certain veins and cause them to bulge. A sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise, on the other hand, are known risk factors.

2. Varicose veins are only a cosmetic concern

Bulging blue veins are undoubtedly unsightly, and likely to make you conscious about wearing attire that might reveal them. However, people with varicose veins eventually develop symptoms such as cramping, throbbing, dull achiness, and heaviness in the legs. Moreover, failure to treat varicose veins can lead to bigger problems including blood clots and leg ulcers. Early treatment helps to prevent any discomfort and higher treatment costs.

3. Varicose veins only occur in old age

Although aging is one of the risk factors of varicose veins, it can affect people of all ages depending on other factors such as genetics, obesity, or change in hormone levels due to pregnancy.

Treating Varicose Veins

There are also some misconceptions about the treatment of varicose veins. For instance, some people claim that the only way to treat them is through surgical stripping, some argue that the treatments are painful and expensive, and others say that there’s no point in treating them since they’ll return.

Fortunately for you, none of these claims are true. Today, there are many modern, non-invasive and painless treatments that help to detect all diseased veins – including those that are not visible on the surface of the skin – so the root of the problem is treated to prevent future recurrences. You only need to discuss with your vein specialist about the best treatment for your case.

Varicose Vein Consultation in Los Angeles & Ventura County

Please visit the Center for Vein Wellness or schedule a consultation with Dr. Shah to discuss your case and vein treatment options. We have multiple locations in Los Angeles and Ventura County.

Healthy veins rely on muscle contraction and valves to keep blood flowing forward – and against gravity – in your legs. But when these valves weaken, blood can begin to flow backwards and pool in the veins that are close to the surface of the skin, resulting in varicose veins.

Professions with Higher Risk for Varicose Veins | Vein Specialist Ventura

There are certain risk factors for varicose veins, including genetics, weight gain, gender, age, and prolonged standing or sitting. This means that people who work in professions that require them to spend a lot of time behind a desk or on their feet are at risk of developing varicose veins.

Some high-risk professions include:

1. Nursing

Nurses spend hours on their feet, care for one patient after the other. Moving around is not necessarily bad as it engages the leg muscles, which helps to push blood in the veins. But since they spend more time in a stationary position than in motion, the veins in their legs are forced to work hard against gravity, causing them to wear out faster than normal. This increases the risk of varicose veins.

2. Food and beverage service industry

From chefs to waiters to bartenders, these occupations require you to spend a lot of time on your feet either preparing meals/drinks or attending to patrons, with minimal movement especially during off-peak hours.

3. Office work

Any kind of work that requires you to sit at your desk for extended periods puts you at risk of developing varicose veins.

4. Hairdressing

Hair stylists and barbers spend a lot of time on their feet with minimal movement, which translates to minimal leg muscle movement and high risk of varicose veins.

5. Teaching

Teachers have one of the most sedentary lifestyles because they’re either sitting or standing, often beyond work hours when reviewing their students’ work, which puts them at considerable risk for varicose veins.

How to Avoid Varicose Veins

Although it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of varicose veins, you can slow down their progression by taking a few precautionary steps, such as scheduling regular breaks to walk around, maintaining healthy weight, and wearing custom compression stockings as advised by your vein specialist.

Varicose Vein Consultation in Los Angeles & Ventura County

Please visit the Center for Vein Wellness or schedule a consultation with Dr. Shah to discuss your case and vein treatment options. We have multiple locations in Los Angeles and Ventura County.

Your veins work hard everyday, fighting against gravity to return blood to the heart. But with age, weight gain, a sedentary lifestyle, genetic factors, and prolonged sitting and standing, the veins in your legs can expand, making the valves ineffective in preventing backflow. Let’s discuss the different types of venous diseases.

Types of Venous Diseases

Blood flow in the veins depends on muscle contraction to open the valves so blood can flow forward. When the muscles expand, the valves shut preventing blood from flowing backwards. But when some valves fail to close properly, blood begins to flow backwards – a condition known as reflux.

Types of Venous Diseases

This may in turn cause blood to pool in some veins, resulting in a number of venous diseases with varying symptoms and treatment options. Common vascular diseases include:

1. Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

When blood begins to pool in the main valves, it is redirected to smaller veins that sit closer to the surface of the skin to maintain blood flow. With the increased blood supply, these veins dilate and swell to appear like blue-purple, ropy bulges under the skin – referred to as varicose veins. They usually appear on your legs.

Smaller blood vessels – capillaries – can also be affected, appearing like small red-purple bursts on your thighs, knees, or calves. These are known as spider veins.

Varicose and spider veins are unattractive to look at, but are seldom painful. You may choose to get them removed for aesthetic purposes, or when they begin to cause pain and discomfort.

2. Blood Clots

Expanded veins and damaged valves often cause blood to flow slowly, causing it to pool, stick to the inner walls of the veins, and form clots. The clots in your veins are referred to as venous thromboembolisms, and are usually caused by:

  • Any condition that reduces the blood flow rate or thickens blood, like some tumors or congestive heart failure
  • Damaged veins due to infection or injury
  • Damaged endothelium – vein lining
  • Damaged valves inside the vein
  • Some hormones, including estrogen due to the use of birth control pills or pregnancy
  • Immobility, like due to prolonged bed rest
  • Genetic disorders that make your blood clot
  • Insufficient blood-thinning proteins (anticoagulant)
  • Surgical procedures on your legs and hips

If the clot develops in a vein near the surface of the skin, it is referred to as phlebitis or superficial venous thrombosis.

If the clot forms in a large vein inside the thigh, lower leg, or pelvis, it is referred to as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

If the clot breaks away from the vein wall and reaches your lungs, it is referred to as pulmonary embolism.

3. Chronic Venous Insufficiency

If no intervention is made to correct deep vein thrombosis (DVT), the prolonged blood pooling can cause your legs to swell and experience pain or pressure. This condition is referred to as chronic venous insufficiency.

You should visit a vein specialist immediately before internal fluids begin to leak into your feet and ankle tissues, which may break down your skin and cause it to wear away and darken.

4. Ulcers

These are the open sores or wounds caused by static blood flow that refuse to heal completely or keep returning. They usually manifest as venous stasis ulcers, which are found deep inside the leg, above the ankle.

When to See a Vein Specialist

Unfortunately, defective veins or venous valves that cause any of these diseases cannot be fixed or replaced. The only fix is removal through minimally invasive procedures, or valve repair for post-thrombotic syndrome.

Please visit the Center for Vein Wellness or schedule a consultation with Dr. Shah to discuss your case and venous disease treatment options.