Q: I am a 45-year old hair stylist and have spent most work days over the last 20 years on my feet. Lately, I’ve been noticing broken, red and blue veins around my knees and on my calves. I thought it was because my mother and grandmother had them but then I started wondering, is my job giving me varicose veins?

A: Good question. Because standing all day can be so uncomfortable for the lower back, feet, and legs, it seems only logical to blame these kinds of jobs for the development of spider and varicose veins, too. But the cause of your vein troubles is most likely the family history that you mentioned. Unfortunately, you just can’t fight genetics when it comes to problem veins! The good news is that there are things you can do to minimize discomfort and approve the appearance of your legs.

While standing on your feet all day cannot cause varicose veins in and of itself, it can certainly aggravate any existing problems you already had or were likely to develop anyway. This is because your veins have to work harder when you are standing due to gravity. The valves in your legs help keep blood moving in the upward direction, from the extremities to the heart. Once the valves have weakened due to hereditary venous insufficiency, it becomes harder to pump blood upwards. Blood flows backward and pools in the legs, causing increased pressure which leads to symptoms as well as visible, unsightly veins.

If you have noticed varicose or spider veins and are experiencing symptoms such as tired, sore, achy, throbbing, restless or itching legs (or all of the above), it is a good idea for you to speak to a vein specialist. Your doctor can prescribe the appropriate, high-quality compression stockings for you to provide maximum support and improve blood flow while you work(standing or sitting for long hours). You may also need an office procedure to eliminate the problem veins. This may include an endovenous laser ablation procedure, micro-phlebectomy or sclerotherapy. If you are wary of vein procedures, don’t be! Vein stripping is a thing of the past—modern venous procedures use cutting-edge technology and are minimally-invasive with little downtime and beautiful results.

In the meantime, elevate your legs as much as possible. You should also exercise regularly to improve your circulation as well as to maintain a healthy weight, which will help to reduce pressure on your legs and veins.

If you’d like to speak to Dr. Vincent Gardner regarding spider, varicose, or other problem veins, please call The Vein Institute at 423-680-6512 to schedule a personal consultation.

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