Standing for long periods of time may increase your risk of developing varicose veins or make them worse if you already have them.
If you work on your feet, you may not be able to avoid standing. Here are some tips to help you keep your legs healthy.
1. Change Your Position Frequently
Varicose veins tend to develop in the legs and feet because it is harder for the blood to flow back to the heart from the lower body. This is especially true while standing—gravity increases the pressure that your blood has to work against.
If you stand while working, it is important to change your position frequently. If possible, do this at least every 30 minutes. The best alternate position is sitting with your legs elevated, preferably above the level of your heart.
If you can, lie on your back during your break with your legs resting up a wall. This position lets the blood flow from your legs and gives the valves of your veins a break. When you are done, stand up slowly to avoid lightheadedness.
2. Activate Your Leg Muscles While Standing
When leg muscles contract, it squeezes the deep veins of the leg. This helps move the blood back toward the heart. If you stand at work, contract your leg muscles frequently to keep the blood moving.
The calf muscles are some of the main blood movers in the leg. To engage these muscles, try these exercises while you are working:
- Point and flex your foot until the calf muscle contracts
- Squeeze your feet together in your shoes
- Raise yourself up and down on your tiptoes several times
- Walk around often
3. Wear the Right Clothing for Vein Health
Avoid wearing clothing that makes it harder for the blood to flow up the leg. This includes knee-high nylons, girdles, or exercise pants that are tight in the thighs and waist.
Compression stockings and socks are specially designed to provide a gentle pressure from the foot up the leg. This supports the movement of blood toward the heart. These stockings are available at many pharmacies.
Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes every day. When you wear low-heeled shoes, your calf will contract more as you walk. This encourages the movement of blood from your legs.
4. Take Care of Your Health
A healthy lifestyle may reduce your risk of developing varicose veins by improving your blood circulation. This includes: