Why Are Varicose Veins Common in Athletes?

Athletes train hard, eat well, stay hydrated and maintain a healthy weight. It doesn’t seem fair that they might develop varicose veins. Varicose veins typically occur due to weakened valves or increased blood pressure in the veins. They’re also often a result of prolonged sitting or standing¬—but they can affect anyone. For athletes however, bulging, ropy, painful veins cannot only cause pain and discomfort; they can hinder physical performance and affect stamina.

Six reasons why athletes develop varicose veins
Athletes who are most vulnerable to varicose veins focus on sports that rely on the legs to support additional weight over extended periods of time, like weightlifting, backpacking and skiing. Running, cycling or other repetitive motion activities also increase the amount of stress in the legs and veins. Certain sports can increase your risk of varicose veins, including:
• Weightlifting – Excessive straining can damage or worsen already damaged vein valves.
• Running – Prolonged periods of time upright can cause blood to pool in the lower legs.
• Cycling – Prolonged periods of time sitting can cause blood to pool in the lower legs.
• Tennis – Short impacts on the legs can damage your vein valves.
• Skiing – Increased intra-abdominal pressure can damage vein valves.
• Football – Extreme physical contact can easily damage vein valves or break existing varicose veins.

Signs of early varicose veins
Athletes should be aware of the earliest signs and symptoms of varicose veins. Carolina Vein Specialists recommend seeking treatment at the first signs of varicose veins, before they start to affect physical performance or stamina. Here are the symptoms to watch our for:
• Painful, achy or heavy legs
• Mild swelling in the ankles or feet
• Throbbing or cramping in the legs
• Itching sensations in the lower legs

Whether you’re an athlete or not, the skilled vein care specialists at Carolina Vein Specialists are ready to help you feel well again and reach your peak physical performance. Contact our vein clinic in North Carolina at 336-536-6724 to begin your journey to varicose vein-free legs.