At Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC we see an increase in the number of patients who are experiencing discomfort due to varicose veins at this time of the year. Varicose veins occur when a weakened valve leaks some blood which collects and causes the vein to swell. Gravity plays a big role in that the further the blood has to be pumped up to get to the heart the greater the strain on the vein. All the extra time patients are spending on their feet—attending holiday gatherings, at the post office mailing packages, shopping, cooking, etc. means increased pressure on the veins in your legs and feet. Certain myths about varicose veins, however, keep patients from seeking treatment when they should. Myths we would like to dispel include:
Myth: Varicose veins don’t hurt. Many patients with varicose veins do not experience any uncomfortable symptoms but if the veins get bad enough you may feel:
- A sensation of heaviness or feeling like your legs are tired
- Dry, itchy skin around the vein
In fact, these symptoms are often what bring a patient to us. Longer hours on your feet and the dryness caused by winter air and indoor heat can all contribute to making these symptoms worse.
Myth: Varicose veins are just unsightly, they are not harmful. While it’s true that for many patients varicose veins are harmless they can signal a circulation or blood flow problem. Certain diseases, such as diabetes, have circulatory issues associated with them and that’s why it’s important to have one of our podiatrists, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight or Dr. Marzana Mleczko, examine your varicose veins and assess whether or not they may be part of a more serious medical condition.
Myth: There is no treatment for varicose veins. There are a number of ways you can help relieve symptoms of varicose veins. Avoid wearing tight socks and stockings. Change position frequently—if you’re sitting at your desk, get up and walk around; if you’re standing, sit and elevate your feet periodically. Exercising regularly will help improve circulation and maintaining a healthy weight will reduce pressure on veins. The foot doctor may also recommend compression stockings and in severe cases a minor surgical procedure that can eliminate a varicose vein.