Varicose veins can make life uncomfortable. They can affect the feet, ankles, and legs. And their symptoms sometimes include pain, swelling, throbbing, burning sensations, muscle cramps, and dry and sore skin.
But what if you’re a runner with varicose veins?
Is it OK to run with those veins, or could you hurt your body by doing so?F
The human body has three types of blood vessels: arteries, veins, and capillaries. The capillaries connect the arteries and veins. The arteries carry oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, and the veins take the oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart. There, the blood gets oxygenated once again.
A varicose vein is a vein that expands, changes colour, twists, forms bumps, or maybe does all of the above. Why do these things happen, though?
Inside every vein is a valve. The proper movement of vein valves keeps the blood going in one direction: towards the heart.
A veins valve can stop working correctly. As a result, the vein will have trouble directing blood back to the heart. Instead, the blood will flow backwards and pool inside the vein. That blood vessel is called a varicose vein.
In most cases, varicose veins represent a cosmetic rather than a medical problem. However, there are times when they cause pain or other complications that a doctor should treat.
Keep in mind, too, that varicose veins and vein valve malfunctions are part of a more significant disorder: chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
Many different factors can cause or contribute to CVI. They include ageing, malnutrition, sedentariness, obesity, hormone changes, and a genetic predisposition to this disorder.
Does Running Make CVI Worse?
Some medical studies have indicated that running can worsen the effects of varicose veins. But a conclusive link has yet to be established; more research is needed.
Even if running aggravates your varicose vein symptoms for a short period, it’s still worth it. Indeed, you have several reasons to keep up your runs:
- Running makes a person fitter and healthier in general.
- It’s perfect for strengthening the heart.
- When you run, you build up your calf muscles. And stronger calves can help propel blood upward through the veins, easing varicose vein problems.
You could experiment with other cardiovascular exercises if running irritates your varicose veins. Try swimming and bicycling, for example, to see if they’re gentler on your body.
Just to let you know, running never causes CVI. On the contrary, it can help prevent varicose veins since it boosts your circulatory health.
Making It Easier to Run With CVI
Here’s some good news: You can take certain precautions to make running easier on your varicose veins.
Running as fast as you can isn’t necessary for maximal health benefits. If it helps, you could slow your pace. If you run at the same speed for 20 minutes or longer — even if it’s slower than what you’re used to — you’ll boost your cardiovascular system considerably.
If you live near an indoor or outdoor track, doing most of your running, there is a great idea. The surfaces you run on can, make a real difference. Those tracks are usually made out of synthetic rubber, one that’s relatively soft.
Your body won’t have to absorb a harsh shock each time your foot strikes the ground.
You might utilise trails in the woods if you need access to such a track. Or you could even run on grass or dirt. Just try to find flat terrain to avoid tripping or twisting an ankle.
At the same time, avoid concrete and other hard surfaces since they can trigger or inflame varicose vein symptoms.
Compression socks can help minimise your varicose vein issues. You might wear these socks when you run or afterwards. Alternatively, you can wear them throughout the day.
When you have them on, these products gently press your veins, helping to correct blood flow.
The Right Shoes
Your choice of running shoes is impactful. Your footwear should offer support without being too tight. And your shoes ought to be correctly cushioned for extra shock absorption.
The Correct Posture
It makes sense to consult a physical trainer about the way you run. This person might find ways to alter your stance. Consequently, you could put less pressure on your varicose veins.
Running with Varicose Veins FAQs
Can I still run with varicose veins?
Yes, you can still run with varicose veins, but you must first talk to your doctor or a vascular specialist to determine if running is safe for you.
Will running make my varicose veins worse?
Running may worsen varicose veins, but it can be uncomfortable for some people with the condition. Your doctor or a vascular specialist can give you some advice on the action.
What should I do before running to protect my varicose veins?
Before running, remember to warm up properly and wear compression stockings to help support your veins. Your doctor or a vascular specialist can advise you on the best type of compression stockings for your needs.
How can I prevent varicose veins from developing in the first place?
To prevent varicose veins from developing, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a balanced diet. Wearing compression stockings can also help to prevent varicose veins from developing.
It’s important to note that a vascular specialist must evaluate patients with varicose veins. Based on the severity of the varicose veins, the specialist will decide whether running is safe.
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