My Aching Legs! What to Do for Varicose Veins

Posted by Linda Ly, M.D. on Apr 9, 2016 9:00:00 AM

I saw a statistic recently that about half of men and women over 50 have varicose veins. I’m not surprised. A lot of my patients tell me they have pain or are unhappy about the look of their legs because of this problem. 

Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins you can see just under the skin. They’re usually in the legs and feet.


Try These Tips First 

Although varicose veins rarely are serious medical problems, they can cause discomfort. The first step to treating them – and often the only treatment needed – involves simple lifestyle changes.

  • Try compression stockings, which cause pressure on the legs and help to lower swelling and improve circulation. If symptoms are mild, regular support panty hose might help.
  • Exercise in ways that move your legs, like walking.
  • Slim down if you are overweight.
  • Elevate your legs when sitting or sleeping. If possible, raise your legs to a level higher than your heart.
  • Don’t stand or sit for long periods.
  • Avoid crossing your legs.
  • Stay away from clothes that are tight in the legs, groin or abdomen.
  • Wear flats instead of heels.

vericose_support_hose-159091398.jpgNext Steps 

If these tips don’t help varicose veins feel better, or if you are bothered by the way they make your legs look, several medical procedures are available to remove or close problem veins. If the veins cause skin ulcers or blood clots, a procedure might be a good idea as well. 

Varicose vein treatments range from injections, such as sclerotherapy, to laser procedures or surgery. Your doctor can advise you about which would be best for you. 

When to Seek Help 

Talk to your doctor if lifestyle changes don’t work or: 

  • A vein becomes swollen, tender or red, or starts to bleed.
  • You have a rash or sores on your leg.
  • The skin on your ankle or calf changes color.
  • If pain is so bad it interferes with your regular activities. 

Do you have varicose veins? What helps with the pain and discomfort?


Linda Ly, M.D., is a board-certified Family Medicine physician who cares for patients at Meyerland Plaza Clinic.  Her clinical interests include preventive medicine, hypertension and diabetes.



Topics: spider veins, varicose veins, sclerotherapy

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