At Premier Vein Clinics in Knoxville, we see firsthand every day just how common varicose veins are. Did you know that nearly half the American population has them to some degree? For some, they are a slight cosmetic nuisance. For others, they cause pain or present medical complications that require treatment. If you are concerned about developing varicose veins—or if you already have and want to keep them from getting worse— here are 5 practices to promote healthy veins:

1. Know your history.

Family history, that is. While there are many factors that may contribute to weakened veins—such as gender, obesity, and lifestyle—heredity is a major indicator of whether someone might develop varicose veins. Find out if your grandparents or parents had varicose veins. Premier vascular surgeon C. Scott Callicutt, MD, FACS advises, “If varicose veins are genetic, wear compression stockings.” The Premier Veins Clinics in Knoxville can help you determine which compression stocking is best for you.

2. Avoid prolonged periods of sitting or standing.

Sitting or standing for extended periods of time can cause undue pressure in the veins of the legs. Over time, this can weaken the structure of the veins and cause blood to pool which then may cause the vein to protrude, which is what causes the bulging, ropy appearance of varicose veins. If sitting or standing for long periods of time is unavoidable, try to shift positions frequently and take a break every hour to stand if you’ve been sitting, or sit if you’ve been standing.

3. Put your feet up.

At the end of the day, lie down with your feet and legs propped above your head for 10 to 15 minutes. Elevating your feet and legs allows the blood to flow more easily towards your heart, and may help mitigate any pooling of blood in the veins.

4. Exercise.

Regular physical activity can help to control weight and maintain muscle in the legs. Low impact exercise such as swimming and biking promote overall circulatory health and proper blood flow, important for healthy veins.

5. Watch what you wear.

For women, it is a good choice to opt for flats over heels, allowing your calf muscle to flex and contract naturally during normal daily use. If you aren’t wearing the proper size and shoe fit, varicose vein symptoms such as swollen feet or legs may become even more bothersome.

There is no one simple act causing you to have varicose veins. Be mindful of your risk factors including your medical history and personal medical condition. Practice the tactics listed above to reduce your likelihood of developing venous disease. If you are already experiencing symptoms of varicose veins, give Premier Vein Clinics of Knoxville a call at (865) 588-8229, or schedule your initial consultation today.