legs-508891_960_720At Premier Vein Clinics in Knoxville, we realize the warm summer months can pose a problem for our patients who suffer from varicose veins. For some, the concern is cosmetic — embarrassment about ropey, bulging veins in their legs causes many people to wear long pants or skirts even as the temperatures soar. But for others, the season brings about more uncomfortable physical symptoms. There’s a reason we often hear at this time of year, “Could the summer heat be making my varicose vein symptoms feel worse?”

Yes, warm temperatures could be to blame if you notice more swelling or pain in your legs. Varicose veins form when one-way valves in the leg veins fail to keep blood moving upwards, to the heart. If the valves are weak or damaged, blood pools in the bottom of the vein, which causes the bluish ropy swelling appearance. This increased venous pressure can cause a heavy aching sensation, pain, throbbing, or swelling in your legs.

Then, when our bodies heat up from high temperatures or activity, the veins dilate to allow for more blood flow. But If your veins were already having trouble regulating the blood flow, this could make the swelling worse. The extra swelling may then contribute to increased heaviness, pain, or fatigue in your legs.  

Also, make sure you drink a sufficient amount of water and stay hydrated during the summer heat. Dehydration can cause the tissues in your legs to swell and your muscles to cramp and ache. Limiting or avoiding alcoholic beverages may also help lessen the chance of dehydration and increased varicose vein symptoms.

If you find that your varicose vein symptoms worsen this summer, you may want to try elevating your legs 45º above your heart for 15-20 minutes, 3 times a day. Propping your legs up will facilitate blood flow from the legs towards your heart, which may ease swelling and fatigue. You could also talk with a vein specialist about also wearing compression stockings to improve circulation in your legs.

Beyond that, know that the treatment for varicose veins is easier than it’s ever been, and no longer means an overnight hospital stay or an extended recovery process. With a number of minimally invasive treatments to choose from, varicose vein procedures can now be performed in office in about an hour and require little to no downtime.

Premier Vein Clinics of Knoxville is offering free screenings for varicose veins through August.

So if you are suffering from pain or swelling in your legs and are concerned that the summer heat will put you in hiding, request an appointment for a free screening with one of the local board certified vascular surgeons at Premier Vein Clinics in Knoxville. Don’t let another season pass by before restoring your healthy legs, free of varicose veins.