Sit back, relax, and put your legs up. No, really. One of the best at-home varicose vein treatments is elevating legs on a regular basis. So indulge in a little rest and prop your legs up on some pillows to improve symptoms chronic venous insufficiency such as swollen legs and feet.
For individuals with busy schedules, taking the time to rest and relax may seem counterintuitive. However, elevating legs can have numerous benefits to your health and can be one remedy to the leg pain you experience.
Why Elevating Legs Helps with Swollen Legs and Feet, Leg Pain, and More!
Varicose vein symptoms range far and wide. One individual may experience itchy skin and leg ulcers, while another may suffer from sharp leg pain and leg swelling that makes them virtually immobile. (Learn more about why varicose vein symptoms vary from person to person here.)
No matter the symptoms you experience, leg elevation is one sure way to provide some relief. Chronic venous insufficiency is caused when blood is unable to circulate back up to the heart, pooling instead in extremities like legs and feet. This is particularly true when you sit or stand for long periods at a time.
By elevating your legs, you give blood the chance to travel back through your legs and into your heart. To do this, be sure that the legs are elevated above your heart line, meaning you may need to lie down on your back or at a slight angle.
How Long Should I Elevate My Legs?
Start by elevating legs for 15 minutes three to four times a day. If that is a bit of a stretch for your daily schedule, fit at least one 15 minute period into your day and regularly flex leg muscles and move throughout the day.
Bend your legs or move feet and toes up and down at your desk or wherever you may remain sedentary for a majority of the day. When you can, take a short walking break and stretch your legs once an hour to improve circulation when you have less time for leg elevation.
Elevating legs for less than 15 minutes at a time may not be enough time for blood to flow back towards your heart adequately. In these cases, you won’t notice much of a difference in symptoms. The best approach is an elevation period of 15 minutes or longer several times each day.
Mistakes to Avoid when Elevating Legs
Sounds simple enough, but be cautious when elevating legs to avoid making these mistakes:
- Keeping legs below your heart: Even raising legs a little at the end of each day will help to decrease the pressure put on them. But for the best results, make sure that your legs are elevated high enough above your heart so that gravity can do its job and easily push blood back.
- Improperly positioning legs, neck, or back: Incorrect placement of your legs, neck, or back can result in strained muscles and additional complications. Talk with a vein specialist about how you should be sitting or lying down to avoid such strains.
- Wearing too tight of clothing: Tight pants and other clothing can hinder blood flow when elevating legs (and at other times!). Change into something loose and comfortable during these sessions. Consider wearing looser clothing throughout the day as another way to improve circulation.
- Not keeping to a regular schedule: For leg elevation to work well, you need to keep up with it consistently. That means elevating legs every day, especially if you suffer from chronic venous insufficiency.
Work with a vein specialist to see the best improvement and for other advice on elevating legs and varicose veins treatment. Contact experts at Heart of Dixie Vein and Vascular Center if you live in Southern Utah, Mesquite, NV, or surrounding areas! We’ll create a personalized treatment plan for your varicose veins and other venous complications.