If your varicose or spider veins aren’t causing significant complications, your doctor may recommend at-home treatment to help you reduce discomfort associated with these conditions.
Even simple lifestyle changes and other healthy habits can help you manage your symptoms, slow down the progress of the condition and even help prevent complications like sores or bleeding.
Several lifestyle changes can help decrease discomfort and help slow the development of varicose veins. These include:
- Exercise: Blood circulation plays a large role in the development of varicose veins, and moving around improves your blood flow. Walking is a great exercise, and your doctor can recommend appropriate activity levels and any limits you should place on yourself.
- Maintain a healthy weight and watch your diet: Losing weight will help with varicose veins by relieving the pressure off of your veins. Diet plays a large role in weight and in preventing swelling—limiting salt in the diet helps prevent the kind of swelling often found due to water retention.
- Wear proper clothing: In general, look for low-heeled shoes and avoid high heels—low-heeled shoes force the calf muscles to work more, which is better for the veins. In addition, don’t wear tight clothing around the waist, legs or groin, as this can restrict blood flow.
- Elevate your legs: Take several short breaks each day and elevate your legs to a level higher than your heart. Many people choose to lie down with their legs resting on pillows. This helps improve circulation in the legs.
- Avoid staying in one position for too long: Avoid long periods of sitting or standing, and change your position regularly to encourage circulation. Also, try to avoid crossing your legs.
- Wear compression garments: Wearing compression stockings helps for some people.
Treating Your Legs Post-Injury
In some cases, superficial varicose veins can cause issues like bruising or bleeding if you scratch or cut the skin over a vein. Small blood clots may also form. A couple of recommendations for some of these cases include:
- If you bump your leg hard enough that you know it’s likely to bruise, elevate it and apply ice or a cold pack as soon as possible for the next couple hours. This might reduce bleeding and bruising.
- If you cut or scratch the skin over a vein, there’s a chance it may bleed significantly. Elevate the leg and apply firm pressure over the site of the bleeding—continue application for 15 minutes, and do not check to see if the bleeding has stopped sooner. If bleeding hasn’t stopped after 15 minutes, apply pressure again for another 15 minutes, up to 45 minutes total in 15-minute increments.
Managing Superficial Phlebitis at Home
Superficial phlebitis refers to a small blood clot located in a superficial varicose vein. Signs of superficial phlebitis include tenderness and swelling over the vein, and potentially a feeling of firmness.
- In some cases, doctors will recommend that you elevate the leg and apply heat with a warm, damp cloth or a heating pad set on low.
- Your doctor may also recommend a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Read all instructions, and be careful to follow all safety guidelines.
- If you’re unsure of the cause of your symptoms or how to treat them, speak to your doctor.
For more information on how to manage your vein conditions at home, ask your doctor for recommendations.
“Varicose Veins – Home Treatment.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/varicose-veins-home-treatment
“Varicose veins (Self-management).” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/varicose-veins/manage/ptc-20178147