The most common leg and vein problems are varicose veins and spider veins. They may not be serious to begin with, but could lead to more serious health issues if they are not treated. Prolonged sitting and standing puts excessive pressure on your legs, causing the veins to stop working properly. This is called venous insufficiency.
The blood needs to flow from the feet back to the heart. The veins in the legs have small valves that help to push the blood against gravity. When you sit or stand for long periods, this flow becomes blocked and starts to pool in the veins. This puts pressure on the veins, causing the valves to become weak.
Your body is designed to move. When you sit too long every day, even a good workout cannot counteract the effects. Most adults in the U.S. sit for nine or ten hours each day. This may seriously affect your overall health. When you get enough exercise, your blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides are processed properly. You decrease your risk of obesity and diabetes. More fatty acids can clog your heart because your muscles are burning less fat.
According to the American College of Cardiology, women who sit for ten hours every day are much more at risk of developing heart disease than women who sit for five hours or less. Other problems that may occur are neck pain, shoulder pain, back problems, weak abdominal muscles and hip problems.
Long-term standing also causes venous insufficiency. While standing requires 20 percent more energy than sitting, it can cause veins to overwork, causing weakness. It may also lead to long-term back pain, muscle fatigue and musculoskeletal disorders. Many people stand for more than five hours each day, including teachers, bank tellers and nurses. Two hours of standing may not cause any problems, but after that, problems may arise.
According to an article in Human Factors, the strain on the legs from standing too long is often not perceived immediately. This could be avoided if the person took regular breaks from standing throughout the day.
If you are beginning to develop vein problems, you may have some symptoms before the bluish, bulging vein starts to show. The symptoms include:
• A heavy feeling in the lower legs
• Muscle aching and cramping
• Pain that increases after sitting or standing for long periods
• Itching for no apparent reason around one or more veins
• Ulcers or sores that erupt near the ankle and lower leg
• Brown pigmentation on the feet and lower leg
• A rash around the ankles
At the Miami Vein Center in Miami, we offer several non-invasive treatments for varicose veins and spider veins. You may first be asked to wear compression stockings, keep your feet elevated when you are sitting and get regular exercise. During a consultation with our specialist, you can have your veins diagnosed and another treatment may be recommended. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more and visit our treatment center.