From your health and wellness experts at Prisma Health

What can you do about varicose veins

Palmetto Health-USC Vascular Surgery
Varicose veins – they’re those dark blue or purple cord-like lines that show up on your legs and they are frustratingly common. But, how much do you really know about the condition or how to address it?
According to the Society for Vascular Surgery, varicose veins are veins that stop functioning properly and become twisted, enlarged and visible on the skin’s surface.  
Samantha R. Cox, DO, a surgeon with Palmetto Health-USC Vascular Surgery, said women are more likely to develop varicose veins, but both men and women are affected. Other risk factors include:
  • Having a family history of varicose veins
  • Being pregnant
  • Standing for long periods of time
  • Having had varicose veins in the past; varicose veins can reoccur
And while many cases of varicose veins have no symptoms, Dr. Cox said they can result in painful symptoms, such as:  
  • Aching, tiredness or heaviness in the legs
  • Burning, stinging or itching on the area over the veins
  • Some also develop wounds such as ulcers on the ankle
Dr. Cox encourages women and men to talk to their doctor if they’re concerned about varicose veins. “Whether it is for pain, cosmetic reasons or both, it is never wrong to address your varicose veins with your doctor. Your doctor is there to help find the best solution for you.”
She said there are actions that can be taken to help improve varicose vein symptoms. These include:
  • Exercising regularly
  • Avoiding sitting or standing for long periods
  • Elevating your legs
  • Using graduated compression stockings
“If you choose to seek help from a physician, they may suggest over-the-counter or prescription compression stockings,” said Dr. Cox. “Surgery options also are available when conservative measures do not improve symptoms, including minimally invasive surgery.”

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