Eight Exercises to Treat Varicose Veins

15 February, 2021
Exercise is the most efficient way to avoid the appearance of varicose veins. However, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet and avoiding excess fats and salts are also fundamental.

Varicose veins are dilatations that make circulation more difficult. Furthermore, it’s very common for women who work every day at a desk to suffer from them. Exercise is one of the most efficient ways to avoid or reduce the appearance of and successfully treat varicose veins.

Also known as the most common circulatory disease after hypertension, varicose veins are primarily caused by prolonged time standing or sitting. More importantly, if varicose veins aren’t treated, they can cause serious health problems. For example, consider thrombosis or ulcers.

The best exercises to treat varicose veins

A specialist examining some varicose veins.
Varicose veins are bulging veins related to venous insufficiency. To treat them it’s necessary to make lifestyle adjustments.

Varicose veins are a health problem whose most frequent causes are age, hormonal changes -especially in women-, overweight, congenital circulation problems, or standing or sitting in the same position for too long, according to a MedlinePlus publication.

The importance of these factors is further confirmed by a study published in Annals of Epidemiology. This research also offers the curious fact that this problem is more common in Western countries… perhaps as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle?

Precisely, being overweight is one of the main risk factors for venous diseases, according to a study published by the European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery. Therefore, a change in habits becomes essential when starting treatment.

Physical activity is one of the most effective ways to prevent the appearance of or reduce varicose veins. Exercising helps strengthen leg muscles and promotes blood circulation, according to an article in the Merck Manual.

It isn’t necessary to carry out intense and rigorous training. Easy routines you can do at home without the need for special machines are enough.

Consult a physician before exercising to treat varicose veins

Beyond the benefits of physical activity, if the varicose veins you have are very pronounced and in large numbers, we recommend consulting a doctor. The professional will evaluate your symptoms and, based on this, will prescribe some type of medication and a special exercise routine.

Many times, people with varicose veins tend to suffer from cramps or spasms, associated with the circulatory problem that this pathology entails. These exercises to treat varicose veins will help to alleviate the ailments and, of course, to have more toned and attractive legs.

Read More: Things You Can Do To Prevent Spider Veins

1. Pedaling

This is a very common exercise routine used to treat varicose veins. It consists of simulating that you are pedaling a bicycle in the air.

You can do this while laying in bed on a yoga mat. Pedal about 30 times and repeat as many times as you would like, making sure you rest in between sessions. However, if you’re a beginner in physical exercise, you can start with fewer repetitions and increase progressively.

2. Cycling

A woman cycling in her living room.

Related to the previous point made, we recommend using the bicycle. It is an excellent exercise for the whole body, especially for your legs.

Make it a habit to get out every day to the park or to go shopping while riding a bike, you’ll be doing exercise without knowing it. You can even take your family along with you.

If you’re not really into going to the park and prefer to stay at home, you can choose to use a stationary bike, which does the same thing a normal one does.

3. Leg separations

You can do these while sitting on a chair, on a rug, or directly on the bed. It’ll be difficult in the beginning, because it requires some strength but, with time, your legs will get stronger and it won’t be so complicated to accomplish. These are the steps you should follow:

  • Firstly, lift up and spread your legs apart, then put them together by touching the tips of your toes together
  • Do 20 repetitions of this exercise, although everything will depend on your physical condition

4. Treat varicose veins with leg rotations

Firstly, lay down on a yoga mat, rug or bed and lift up a leg. Then, with your leg stretched, do clockwise movements. Do 20 rotations and repeat with the other leg but with counterclockwise motions.

5. Heel-toe flexes

Like the previous ones, this exercise is good for circulation. Therefore, if you suffer from cramps, you can do it every night before going to sleep or in the morning, after getting up. It’s recommended to do these sitting down.

  • Firstly, support your heels on the floor and lift up the tips of your feet
  • Then relax the tips of your feet and lift your heels
  • Finally, repeat 20-30 times

6. Toe flexes

This exercise to treat varicose veins is quite similar to the previous one. It’s excellent for improving venous return, besides toning the calf muscles. It’s performed as follows:

  • Firstly, lay down on your bed or on a rug on the floor and stretch your legs
  • Then, flex your toes forwards and back, repeating this movement 20 times per leg

Read More: Six Types of Squats To Give Your Legs a Workout At Home

7. Feet together

You can do these sitting or laying down, whichever way is more comfortable for you. Put together and separate repeatedly the tips of your feet and repeat this exercise 20 times.

8. Tiptoes

A man doing yoga on his tip toes.

Although it isn’t a scientifically proven effect, some say that walking on your tiptoes or heels helps to stretch the muscles and prevent spasms. You can remain in the same spot or walk on tiptoes or heels. Repeat this as many times as you want and rest between each session.

Habits to accompany these exercises to treat varicose veins

Beyond the unquestionable benefits of physical activity to prevent and treat varicose veins, it’s also necessary to follow a healthy lifestyle to reduce the likelihood of suffering from this pathology.

In this regard, professionals at the Mayo Clinic recommend maintaining a healthy weight, not wearing tight clothing, and not spending long periods of time without moving your legs. Don’t forget that these habits will also benefit your general health, so we highly recommend applying them!

  • van Rij, A. M., De Alwis, C. S., Jiang, P., Christie, R. A., Hill, G. B., Dutton, S. J., & Thomson, I. A. (2008). Obesity and impaired venous function. European journal of vascular and endovascular surgery : the official journal of the European Society for Vascular Surgery, 35(6), 739–744. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejvs.2008.01.006
  • Jennifer L. Beebe-Dimmer, John R. Pfeifer, Jennifer S. Engle, David Schottenfeld. 2005. The Epidemiology of Chronic Venous Insufficiency and Varicose Veins. Annals of Epidemiology.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2004.05.015.
    (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1047279704000894)
  • Venas varicosas. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/es-es/diseases-conditions/varicose-veins/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350649
  • Brian D. Johnston. 2018. Beneficios del ejercicio. Manual Merck. https://www.merckmanuals.com/es-us/hogar/fundamentos/ejercicio-y-forma-f%C3%ADsica/beneficios-del-ejercicio
  • Venas varicosas. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/ency/article/001109.htm