Font Size: Increase | Decrease

How does exercise affect varicose veins?

I developed varicose veins in my legs after my recent pregnancy. I am looking forward to getting back in shape and I love to work out. How will exercise affect my varicose veins? Are there any types of exercise that I should avoid or that might be beneficial?


Doctors Answers (6)

It is common to notice varicose veins during and after a pregnancy. Aerobic exercises including walking, swimming, biking, and stair steps are beneficial by reducing venous pressure in leg veins. Aerobic exercises are much better overall for general and cardiovascular health than high impact exercise, high exertion (boot camp type) workouts, and lifting heavy weights, all of which have a much higher incidence of injuries and joint wear compared to aerobic exercises.

Exercise will only benefit you.

Exercise stimulates blood flow within the vein and empties out the leg, lowering venous pressure. It will not reverse varicose veins, but will help stabilize them.

Almost all exercise is beneficial for varicose veins. The only caveat is for very heavy weight lifting, which can put extra pressure on the veins. Aerobic exercise is especially beneficial.

Exercise in general is good for leg circulation including the veins, so go ahead and have fun doing what you like. Your varicose veins may become temporarily more prominent with exercise, as they will with heat and menses, but will return their previous state afterward. You may see a vein specialist to discuss treatment whenever the veins cause either cosmetic or symptomatic concerns, or to simply decrease the chance of thrombosis.

You should be able to do any type of exercise without a problem. Exercise creates pumping of the calf and thigh muscles which promotes good venous return. If the veins are a problem, you should be evaluated by a board certified surgeon who specializes in vein treatments including ultrasound examination.

Disclaimer: The information found on this website is intended to be general medical information; it is not a medical diagnosis or medical advice. Specific medical advice can only be given with full knowledge of all of the facts and circumstances of your health situation. You should seek consultation with a doctor familiar with your medical condition. Posting a question on this website does not create a doctor-patient relationship. All questions you post will be available to the public; do not include confidential information in your question.