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How frequently should I elevate my legs if I have varicose veins?

I have been told that elevating your legs up is for varicose veins. How often and for how long should I prop up my legs? I have a busy day, but if little things like propping up my legs can help than I will make the time.


Doctors Answers (6)

Elevating your legs, especially while lying down for 15-20 minutes, will allow the congested veins of the leg to drain back to the heart with temporary relief from sore legs. Wearing compression hose and walking is also very helpful to return venous blood and fluids back up to the heart. If varicose veins are causing symptoms, I would recommend treating them at a vein clinic for long term relief.

If you have symptoms associated with your varicose veins it is advised to elevate your legs more often to drain the pooling blood due to valve reflux. However, if you are measured and fitted for a medical grade compression stocking (knee or thigh length) you will be able to reduce this. If your varicose veins are coming from venous insufficiency (damaged valves, inherited usually) you should be evaluated by an experienced vascular surgeon who specializes in treating varicose veins. This will include an ultrasound examination. These problems, if symptomatic, can be treated by minimally invasive laser ablation in an office setting under local anesthetic. You will be able to walk in and out. Elevation will provide temporary relief, but will do little to control symptoms and progression of this problem.

You should elevate as much as is reasonably possible. Support compression socks are usually more useful.

There is no simple answer. The more swelling and discomfort that you experience, the more elevation is likely to help. Many of my patients try to elevate their legs for 10-15 minutes, two or three times a day.

You should avoid high heels, walk a lot, and elevate as often as you like. It all helps. Varicose veins with symptoms that affect you are covered by most insurance providers. You should make an appointment to be evaluated. Medical graded compression socks are also very helpful. Your phlebologist will be able to help with a long term treatment plan.

You should elevate your legs as often as you can afford to for about 10 to 15 minutes at least. Obviously if you are busy this can be a problem. That is why many people cannot do this.

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