Font Size: Increase | Decrease

Is it bad if I have bulging veins after a work out?

I know that after physical activity, blood flow is increased. However, I have noticed that after a workout or a run with a friend, my veins are large than theirs. Is this something to be concerned about?


Doctors Answers (6)

Exercise and heat dilate veins so they temporarily appear larger. If you have straight veins that appear enlarged after exercise, that is normal; if you have tortuous ropey veins, you may have varicose veins.

This is not uncommon especially in people who have larger, bulging muscles. With little body fat and large muscles, the veins sit very superficially. Providing there are no symptoms (heaviness, aching, throbbing, leg cramps, restlessness, skin changes) this is normal venous dilatation post exercise. If you are ever at a museum and see the old Greek statues of warriors, they often show similar veins on the legs.

This is a normal reaction and helps you to dissipate heat and regulate body temperature.

Veins dilate with increased blood flow and can be more prevalent in some people for various reasons. If you have symptoms such as cramping, swelling, numbness or tingling, then I suggest you have an evaluation for chronic venous insufficiency. Insurance should cover evaluation.

With varicose veins on the legs, bulging is the worst when the veins are congested and full of blood after prolonged standing and after an exercise work out. While exercising, muscular activity helps lift blood back up from the legs to the heart by compressing veins that run through the muscle (the deep venous system) which have one-way valves to assist returning blood for circulation. Immediately after exercise, the heart beat is still elevated with increased blood output and blood accumulates on the venous side of the circulation since muscular activity has ended and venous return is not adequate. I would recommend a 5 minute walking cool down period after exercise to reduce this venous congestion. This is just a symptom of your varicose veins and exercise is beneficial for the entire circulatory system. A venous evaluation by ultrasound would identify the source of the venous insufficiency and treatment for varicose veins are now office procedures with no down time where you can return immediately to work or school.

If the veins you're noticing are large and tortuous, it's possible some may be varicose veins. I would recommend you see a vein surgeon. If your legs look normal after a few hours, and you don't have any symptoms, then it may just be the work out that enlarges them temporarily.

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.