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Will laser treatment to remove varicose veins affect my mobility?

I am running a race soon so I want to wear shorts, but I have very noticeable varicose veins. The race is in a few weeks, and I was wondering if I would be unable to walk and run for a while after getting laser treatment for the varicose veins on my leg. Are the after effects lingering, and would exercising too quickly after the treatment cause harm?


Doctors Answers (10)

Following a laser vein ablation for varicose veins there is really no specific down time and you may return to regular activities immediately including return to work or school. Aerobic exercise is very beneficial after vein procedures and is recommended as part of the after care. I do recommend limiting high impact exercises after the procedure for 1 month and bruising is also possible in the thigh region for the Greater Saphenous Vein treatment. By improving the venous return the overall circulation also benefits by a more efficient blood return from the legs to the heart. The defective varicose vein hinders normal flow and removing it reduces or eliminates sore aching legs at the end of the day. New veins grow easily as needed through out your life time, but when a new vein is connected to a poorly functioning and over pressured vein it will also eventually become damaged. Over time a person with problem veins ends up with too many veins, most of which do not function normally. So treatment is both corrective of the problem and preventive of further progression of varicose veins. With the short amount of time until your race (which is high impact exercise), I would suggest doing the procedure after the race.

It depends on what type of laser treatment you are considering. If you are looking at endovenous laser treatment to close your deeper veins, then you will need to stop training for 2 weeks. If you are considering laser treatment for superficial spider veins, then you can continue your training.

Laser or radiofrequency treatment to abnormal veins will lighten them and make it easier for you to walk.

I you are have endovenous laser ablation of a saphenous vein (laser inserted into the vein to seal it) you would be advised not to run a race like this so soon. You will have localized inflammation and maybe some residual tenderness but training may be limited. Your surgeon may also remove some of the varicose veins at the same setting (microphlebectomy). We recommend our patients resume their exercise routines gradually starting with walking, treadmill and elliptical and gradually increase distance and intensity of workouts over about 10 days. I would delay your treatment until the race, if it is important to you. You should not have any lingering effects once healed after these procedures.

In my practice, I have patients refrain from strenuous activity, such as running for 3 to 5 days. Most patient will be back to full activity at that time, but some may take a little longer. If you were my patient, I would ask you how important the race is, and if it is important that you perform well. I would recommend that you wait until after the race to have the procedure. The veins have been there for a long time and waiting a few more weeks so you can enjoy your race would be the best option.

It really depends on the type of laser and the size of the veins in your leg. Also, good luck with your race.

You should have no problems walking after laser ablation. I would not recommend running for at least one week because of the discomfort, not that you would cause damage. One of the risks of laser ablation is nerve pain which can cause burning pain or numbness in the leg along the distribution of the nerve.

Some people have aching or pulling afterwards. If you know you are running a race you may want to schedule to have it done after the race so as not to interfere with your plans and training. We usually ask that you wear compression hose afterwards for several weeks and no high impact activities or heavy weight lifting for a period of time afterwards. We ask that you walk and stay active immediately afterwards but usually don't want people to push it running a marathon or doing anything to crazy for a few weeks following the procedure. I would see a physician, have an ultrasound and then you can decide when you could fit it into your schedule. There is no emergency or rush to treat the veins.

Walking is good. I would avoid running for two weeks.

Doctors vary regarding exercise advice following thermal ablation so you should check with your treating physician for specifics. I require my patients to avoid aerobic exercise of any kind for two weeks after the procedure, and to avoid running or lifting heavy weights for a full 6 weeks. Engaging in exercise prematurely would not be dangerous but might cause re-opening of the treated vein(s), thereby necessitating further treatment.

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