There are so many myths surrounding varicose veins that often it’s difficult to know which are true and which are not. We’ve dissected 5 of the most common varicose vein misconceptions. By separating fiction from fact, you and a vein specialist can determine what’s the best course of treatment for you.
Five Varicose Veins Myths Uncovered
While varicose veins are pretty obvious to spot with their bulging, twisted appearance on the legs, what is less clear is the exact cause of the condition, and it’s this that has led to various myths circulating. So, pull up a seat and take a quick read to be better informed.
Myth #1. Sitting with your legs crossed causes varicose veins
To put your mind at ease straight away, crossing your legs does not cause varicose veins. Neither for that matter does wearing closely fitting clothes or shoes. It’s true that this action can put slight pressure on the outside of your legs, but it doesn’t cause varicose veins.
Instead, varicose veins develop as a result of internal pressure on the leg veins caused by weakened vein valves. When these valves malfunction, it causes a build-up of blood inside the vein which, in turn, forces the walls of the vein to bulge outwards and pop out as a varicose vein from beneath the skin. However, if you already have varicose veins, you should know that tight clothing and footwear could exacerbate the symptoms.
Myth #2. Varicose veins are purely a cosmetic issue
While it’s true that varicose and spider veins may not cause any symptoms and may be regarded initially as a cosmetic nuisance, these unsightly bulging veins can signal the presence of a more serious underlying medical issue – venous insufficiency. Varicose veins have also been linked to:
- Blood clots in the legs which have the potential to travel to the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism
- A higher incidence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- An increased chance of developing skin ulcers which are slow to heal
Not to mention other unpleasant varicose vein symptoms such as cramping, pain swelling, throbbing, and ‘heavy’ legs. If any of these symptoms start to keep you awake at night or interfere with daily activities, it’s fair to say that your varicose veins are no longer a cosmetic issue but a condition that requires medical intervention.
Myth #3. All varicose veins are visible
Did you know that varicose veins develop both in the superficial and deep veins in the legs? Because superficial veins are nearer to the skin, it’s easier to notice them. However, varicose veins also develop deeper inside the legs and because they’re covered with a thick layer of fatty tissue, you may not be able to see them.
Nonetheless, you may still feel the symptoms of varicose veins such as swelling and leg pain. Should you experience any painful or unusual symptoms in your legs, then it’s advisable to see a vein specialist to ascertain whether the problem is caused by a hidden varicose vein.
Myth #4. Surgery is the only cure for varicose veins
Not so many years ago, the only solution for varicose veins was an invasive surgery which ‘stripped’ the vein from the leg and necessitated a hospital stay. Fortunately, modern treatments can be performed on an out-patient basis and are minimally invasive. Here at the Midwest Institute for Non-Surgical Therapy, we provide a variety of vein treatments which require little or no anesthesia, these include:
- Vein ablations – also known as radiofrequency treatment, target heat is used to seal the vein shut.
- Vena seal – a medical ‘superglue’ that seals the problematic vein
- Sclerotherapy – A safe sclerosant that destroys damaged veins is injected into the body which then diverts the blood to a healthier vein that directs it back to the heart
- Phlebectomy – tiny incisions are made in the skin to remove the varicose veins
Myth #5. Varicose veins are inevitable
Older people seem to be more prone to varicose veins as do individuals whose family history includes varicose veins. However, that doesn’t make mean that varicose veins are inevitable for people in those high-risk categories. If you know you are more at risk of developing varicose veins, then it is possible to take preventative actions to maintain the health of your veins and defer the appearance of varicose veins.
Staying active, for instance, strengthens the calf muscles giving more support to the veins as they pump the blood to the heart. It also helps to keep to a comfortable weight since piling on the pounds puts additional pressure on the veins. Finally, try wearing compression stockings that compress the legs veins and promote maximum blood flow.
Let’s talk about your options
Dr. Akinwande specializes in treating varicose veins with the latest non-surgical treatments. We treat each patient individually and tailor the best treatment plan to their needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.