Varicose veins are typically considered to be unsightly or embarrassing, but there is help. Our Long Island podiatrist office can provide effective treatment for this condition in your foot or ankle. Learn more about this condition, including tips to reduce your risk of developing one.
What are Varicose Veins?
When a vein becomes varicose, it will appear enlarged and gnarly. This happens when the tiny valves in the vein that prevent blood from flowing backwards begin to fail. The pooled blood then causes congestion that leads to the vein twisting and bulging. In some cases, the vein is surrounded by capillaries that become flooded and are known as “spider veins.”
In spite of the unusual appearance and concerns about “pooled blood,” these are usually harmless and are frequently thought of as a superficial issue.
Varicose Vein Risk Factors
Any person can develop veins that varicose, but some are simply more likely to than others. Risk factors that make this more likely include:
- Sex. Women are at greater risk for developing this problem than are men. This might be attributed to hormonal factors, particularly changes that happen during pre-menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Female hormones can relax vein walls, so birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy further increase the likelihood.
- Age. The older a person becomes, the more probable it is that a vein will become varicose. Aging comes with years of wear and tear on the valves within the veins that are responsible for regulating blood flow.
- Family history. There might a genetic component at play, so having other family members who have/had the condition is a definite risk factor.
- Obesity. This particular factor stems from the fact that excess bodyweight places extra pressure on the veins.
- Being sedentary. Standing or sitting for prolonged periods is not conducive to healthy blood flow, which can lead to pooling and distended veins.
Treatment Options – Professional and Self-Care
Treatment for a varicose vein typically happens on an outpatient basis with procedures that are not particularly invasive. On the professional front, typical treatment options include:
- Sclerotherapy. The affected vein(s) is injected with a solution that closes it. The procedure is performed in-office and can be highly effective.
- Vein stripping. This particular procedure entails removing a long vein and can be performed on an outpatient basis.
- Catheter-assisted procedures. A catheter is a thin tube that can be inserted into an enlarged vein. The tip is heated and tube pulled out, which destroys the vein and seals it shut.
- Laser surgeries. There are new technologies that use laser treatments to close spider veins. This can be performed without incisions or needles.
Some of the self-care methods to try include elevating your legs, avoiding constricting clothing, exercising, losing weight, and not standing or sitting in one spot for extended periods.
Another option that can particularly beneficial is to wear compression stockings. These are worn all day and provide constant pressure on your legs, with the squeeze assisting leg muscles and veins in moving blood back up to the heart. There are various levels of compression, depending on the brand and type, and we can direct you to a pair that would be best for you.
It might not be possible to completely eliminate all risk of developing a varicose veins, but there are certainly steps to lower the odds. These do not require tremendous amounts of effort or money and, even better, are helpful in the prevention of a range of other potential foot and ankle conditions and problems. Measures you can take to reduce your risk include healthy lifestyle choices like maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, eating a low-sodium diet, moving throughout the day, and avoiding tight hosiery and high heels.
First-Class Varicose Vein Treatment in Long Island, NY
Prevention methods can lower the risk, but if you do develop this problem, Foot Specialists of Long Island can help. Call our Nassau County, NY office at (516) 804-9038 or schedule your appointment with us online.