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Get On Your Feet

With shelter in place in Illinois heading into its second month, it’s important to stop and think about how your health may be affected by the restrictions.

Whether you have been binging Netflix shows, trying to finish a 1,000-piece puzzle, or getting lost in a novel, sitting for long periods of time increases the risk for chronic issues such as heart disease and diabetes.

Varicose veins are another medical condition that can develop when veins no longer sufficiently send blood from the legs back to the heart. Our veins have valves that enable the blood to flow forward toward the heart, but those valves can become damaged and weakened over time.

Damaged and weakened valves result in blood pooling in the legs and sitting too long helps gravity push that blood further down in the body. That’s when we increase our risks for serious, life-threatening conditions such as blood clots and deep vein thrombosis.

As the spring weather turns warmer, there isn’t a better time than now to start getting on your feet every day. Keeping your blood flowing and circulating well is important for your health. You don’t have to participate in rigorous exercise every day. Movement of any kind will make an impact on leg vein health. Below are some ideas to get you started:

  • Prop your feet up on a footrest or stool to help elevate your legs throughout the day.
  • Stand up and do some calf raises (stand on your tiptoes, release and repeat) or try a few squats.
  • Take a 30-minute walk (or run) every day. This can help boost circulation and allow your veins to function properly.
  • Participate in an activity such as yoga. There are many great instruction videos available online (check YouTube or your cable provide might have yoga and other fitness resources on demand).
  • Take a bike ride with your family. This is a lower-impact activity that can improve leg health.

If you’re concerned about painful, achy legs, call us anytime or click here to schedule a virtual consultation or in office screening. You can also hear directly from patients about how our minimally invasive treatments helped their leg pain caused by too much standing and sitting on the job.

Work on movement in your job for better leg vein health

Whether you work in an office or on a factory floor, your job likely dictates how much sitting and standing you do on a regular basis.

We’ve all read the news about the dangers of sitting and how it increases the risk for chronic issues such as heart disease and diabetes. Some of the same issues that make sitting for long periods of time unhealthy also apply to standing too long.

Varicose veins are another medical condition that can develop when veins no longer sufficiently send blood from the legs back to the heart. Our veins have valves that enable the blood to flow forward toward the heart, but those valves can become damaged and weakened over time.

Damaged and weakened valves result in blood pooling in the legs, and sitting and standing too long helps gravity push that blood further down in the body. That’s when we increase our risks for serious, life-threatening conditions such as blood clots and deep vein thrombosis.

Which professions stand and sit the most?

Sitting and standing can take a toll on the body, but maybe it wasn’t your first concern when accepting a job or starting your career.

With it being back-to-school time, it’s a good reminder that elementary, middle and secondary school teachers are on their feet 70 percent of the day, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics. Other jobs that involve standing for most of the day include waiters/waitresses, welders, retail workers, electricians, pharmacists, physical therapists and childcare workers.

On the flip side, IT professionals such as software developers, accountants, insurance sales agents, human resource (HR) managers, lawyers, and mechanical engineers do much more sitting on average during the day.

What can I do?

Just being aware of sitting and standing too long is a good start. If you’re concerned about varicose veins, watch for and track some of the following common symptoms:

  • Burning, throbbing or cramping in the legs
  • Tired, achy or heavy-feeling legs
  • Itchy feelings around the legs
  • Skin surface ulcers on the lower legs (only in severe cases)

Movement is really key in breaking up long blocks of sitting and standing while you’re working. Walking around and stretching every 30 minutes is ideal but not always feasible if you’re in a meeting or heads-down on a project. Consider some of these additional tips:

  • Prop your feet up on a foot rest or stool to help elevate your legs.
  • Stand up and do some calf raises (stand on your tiptoes, release and repeat) or try a few squats.
  • Wear compression stockings or socks.
  • Ice swollen veins, or alternate a hot compress.

It’s also important continue these best practices at home after work. If you sit for most the day, try not to come home and continue sitting. After standing all day, make sure to elevate your legs when you do sit down. In both cases, maintaining regular exercise and eating a balanced diet can help lower your risk for vein disease and other chronic conditions.

If you’re concerned about painful, achy legs, call us anytime or click here to schedule a free vein screening. You can also hear directly from patients about how our minimally invasive treatments helped their leg pain caused by too much standing and sitting on the job.