Even Active People in Good Shape Can Have Varicose Veins

Posted: April 8, 2014 | Revised: June 28, 2018

Vein disease can impact the active or athletic adult

Many people can develop varicose veins including men, athletes, pregnant women and those who are generally in good health. Active people are sometimes surprised to see bulging veins in their legs or to feel discomfort.

As you may know, when we walk, our leg muscles pump blood back to the heart through one-way valves. In varicose vein disease, those valves do not work properly and allow some of the blood to flow backwards and pool in our legs, resulting in bulging veins and symptoms such as pain, swelling, tiredness or redness. Athletes sometimes experience aching or throbbing legs after a period of training or activity.

If an individual has bulging veins or is suffering from discomfort, treatment may be required to relieve the symptoms. Diagnostic ultrasound vein mapping should be performed to determine if there are abnormal areas of blood flow in the legs. If abnormal areas exist, they can be treated with Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT).

EVLT is a minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins. Using EVLT, guided by ultrasound, a small laser fiber is inserted through the skin into the varicose vein. Laser energy is delivered inside the vein, which causes the vein to collapse and seal shut. Once that vein is closed, the blood reroutes to other healthy veins. Most patients return to work within a day or two. EVLT has the benefit of offering the least disturbance to exercise or training regimens. Active and athletic people can get back to training in just a few days.

If you experience discomfort while participating in events such as the Carmel Marathon, Race for the Cure or the We’ve Got Your Back Walk/Run, ask your physician if a screening for varicose vein disease would be appropriate.