orange leaf person wearing a winter hat looking at reasons for varicose veins in winterDo you have varicose veins, spider veins, or any other form of venous disease? If so, you know that the colder seasons can take a toll on your legs. So why do people experience leg pain due to cold weather? Today we’re going to explain what happens to your veins in the wintertime and how it affects their overall function.

Effects of Cold Weather on Your Veins


Believe it or not, cold weather can be beneficial to your veins in some ways. For example, the colder it gets, the less likely you are to suffer from swelling and pain in your ankles. This is because as our bodies heat up, we expand. And when circulation decreases as temperatures lower, these valves function better. This means fewer cramps or other discomforts.


Despite this, venous diseases usually come with more negatives than positives during the wintertime. Here are some of the inconveniences that pop up when it’s cold:

  • Circulatory Problems: When the temperatures drop enough for it to snow, the atmospheric pressure changes. Your circulatory system can become less efficient which aggravates vein problems.
  • Vein Constriction: Your body’s reaction to cold weather is to protect your internal temperature. Veins constrict and blood rushes to your organs, conserving their warmth. This is why your fingers and toes feel so cold in the winter.
  • Dry Skin: Dry winter air can irritate the skin on your legs. Rashes, dryness, itchiness, bleeding, and even ulcerations can occur around your veins. This can cause even more discomfort to your venous condition. 
  • Weight Gain​: Gaining a few extra pounds is common during the holiday months. This can put more stress on your legs to pump blood back to your heart. So despite the cold weather, try to workout often and keep the weight off.
  • Decreased Exercise: Another reason to stay active is to keep the valves pumping blood through our veins. When we’re sedentary, our ability to sustain efficient blood flow is limited. Moving, walking, cycling, and running can help keep venous insufficiency under control.
thermometer showing how temperature affects your vein health

How to Maintain Vein Health in Winter


Here are a few ways to keep the symptoms of venous diseases in check during the colder months:

  • Elevate your legs for 30 minutes before you go to sleep.
  • Eat high-fiber foods like avocados, beans, and berries for good circulation.
  • Try some light stretching in the morning, midday, and before bed.
  • Massage your ankles and lower legs when possible.
  • Apply lotion to your legs to prevent skin and vein irritation. 
  • Focus on exercises that workout your legs.

See a Vein Specialist


If you are experiencing the unpleasant symptoms of varicose veins or other venous conditions, there is no need to suffer. As soon as a vein has become damaged, repair it with immediate medical attention. Seeking help will give your legs back their youthful appearance and prevent future complications.

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