Do 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.
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.
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.
Many people spend more time on their feet than they’d like due to their lifestyle or career. Some jobs need “all boots on the ground” to perform specific duties. Countless hours on your feet can wreak havoc on your legs and veins. If this is the case for you, you’ve probably had your share of leg pain at the end of the day. When your muscles are this tired, your legs feel like they need an extended lunch break to recover.
Why Standing Causes Leg Pain
Being on your feet can cause some pretty uncomfortable symptoms. These can even turn into medical conditions. Sitting or standing for long periods can cause blood to pool in the leg veins. This increases pressure within the veins, causing them to stretch. This may weaken the walls of the veins and damage the valves.
While leg pain can have many causes, some forms of pain can indicate a more serious condition. If you experience burning, aching, swelling, or heaviness, especially in your calf area, see your medical provider. They’ll be able to evaluate your condition and give you the proper diagnosis. A common diagnosis is venous insufficiency.
What Causes Venous Insufficiency?
Your veins have one-way valves that push blood from your legs to your heart. But with added wear and tear, these valves can weaken. They may not function as well as they used to. This can result in a medical condition called venous insufficiency. Prolonged standing can contribute to venous insufficiency along with other factors such as:
Pregnancy and hormones
How to Deal With Pain From All-Day Standing
Different jobs and lifestyles can vary the number of hours spent standing. There’s no one size fits all answer for exactly how long is too long. If you feel pain or discomfort from prolonged standing, try taking 10-15 minute breaks. Do this until your discomfort subsides and you are able to get back at it.
While being chained to a desk and sitting for prolonged periods can be hard on your health, there are specific pains that come with jobs where all-day standing is required. Here’s what people in different types of professions can do to avoid and relieve pain.
Retail jobs require a lot of time on the sales floor assisting customers. They also involve stocking shelves and ringing up merchandise at the cash register. Wearing shoes with arch support and padded insoles can help avoid leg pain at the end of your shift. Fortunately, there’s a wide variety of comfortable footwear options out there. Find a shoe that works for your store’s dress code.
Being a teacher requires patience as well as time on your feet throughout the school day. Teachers are often standing or moving around from student to student. Taking a short break to sit and elevate your feet can help relieve some of the pressure and avoid swelling. You can also elevate your feet at night to further reduce the pressure on your legs.
Chefs, servers, and bakers are always on their toes making and serving food. Long, busy hours and hard floors can often lead to aches and pains. Non-slip mats with holes can ease the pressure from standing on a concrete floor all day.
Hair stylists spend countless hours on their feet giving us that fresh cut and color. But when it comes to leg pain at the end of the day, it can be a real blowout. Having good posture along with the right shoes can make a difference when your legs are aching and tired.
Whether performing medical procedures or providing basic care, healthcare workers are always busy. Assisting patients with various duties during long shifts is taxing on the legs. Compression stockings can help take the edge off of pain and ease discomfort after a hectic day.
7 More Ways To Help Relieve Leg Pain
Need more solutions for soothing leg and foot pain? Here are some simple strategies that’ll do the trick.
Hydration can reduce leg cramps and discomfort. Aim to drink 8 eight-ounce glasses of water each day. This avoids dehydration and painful leg cramps.
A cold compress can offer comfort by reducing inflammation. Use an ice bag or frozen peas and apply to the affected area. Hold for approximately 15 minutes and soak up that icy feeling of relief.
As we’ve mentioned, compression can be helpful for leg pain. Wrapping a bandage and using compression stockings can reduce swelling. To apply, firmly wrap the affected area. Just be sure to avoid applying the bandage too tight.
To instantly get rid of leg pain, over-the-counter medicines can do the trick. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen are helpful with pain relief and inflammation.
Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt breaks down into magnesium and sulfate. This may help relax muscles, reducing swelling and pain. To create an Epsom salt bath, add 2 cups of Epsom salt to a bath with running water and stir until dissolved. Once everything’s combined, soak for about 15 minutes to maximize comfort.
Massage therapy by a professional therapist can be very beneficial. Massages can enhance blood flow, relieving inflammatory cells and discomfort in your legs.
If you haven’t gotten relief from your leg pain, you may need a muscle relaxer prescription. These work to alleviate muscle spasms and pain. Avoid operating heavy machinery or drinking alcohol while on muscle relaxers until you know how they affect you. Make sure to talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have.
Get Rid of Leg Pain for Good
Most everyone will experience leg discomfort at some point. But people who spend extended periods of time on their feet are more likely to experience this. Luckily, there are many simple ways to lessen the pain. If your discomfort becomes constant or severe, contact your doctor. This can help you avoid a potentially serious health problem.
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