What To Do When Your Legs Hurt: At-Home Varicose Vein Pain Treatment

a soothing running bath with salts and soaps on the edge

Varicose veins stem from a medical condition known as venous insufficiency, which can be painful if left untreated. The root cause of venous insufficiency lies in malfunctioning vein valves. These valves struggle to effectively push blood from the legs back up to the heart, leading to blood pooling in the legs.

In addition to varicose veins, venous insufficiency manifests in several symptoms:

  • Leg heaviness
  • Pain or cramping
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration
  • Skin texture changes
  • Venous ulcers

These symptoms often occur when standing or walking for long periods of time.

What Causes Venous Insufficiency Pain?

The primary culprit is increased pressure inside your veins due to blood pooling. This pressure is more than just uncomfortable. It stretches and damages the veins, causing swelling, inflammation, and continuous pain. When blood builds up, it limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your leg tissues, causing aches and cramps, clear indicators that your tissues need more air.

The ongoing pressure from venous insufficiency triggers inflammation in the vein walls and surrounding tissues. As the condition advances, it not only causes pain but also noticeable changes in the skin and tissues, like hardening or discoloration. In its most severe form, venous insufficiency can lead to the development of painful ulcers, a direct result of impaired blood flow.

12 Ways to Relieve Varicose Vein Leg Pain

If you’re experiencing ongoing venous insufficiency pain, consulting a vein specialist is the best course of action. But as you await your treatment day, there are many things you can do at home to help ease the discomfort.

  1. Elevate your legs. Rest your legs on a table, lean them against a wall, or stack pillows under them so they’re about 6-12 inches higher than your heart. Aim to maintain these positions for at least 15 minutes. This will help reduce swelling, alleviate discomfort, and keep blood flowing from your legs back to your heart. 
  2. Move and stretch often. Make sure to flex your feet, particularly during long journeys where legroom is limited. If your day involves prolonged sitting or standing, shift your position every 30 minutes and frequently bend your knees. 
  3. Hydrate. Proper hydration is key to maintaining healthy blood circulation. Aim to drink 8 eight-ounce glasses of water each day. Include lots of vein-healthy foods with high water content in your diet. Hydration can reduce leg cramps and discomfort. 
  4. Exercise regularly. Improve blood circulation in the legs and reduce symptoms with these low-impact exercises:
    • Walking helps stimulate blood flow in the legs without putting excessive strain on them.
    • Cycling, whether outdoors or on a stationary bike, is excellent for improving leg circulation. It also strengthens your calf muscles, acting as a pump when contracted to enhance leg blood flow and reduce the risk of blood pooling 
    • Swimming and water aerobics are beneficial for vein health because the natural buoyancy of water reduces pressure on the veins.
    • Certain yoga poses, especially those that elevate the legs, can help improve circulation and reduce swelling.
    • Regularly stretch your calf and leg muscles, and do leg lifts while lying on your back to enhance flexibility and circulation. Improve blood flow with calf raises by standing and rising onto your tiptoes, then slowly lowering back down.
  5. Avoid tight clothing. Tight garments, particularly around the waist, legs, and groin, can restrict blood flow. Opt for flowy varicose-friendly styles to promote optimal circulation.
  6. Compression. Wrapping a bandage around your legs or using compression stockings are great for reducing blood pooling and swelling, and can even help slow the spread of varicose veins. It applies gentle pressure to your legs, helping your veins and muscles move blood more efficiently. To apply, firmly wrap the affected area. Just be sure to avoid applying the bandage too tight. 
  7. Use cold water. Shower your legs with cold water or apply a cold compress. The cool temperatures cause blood vessels to constrict, reducing swelling and the sensation of heaviness, and providing temporary varicose vein pain relief. 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.
  8. Practice good skin care. Hydrating lotions and creams not only ward off itching but also maintain skin flexibility, crucial for those prone to dryness and irritation. This flexibility aids in improving blood circulation, supports healthier tissue, reduces inflammation and swelling, and enhances the effectiveness of varicose vein treatments. Using mild soaps and cool water contributes to keeping your skin healthy, further reducing the risk of ulcers or infections.
  9. Epsom salt baths. 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. 
  10. Over-the-counter painkillers. 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. 
  11. Massage. Massage therapy by a professional can be very beneficial. Massages can enhance blood flow, relieving inflammatory cells and discomfort in your legs. 
  12. Muscle relaxers. 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.

From Quick Fixes to Permanent Solutions

As we’ve learned today, there are effective methods for at-home varicose vein pain treatment. But if your symptoms persist, worsen, or become unmanageable, it’s time to seek guidance from a vein specialist who can customize a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs. Fortunately, there are a multitude of readily accessible non-invasive procedures to provide enduring varicose vein pain relief, getting you closer to erasing your vein issues once and for all. 

At Delaware Advanced Vein Center, our expert medical staff has years of experience treating people with venous conditions such as varicose veins, spider veins, and more. Our dedicated team specializes in providing attentive and personalized care, something larger clinics often overlook. We welcome you to our family of satisfied patients.

Contact us today to schedule a FREE virtual consultation and vein evaluation.