Winter: Best Time to Get Summer Legs

Posted: Friday, January 30, 2015   |   Revised: February 2, 2015

Winter Best Time for Summer LegsSummer can seem like it’s ages away when the cold winds of winter are blowing in Michigan. Don’t lose heart! Spring is officially just 45 days away, and winter is a great time to get varicose veins and spider veins treated.

A few reasons why winter is one of the best times to get your leg health evaluated:

  1. Compression Therapy: Most insurance companies will want you to wear compression stockings for a few months before they approve treatment. While these garments are now available in stylish colors and patterns that can be worn all year long, most people prefer to wear them in the winter.
  2. Post Treatment Healing: While the non-invasive treatments we offer for the treatment of varicose and spider veins are virtually pain free, there is a period of time between treatment and your legs looking their best. Obtaining treatment now gives you a few months to heal before summer and shorts on the beach.

Additionally, with the advent of a new year, it’s a good time to take stock of our leg health, to review any declines that occur with every passing year, and to examine what we can do about any problems.

Even if you believe you have no leg symptoms; gravity is affecting your legs each and every day by slowly stretching your veins.   For most of us, this will eventually cause problems in the vascular health of our legs.

“The presence of spider veins or small varicose veins is an early sign that your veins are stretching.”

Additional signs or symptoms which you may experience as your veins stretch:

  • Heavy / Tired Legs
  • Aching Legs, especially late in the day or at night
  • Restlessness in the legs, especially at night
  • Swelling of the ankles or lower calves which may be subtle at first
  • Itching in the ankles or lower calves
  • Burning or stinging especially around small veins on the surface of the skin
  • Bulges or ripples in the skin when standing

Unmanaged vein problems often lead to:

  • Limited activity—whether due to the desire to hide unsightly veins or due to real loss of physical ability to function due to leg symptoms
  • Infection (cellulitis) due to swelling caused by varicose veins
  • Skin changes due to poor circulation such as a red rash (stasis dermatitis), darkening of the skin (hyperpigmentation) and dimpling or pitting (lipodermatosclerosis)
  • Bleeding from bulging varicose or spider veins where the skin has become very thin. If severe, medical or surgical intervention may be needed to stop the bleeding
  • Blood clots (thrombophlebitis) due to ineffective blood flow in the enlarged veins. 10-20% of these become serious problems with the clot extending to the deep veins and the potential for deadly migration of the clots to the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
  • Leg ulcers (open sores) near the ankles

“If you have any of the symptoms or problems described above, it’s time for an Expert Evaluation by a Vein Specialist to help you avoid health complications and regain your quality of life.”

Even if you don’t think you have a problem, you can do simple things which will help you maintain your quality of life and leg function:

  • Exercise your legs and walk frequently
  • Avoid prolonged sitting; when you must sit, exercise your ankles frequently
  • Avoid prolonged standing – especially in one place, try to change positions or walk frequently, if even for a short time
  • Elevate your legs above the level of your heart at least twice a day (even if only for ten minutes)
  • Manage your weight since abdominal fat compresses the pelvic veins and limits venous blood flow out of the legs
  • Wear graduated compression elastic support hose routinely. Calf length, 20 to 30 mm Hg compression hose are available without prescription and will help your calf muscles pump the venous blood out of your legs as you walk. Brand, correct fit, and education in how to don the hose are important, but it becomes easy to wear these hose with practice.

Don’t take your leg health for granted. Gravity is stretching your veins every day and the complications of not treating vascular problems are real.

If you or a loved one are suffering from leg swelling, have heavy tired legs, or visible varicose / spider veins, Schedule an Appointment Today!

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