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Does running cause varicose veins?


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#1 Highway man

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Posted 19 November 2003 - 08:55 AM

After receiving conflicting advice from a couple of different doctors on this subject I wanted to know whether running is likely to increase or decrease the risk of forming varicose veins?

My thinking was that running would improve the characteristics of your circulation system, especially in the legs, others have said that running creates abnormal pressures on the veins in the legs, consequently causing the formation of abnormal veins.
  
Does anyone have varicose veins and do you think running was a factor?

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#2 runrtom

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Posted 19 November 2003 - 01:31 PM

Earlier this year I developed a large purple varicose vein that ran from mid way up the calf to the back of the knee on my right leg.  Left leg is fine.  It caused me no concern until it started to get very itchy and the skin became red and flaky.  A doctor I run with told me not to worry as it was a sympton of ageing and it was caused by breakdown of valves that prevent back flow and this causes the blood to pool in the vein.  I did however read where severe cases can lead to DVT and even to life threatening situations in the worse case scenario.

I believe that the long distance training and running in 6 marathons in the past 4 years has probably accelerated the ageing process in the leg vein.  With the blood trying to return to the heart back up the leg and with me swinging the leg like a pendulum something has to give.

I am wearing flight socks (the long black elastic socks you can wear on international flights to prevent DVT) which seems to have helped.  I don't wear them while I'm running in case you were wondering - just when at the computer or sitting for a while as I am now.

There's not a lot you can do apart from an operation to remove.  It doesn't stop me from running or slow me down and I'm not worried about the cosmetic impact - so it is way down my list of priorities - for now anyway.

#3 Davo

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Posted 19 November 2003 - 07:32 PM

Plodder, you should tell everyone it's one of those stick-on tattoos and that it's the latest fashion statement!  :D

#4 Highway man

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 09:55 AM

Thanks Plodder,
I wasn't aware of any connection to DVT, so I'll look into that as well.
Cheers
Highway

#5 Teresa B

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 12:36 AM

Highway man, I have had varicose veins since probably my early twenties,they started small but have spread a lot more now. I have had 4 children and have been running for approximately 24yrs. I have had thrombophlebitis in my veins only after having my 4th child 6yrs ago, I did have another attack about 3 yrs ago but I put that down to a very vigorous massage on my legs, as my regular massage therapist is very aware of my varicose veins and avoids putting pressure on them.
Anyway getting back to your original question I don't think the running made them any worst. I think it was a combination of factors ie:working as a nurse, hereditary predisposition, having children. I really thinking the running has helped in that it has kept the blood ciculation working better in my legs. I do a lot of distance running, 3 marathons this year & don't feel they have got any worse. I admit they are not very appealing to look at but my legs now have more shape & muscle than they use to which helps a bit. One day I will have them removed, I'm just not real keen on surgery at the moment.
Regards Teresa

#6 Highway man

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 06:26 PM

Thank you for your reply Theresa B. Would you say that since having your last child and continuing your running, whether the state of your veins have changed in any way, ie have they worsened or stayed the same.
regards
Highway Man.

#7 Teresa B

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 07:27 PM

Highway Man I would say that they are certainly more obvious than say when I had my first couple of children but I don't think that they are any worse now than what they were before I had my 4th child. I didn't start running marathons either until my 4th child was 2years old.
I hope this answers your question. Regards Teresa

#8 PJ

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Posted 24 November 2003 - 02:18 AM

I have varicose veins in both legs, but the right leg is worse due to mashing it in a motor bike accident 25 years ago.

Before I started running consistently, I experienced bouts of severe pain in my right leg, radiating throughout the right side of my body. Tests cleared me of anything really nasty and the doctors just put it down to my dodgy veins.

I decided to try to "run" the pain away, my thinking being that improving the circulation might be beneficial. The results were fast and dramatic, and I have not had an episode of vein pain for over a year now. I don't know if my theory was right or it is just coincidence, I'm just happy to be free from pain.

I don't think running  causes varicose veins, but perhaps you can make them worse if you don't take care of your legs after running. This means cooling down slowly instead of just stopping and sitting down, stretching and immersing your legs in cold water after running. All these things should help to reduce blood pooling in your legs after exercise. Unfortunately, I spent too many years indulging in hard exercise while being ignorant of these simple precautions  <_<  .

By the way, apparently there is some new type of treatment that can get rid of varicose veins without surgery. From recollection, one of the doctors I saw said this was down by injection of some sort of goop into the affected veins. Good cardiovascular specialists should know of this procedure.

Hope this helps.
Phil.

#9 Wippet

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Posted 24 November 2003 - 02:28 PM

I had a VV corrected by the new Laser procedure in march this year. I am very happy with the result & the relatively minimal time I was not able to run with the duration & intensity that I would normally (about 2 weeks). In August I spent a week in hospital after having been diagnosed with a DVT, am still on medication while the clot clears. Whilst the medical opinion was that the DVT was not directly caused by the procedure, it apparently contributed to it (in conjunction with a hard Gold Coast Marathon, insufficient rehydration after, too much beer after & a drive to Coffs Harbour the following days.

I Hope this is useful info for you.

#10 JC

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Posted 24 November 2003 - 05:40 PM

The advice that I have from GP and dermatologist is that running helps to keep all those VV at bay.

I have my 'aspiring' veins injected yearly to stop them becoming varicose.  Not the world's most comfortable experience, but my mum has a serious case and I don't need to go there!

#11 PEEKIE

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 11:47 AM

Dont know if varicose veins are caused by running but i wouldn't think so. However, they are hereditry. I'm 22 and dont have any signs of Varicose veins yet but my mum has them,but maybe i'll be lucky and not get any.