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Just curious if anyone has noticed their varicose veins getting worse after running - I'm in the middle of week four and while I've never noticed varicose veins before (I'm only 28) I've started to notice some appearing on my left calf (looks like bruising - not bulging or anything yet). I'm not surprised because this is the first time I've been able to run in 10 years, and after 3 knee surgeries I suppose that leg is much weaker than my right (there are none on the right side - yet).
I did go to the doctor this morning and he says they are independent of running, and that I shouldn't worry about it unless it's painful, and he gave me an rX to go to a 'vein clinic' if I wanted. (He said to put heat on it, elevate, and take advil, essentially.)
But, I wonder, maybe the running is causing them or making them worse? Which is strange because all the research I've done on them says that exercise is supposed to help with the circulation. Plus, it's not from being overweight, or at least in my case.
I don't know. Sucks that I am finally able to run again and now I have to worry about this Thanks in advance for any advice or experiences with this.
Running does help increase circulation, and will not cause or worsen varicose veins. Usually there's a strong genetic factor to these little "spider veins" and they usually start to appear around the late 20's to early 30's, so you're right in that timeframe. My guess is you would have developed them whether you were running or not, but running may help keep them from becoming problematic.
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Unfortunately they don't seem to be the small spider veins but the start of the larger varicose-vein kind, even though they aren't bulging yet.
But, I think you're right - they probably are genetic. Thank you for your comments!
I'm about the same age and since I started running I have gotten those little spider veins, started off red and now they are going blue, I have noticed bigger ones like they are becoming varicose veins but like yourself they are not bulging. Seem a bit coincidental?
That's an interesting question. I can't help answer it because I really only started to notice mine in the last year or two (I've been running for 26 years). They haven't gotten any worse in that time. I'm almost certain they were about the same for many years because I have recollections of them, but I just didn't pay much attention. I have started to wonder if they're related to shin pain I sometimes get while running.
It is so strange, it really looks like bruising! I do have the spider veins too, around my knee, but the bluish tint to the little cluster of veins on my calf is kind of freaking me out (I guess it doesn't help that I'm ghostly pale). Plus, they are somewhat tender to the touch.
But yes, too coincidental!
I know they get worse with age but I can't help but wonder if mine, while probably genetic, are probably exacerbated by the fact I've had three knee surgeries on that leg so that leg is probably weaker and not used to the harsher impact from running. I don't have shin pain (thankfully) yet, but I wonder if it could be related, too - that's interesting. Thanks!
Thank you!! Will check that out!
As regards for the veins being swollen, I did see the doctor this morning and he didn't seem that concerned at all - he did check to see if I was swelling behind the knee too or anywhere else on my legs, but I wasn't
Mine definitely look like slightly bluish blobs, a couple inches below the knee. I can imagine on a woman's leg they would be really unsightly. Not so much on a man's leg.
I should elaborate on the pain. I always considered it "shin splints", now I'm not so sure. It would happen when I was pushing the pace (i.e. racing), would start after about 1 mile, and end at about 3 miles. And it wouldn't bother me for the rest of the race - up to half-marathon distance. I never went fast enough in a marathon to trigger it.
could that be that you are lifting your toes higher than your usual running style causing pain in the muscle etc at the front of the leg?
Iv had that problem before through hiking/walking etc
Varicose veins can cause some pain but they are usually very noticable by then.
That's a possibility too. But it only happens to one leg - the one with the veins. They are very visible. The thought came from something I read that said they can result in problems with circulation in the underlying muscles, wherein the veins dilate but the valves don't function properly, so blood doesn't get returned to the heart as it should.
On the other hand . . .
Dear Dr. Mirkin: Is exercise harmful for a person with varicose veins?
No; in fact, a regular exercise program may be the most effective treatment for varicose veins. Veins are supposed to contain valves that keep blood from backing up. When the valves cannot close properly, veins become varicose, blood backs up and causes the veins to widen and look like blue snakes underneath the skin. Since varicose veins swell because blood pools in them, the best treatment is to empty blood from the veins. When you exercise, your leg muscles alternately contract and relax, squeezing blood toward the heart. Running, walking, cycling, skiing, skating and dancing are ideal treatments, while standing or sitting increase blood pooling and widen the veins. People with varicose veins should not stand around for a long time. You should wear support hose when you stand or walk slowly, but you don't need them when you exercise.
Varicose veins are caused by a genetic weakness in the valves or an obstruction of blood flow, which may be caused by obesity, pregnancy, tumors, clots or heart disease. Superficial varicose veins that you can see can cause a feeling of heaviness or aching, but they are rarely painful. If you hate the way large veins look, a surgeon can remove them, but most varicose veins are best left alone. Special injections and laser burning remove only small veins.
I'll throw in my 2 cents. Could it be that you are converting fat to muscle (yea!) and they are becoming more visible? I havn't lost a pound since I started running in February but I have lost 3% body fat. (Clothes are looser). Also red flags are hot sore veins with redness around them or if the vein feels like a firm cord, can be lumpy stright to the Doc do not pass go do not collect $200.00
Jan 1, 2010 39% body fat
July 1, 2010 28 % body fat
Total pounds lost: 4.5
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