September 23, 2021
Varicose veins can be treated in various ways, depending on factors such as the severity of the condition and the cosmetic concerns of the patient. When they are not severe, a number of lifestyle habits such as exercise, weight loss, wearing loose clothes, wearing compression stockings, and elevating the legs may help mitigate the risk of further complications.
If they become more severe, your doctor might recommend a non-invasive procedure. These include sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation and Veinwave, although the latter is mostly reserved for spider (or thread) veins.
Regardless of what type of procedure is chosen, it is crucial that you have all the accurate and necessary information. It is also important to know what to expect before and after the treatment.
One common misconception is that surgery is the only option to treat varicose veins. Nowadays, there are less invasive procedures as mentioned above. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution directly into the vein, which scars the vein and forces blood to reroute through healthier veins; whilst radiofrequency ablation consists of heat being delivered via a catheter in order to seal the damaged vein.
This variety of non-invasive procedures show that surgery is definitely not the only option when home treatments do not work to treat varicose veins.
A second misconception is that treatment is painful. While pain may be possible, as with any kind of treatment, feeling minor discomfort in the leg after the procedure is more likely. Even with surgery, it will be minimal and last a short time.
Yet another misconception is that treating varicose veins is only for aesthetic purposes. Varicose veins can be a result of weak or damaged valves and, if valves are unable to do their job of preventing the backward flow of blood, veins can stretch or twist.
For some, these twisted, enlarged veins are simply a cosmetic problem but, for others, they come with discomfort and pain that can lead to bigger issues. Though rare, some of these complications include blood clots, bleeding, and ulcers. Getting them checked over by your doctor can help you understand what exactly is going on in your veins and what treatment might be needed.
You may leave the procedure in elastic bandages and have to wear compression stockings for some time. Minor pain, bruising, swelling, or redness are to be expected after treatment. This can last for a few days, but any discomfort can be usually managed using over-the-counter pain relief.
Knowing how to treat your legs during their recovery time is key and maintaining a good relationship with your body stems from patience and consistency. The top recommendation is to move your body. Stretching, walking, or using the treadmill or elliptical are great ways to exercise and keep moving.
However, rest is crucial for at least the first week, so there is no need to rush into your activity—slowly increase instead. Vigorous activities like running and heavy lifting should be avoided in order to keep the vein(s) from straining.
Long periods of sitting or standing should also be avoided throughout the healing process for the same reason. Your legs should be regularly elevated even while sleeping to reduce the pressure put on the lower part of your body and ease pain or swelling. Elevation also keeps the blood from pooling in the legs, improving blood flow to the rest of your body. Crossing your legs should also ideally be avoided.
A warm compress and a gentle massage a few times a day can help if you feel hardened, tender knots. Refrain from soaking in a bath or entering pools of water to avoid infection in the area. Loose clothes should be worn as opposed to tight clothes like skinny jeans that can restrict circulation. Lastly, compression stockings help speed up recovery by applying pressure on your ankles and legs, which help the vein valves to function properly.
Ready to take the first step to a life free of varicose veins?
Just as there is plenty of conflicting information online about varicose veins, it is very easy to stumble upon confusing opinions or descriptions of treatment procedures. Remember to always seek expert medical advice if you or someone you know shows symptoms of vein disease.
If you would like to learn more about varicose veins and the minimally invasive procedures available at the UK Vein Clinic, feel free to browse our blog. And if you are already showing symptoms, even if they’re minor, and would like to get an assessment, speak to our specialists!