Varicose Vein Recovery

Varicose vein recovery

Getting treatment for varicose veins is commonly (and erroneously) associated with pain and a long recovery. At the UK Vein Clinic, each of the procedures we offer is minimally invasive, which means that patients are usually able to resume normal activities almost right away

varicose vein removal recovery

What happens after getting varicose vein treatment

Recovery after varicose vein treatment is a relatively quick and smooth process. However, similarly to any other medical procedure, the healing process will differ from patient to patient, and may take slightly more or less time depending on the individual.

Below we describe the recovery process our patients would normally experience.

The first 24 hours

Immediately after a Radiofrequency Ablation or Foam Sclerotherapy procedure, the treated area can feel tender or numb, and some patients report feeling the vein as a sore line or string inside the skin. At this point, most patients experience a slight discomfort that, if necessary, can easily be managed with over-the-counter painkillers.

Patients who undergo Veinwave treatment (a minimally invasive technique used for treating smaller thread or spider veins, most commonly found on the face) may also experience minor discomfort.

Prior to leaving the clinic, you will be asked by a venous specialist to wear compression stockings continuously for the first 48 hours. You should also refrain from bathing the treated area for at least 24 hours and avoid pools, hot tubs and bath tubs for the 10 days following your procedure in order to avoid infection. After the first 48 hours and once you've bathed, we recommend you put stockings back on and keep them on during the day for the next two weeks or for as long as you can tolerate them.

Whether or not you will be able to drive back home after a treatment session is entirely subjective. Some patients experience no discomfort whatsoever after treatment, but patients with higher sensitivity might find it challenging to drive. In short, we advise patients not to drive until they feel comfortable enough to perform an emergency stop.

The next two weeks

Normally, it is possible for Radiofrequency Ablation or Sclerotherapy patients to resume activities immediately.

However, we recommend waiting up to 10 days before returning to vigorous exercises such as running, weight lifting, or cycling. It is also important that you avoid lifting heavy items during this period. Some good ways of staying active without compromising your recovery are walking ( because it helps blood flow through the deep veins of your legs) and exercises that do not bear any additional weight to the legs and/or arms.

We also advise patients who have received treatment to avoid long-haul flights for 6 weeks after treatment, given the increased risk of thrombosis in a pressurised plane cabin.

Will there be pain after my varicose vein treatment?

Most likely not. The majority of Radiofrequency Ablation and Foam/Micro Sclerotherapy patients do not experience any issues throughout their recovery. However, you may notice a tightening sensation in the legs after a few days. This is completely normal and might last for a couple of days. Swelling, cramping and bruising are also commonplace.

Possible treatment complications

While Sclerotherapy and Radiofrequency Ablation carry low risks of side effects or complications, there are a few things you should be aware of.


Many patients experience minor bruising in the days following treatment but, occasionally, the treated area can become very bruised. This generally disappears after a few weeks and we recommend walking or using an exercise bike (in the lowest resistance possible) as simple ways to reduce this.

Superficial thrombophlebitis

These are hard areas of blood clotting formed around the treated veins. They feel like a lump and, although they pose no threat, they may be inflamed and uncomfortable. If this happens, anti-inflammatory drugs will help, but we recommend discussing your situation with one of our specialists.

These lumps, along with any discomfort caused by them, will eventually subside and disappear. Just like bruising, regular, low-intensity exercise can be helpful, but another option is wearing your compression socks for a few more days to help with any pain.

Brown pigmentation of the skin

This can happen following superficial thrombophlebitis and, usually, it fades over time

Nerve injuries

Both Radiofrequency Ablation and Sclerotherapy are minimally invasive procedures. However, sometimes the nerves that run close to the vein can get damaged by the procedure. This is nothing to worry about. If this happens you will most likely experience temporary numbness or tingling, which might be very noticeable at first, but will gradually disappear

Will there be any follow up sessions?

Yes. Patients are typically advised to return 8 to 12 weeks after their first session to have any residual varicose veins treated. The exact timing will be determined by how your body responds to the initial procedure.

Getting varicose vein treatment at the UK Vein Clinic

We offer world-class treatment for an affordable and fixed fee - and a result that’s guaranteed. Led by scientifically-backed research and evidence, as well as many years of experience, our team of leading vascular surgeons and scientists only offer specialised treatments that are proven to deliver the best outcomes. To learn more about our treatments, click here.

And, if you’ve been living with varicose veins for some time, or have been experiencing vein disease symptoms, our experts can give you the assessment you need.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is varicose vein treatment painful?

For the most part, no. Most patients report only slight discomfort, if any, during the procedures (although everyone’s response to treatment and threshold for pain will vary)

Radiofrequency Ablation is carried out under local anaesthetic, whilst Veinwave treatment for thread/spider veins does not require anaesthetic and is virtually painless. Foam and Micro Sclerotherapy are well tolerated by most patients and can be compared with having a blood test or flu vaccine

When can I return to work?

Whenever you feel comfortable enough to do so. In most cases, we recommend taking between two days to one week off work depending on the type of work you do. If your job involves physical effort, prolonged standing or constant driving, we would advise you to take longer off work

How soon can I travel after receiving treatment?

We advise our patients to avoid long-haul flights for 6 weeks after treatment. If you have already booked a trip, it is important that you abstain from recreational activities such as swimming or horse riding, given the need to wear compression stockings for up to two weeks

Where to find us

We're pleased to be able to provide our world-class varicose vein treatment in a variety of places throughout the United Kingdom. Learn more about your treatment options, including endovenous radio-frequency ablation (EVRF) and foam sclerotherapy, at the clinic closest to you


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