Do you suffer from painful swelling and aching in your lower legs? Is it painful for you to walk? Does pain occur in your legs shortly after stopping movement? What about the presence of varicose veins?
These are all symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
The Cleveland Clinic states that CVI occurs when the veins in your legs and feet are unable to move blood out of the legs and back to the heart. This means that oxygen depleted blood and other waste (such as lactic acid) from your muscles pools in your legs, causing painful swelling. Normal functioning veins will push the blood out of your muscles and back up to the heart to be re-oxygenated.
Your veins are used to carry blood back to your heart. To do this they require the use of valves that open and close, pushing the blood to the heart. When these valves do not function properly, the blood will flow in both directions, not just the heart.
But what happens when your veins and surrounding muscles are not strong enough to support this process? Instead of moving, the blood pools, causing painful swelling. To prevent CVI from affecting your life, you can live a healthy lifestyle, take preventative measures daily, and wear a compression sleeve can help alleviate your pain.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
One of the most important aspects of your health is your body weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential to preventing several health concerns. Blood pressure increases as your weight goes up and CVI is greatly affected by high blood pressure. When blood begins to pool in the veins, blood pressure increases and the walls of your veins expand. If this happens frequently over time, CVI can occur.
Being obese puts great strain on your body, as your body has to work that much harder to move blood and oxygen. By managing your body weight, you help your blood flow easier and eliminate the complications that arise with the presence of excess fat.
It is also important that you refrain from smoking. Smoking tobacco negatively affects the body’s ability to circulate blood properly. Because nicotine is a stimulant, it causes an increase in the number of beats per minute that the heart beats, which raises blood pressure. As previously mentioned, high blood pressure stretches veins and weakens the valves that pump the blood. Additionally, over time nicotine will cause your arteries to shrink, thereby making it that much harder for the heart to pump blood throughout the body.
Take Preventative Measures
CVI can also be a result of a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting or standing for long periods of time without movement increases blood pressure in your lower legs. Taking preventative measures by adding movement into your day will greatly decrease the pressure in your legs.
If your line of work requires you to sit or stand still for long periods of time, then take advantage of small opportunities throughout the day to move your legs and stimulate blood flow. If you sit at a desk, try doing “the wooden leg” exercise. If your work requires you to stand, add some calf raises or small leg kicks throughout the day.
Outside of your workday, focus on full body workouts that also target your legs. Walking, running, and swimming are all great activities that require constant use of your legs. Adding targeted leg movement into your day will have a great effect on the health of your legs, as the increased muscle strength will boost circulation.
Wear a Compression Sleeve
If you suffer from poor circulation or have been diagnosed with CVI then try wearing a compression sleeve. Compression sleeves are built to gently squeeze your calf muscles. The additional pressure provided by a compression sleeve will help your weakened veins pump blood back up to your heart. Painful pooling and clotting will be avoided and the blood can move back to the heart to be re-oxygenated. The Orthosleeve CS6 Compression Calf Sleeve is a great way to help alleviate the pain caused by CVI.