Prevention of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins cannot be prevented in all cases. Ways to help minimize the condition include the following:

  • Maintain a healthy weight—Obesity/overweight increases pressure on veins. Additionally, a low salt diet causes less swelling (edema) in the body.
  • Shoes and clothing—Low-heeled shoes can help vein-pumping muscles in the calves work harder and increase vein circulation more than high heels. Wearing support stocking can improve blood flow in the legs. Avoid wearing tight clothing that constricts the waist or upper thighs.
  • Exercise—Moderate exercise (e.g., walking) can increase circulation in the legs and is beneficial.
  • Elevate the legs—Putting the feet up (higher than heart level) increases circulation in the legs. Rest your feet on the couch armrest with a pillow behind your head while watching television.
  • Standing and sitting—Avoid standing for long periods of time and if you must stand for a long time, shift your weight form one leg to the other often. While sitting, avoid crossing your legs since this restricts blood flow out of your legs.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 27 Jun 2007

Last Modified: 13 Oct 2015