Can Athletes Get Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are large veins that are twisted and located just beneath the surface of the skin. These veins start to bulge due to weakened valves in the legs that carry blood from your lower extremities to your heart. Because the veins are weak and unable to pump blood as efficiently as normal veins, they become large as the blood collects in the leg and the pressure builds up. While this condition is not always serious, it can lead to problems that include: swelling, inflammation, calf pain, open sores and a more serious condition in the deeper veins called deep vein thrombosis. While varicose veins do run in some families, it is more common for individuals with increased pressure on the legs to suffer from enlarged veins.

Anyone Is At-Risk

If you are an athlete or you routinely exercise, you may be wondering why you suffer from bulging veins. After all, you take care of yourself, you watch what you eat and you live an active lifestyle where you put your health first. Unfortunately, athletes who are physically fit and in good shape are just as likely to suffer from varicose veins as someone who is not fit if varicose veins run in the family. In fact, the statistics show that one of the biggest risk factors is heredity, and if one of your parents has varicose veins you have a 33% chance of having your own problems. This percentage goes up to 90% if both of your parents have had vein problems in their life.

Other Risk Factors That Contribute

While heredity is one of the biggest determining factors in whether or not enlarged veins will become a problem for you, other risk factors should also be considered. If you are pregnant, aging or overweight, you have a greater chance of getting varicose veins. Exercise does not prevent or cause vein problems, but if you already have been diagnosed with the problem, you may find that your legs throb and ache following activity. This is because some blood pools in your legs that would normally be pumped to the heart as you exercise. Until you elevate the legs and drain the blood from where it has pooled, they will ache and feel heavier than the normal leg. While the condition is not commonly life-threatening, it can progress over time if left untreated.

You have no control over heredity, but you do have control over your health. If your varicose veins are hindering your athletic performance or affecting your quality of life, it is time to consider treatment. It is important to review all of your treatment options and to choose the one that offers the greatest success rate but is still not invasive. Address the issue and speak with doctors about solutions.