07.14.2014

Can Athletes Get Varicose Veins?

athletes and varicose veinsWhen we think of athletes we think of someone that is healthy and disease free. Conditions such as chronic vein insufficiency, venous leg ulcers, and varicose veins are commonly associated with older, inactive adults. However, such conditions can affect anyone. Four-time Olympic medalist Summer Sanders was victim to varicose veins. The former competitive swimmer has spoken openly about her experience, hoping to increase awareness and encourage others experiencing symptoms to seek treatment.

Although rigorous exercise does not cause varicose veins it can aggravate the condition, leading to throbbing, aching and sometimes unbearable pain after hours of standing or sitting. So why would a healthy and active person develop varicose veins? Even athletes are prone to genetics! If one parent has a history of vein disease, their offspring will have a 33% chance of having vein related health issues. If both parents have a history this raises the risk to 90% for the offspring. Additional risk factors include hormone replacement, aging, obesity and pregnancy.

Initially, varicose veins may seem to be a cosmetic concern and many do not seek treatment. During training, an athlete may not experience any symptoms at all. There could be a delay of 30 minutes or more before they have any discomfort. As symptoms set in, they could feel throbbing, aching and fatigue. When exerting one self, the muscles require more oxygen by way of increased blood flow through the arteries. The extra blood then needs to be carried through the leg veins back to the heart. If the valves in the veins are not functioning properly, excess blood remains in the lower part of the leg. Elevating the leg may ease a certain amount of discomfort as gravity aids in draining the blood, yet this will not take all the pain away. The thing about varicose veins is that they only get worse over time. Left untreated, varicose veins can definitely hinder an athlete’s performance.

The good news for athletes and for anyone suffering from varicose veins is there are minimally invasive, pain-free treatment options available. These procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis and have a quick recovery time. Dr. Kaveh is qualified to perform both the Clarivein procedure and the Venefit procedure, two of the most advanced treatment methods available. Call now to schedule your evaluation!