If you are like most people, you don’t think too much about the calf muscle in your lower leg.
In addition to connecting the ankle bone to the knee bone, the calf muscle assists the pumping of blood from your feet up to your heart and lungs. Consisting of seven muscles that work together, your calf only works when you are walking or running.
This function is one reason you are reading about the calf in an article about varicose veins. The other reason is that sometimes the calf stops doing its pumping job well.
Standing or sitting for long periods can lead to swelling in your lower legs. When the valves in your leg veins start to break down, blood can pool in your lower legs. This causes the calf muscles to work even harder to move the blood back up to your heart.
Conservative means you do it
When you start to see signs of varicose veins, your doctor might suggest “conservative” treatment to slow down the progression of the disease. Such conservative treatment will include regular walking or running to keep the calf muscles strong enough to keep pumping blood.
Your vein specialist will tell you to avoid long periods of standing or sitting, even if you are in a profession that requires it, like teaching, nursing or police work. Maintaining a healthy weight to decrease blood pressure and anti-inflammation medicine might be prescribed.
You are also likely to hear about compression stockings. These work by creating tight pressure around your foot and ankle, becoming gradually less compressed as they go up your leg.
More alternatives for vein treatments
Some doctors might also discuss herbal treatments. Horse chestnut has especially been touted to relieve vein pain and pressure, though scientific studies have been inconclusive at best.
These conservative treatments may slow down progression of the disease, but they will not cure it. Varicose veins inevitably get worse, at which time you might want to consider modern non-invasive treatments that are done in the comfort of your vein specialist’s office, with a quick recovery and few potential side effects.
Ready to talk to a vein specialist about your varicose vein? Schedule a free consulting appointment with the Vein Institute of Connecticut.