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How Varicose vein treatment enhances sports performance

Athletes are, by definition, in peak physical condition. Every nuance of their life is carefully monitored to see if it influences their sports performance. From what and when they eat, to what time they go to bed, it’s all part of a considerable equation which makes the perfect sports star.

Varicose veins however can upset that equation.

What many people consider a cosmetic problem is actually a genuine disease, with real, physical and debilitating consequences. 

Can athletes get varicose veins?

Yes they can. Unfortunately, anyone can develop varicose veins, even if they’re in great physical shape.
The good news is, exercise won’t help in the development of varicose veins.

The bad news is, it won’t protect you from them either.

For most patients the development of varicose veins is mainly down to bad luck – and bad genes.

Athletes and sports enthusiasts are still equally susceptible to the disease, but perhaps because their bodies regularly sustain heavy stress, it’s easier for athletes to overlook the pain, swelling, and cramping, mistaking them for a strain or pulled muscle.

The real danger here is, if left untreated, varicose veins can become a serious sports injury, impacting performance, and possibly even ending careers.

Effect on performance

Varicose veins come about when blood doesn’t flow up the leg properly, instead, dropping back down and pooling in the vein, causing it to budge.

When at rest, about one litre of blood flows through each leg. When exercising, that can increase to five litres per leg.

Healthy veins can handle this increase, but damaged veins can not.

Any exercise which increases blood flow through already damaged veins will stretch and damage them further. Athletes with varicose veins will probably already notice this at the end of a training session.

The more exercise a person undertakes, the faster the heart beats, and the more blood flows through the body. As the pressure increases in the damaged vein, rising pain and swelling weakens the limb, reducing strength and cardiovascular endurance.

What are the solutions?

Certain sports and activities place more stress on veins in the legs than other sports.

Weightlifting, running and cycling force the legs to support heavier weight over longer periods increasing stress on the veins.

Compression stockings are among the most effective preventative measures against varicose veins. The compression will counteract spiking blood pressure and prevent blood from collecting in the legs, ensuring that the blood continues to circulate properly. As a result, pain and swelling will quickly subside.

Swimming is a better option for exercise if you suffer from the condition, as the water supports the legs and you’re horizontal, meaning the gravitational pull on the blood is less, reducing swelling.

However these are short-term solutions, and for long-term results professional treatment should be considered.

Varicose Vein treatments

The following treatments are all designed for the removal of varicose veins with the minimal amount of disruption and pain.

Endovenous Laser Ablation(EVLA)

EVLA is a simple day procedure, even though it can be used to treat the largest of varicose veins cases.
Using a laser, which converts light energy to heat energy, the treatment destroys the vein walls, causing the vein to collapse, stop working, and gradually disappear over several weeks or months.

Venaseal

The Venaseal Closure System is a new treatment which involves inserting a small catheter into the damaged vein and literally gluing the vein walls shut from the inside.

Once the affected vein is closed, blood is immediately re-routed through other healthy veins in the leg. With no surgery or anaesthetic, the procedure is performed as an outpatient and with virtually no recovery time.

Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy

Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy (UGS) involves injecting a chemical solution into the varicose vein, transforming it from soft and supple, to solid and fibrous. The body then gradually absorbs this tough, new tissue over the next few weeks and months. 

Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy is a simple day procedure, and all normal activities can be resumed immediately, although compression stockings may need to be worn for a week or two.

Enhance your sports performance and say goodbye to varicose veins

Just like non-athletes, sportsmen and women can’t get relief from varicose veins without treating the root cause.

If you’re a professional athlete, a sports enthusiast, or even just someone who likes to go to the gym regularly, you can enhance your performance and protect yourself from rising symptoms by undergoing varicose vein treatment.

Contact us today if you would like to know more about the options available to you, or if you would like to book a consultation with our expert, Dr Henryk Poczwa, Dr Jarrod Newell, and Dr Lorraine Smith.

When it comes to competitions, every little bit helps.