Varicose veins. or spider veins, are a common condition that occurs in adults with Chicago Vein Institute estimating that about 40 million Americans have contracted it. These have affected common everyday people, like nurses whose demanding workload and intense workhouse make them vulnerable to developing them. Without any treatment or lifestyle change, varicose veins can develop into venous insufficiency and, eventually, vein disease.
So how can you treat your varicose veins as a nurse? Extensive periods of standing and sitting cause blood to pool in the leg veins, causing varicose veins. Constant moving, strengthening the legs, and comfortable work clothing are several ways to ease spider veins during your shift. Consider preventative measures or other treatments if you are vulnerable to varicose veins.
Living with unwanted veins is a thing of the past, when you can simply schedule a free consultation with Vein Center Doctor and find your ideal solution today.
Varicose veins occur when the blood in the leg vein pools instead of being pumped back upwards to the heart. This causes the vein to enlarge and become crammed with blood, causing pain and discomfort in the leg. On the surface of the skin, it looks like twisted red and blue veins, hence its other title spider veins. Eventually, this might lead to an ulcer, blood clots, and even chronic venous insufficiency. It is pertinent to start treating the vein once diagnosed.
Nurses are particularly vulnerable to developing varicose veins due to the nature of their jobs. This includes many hours of sitting and standing in high-pressure scenarios. There are unlikely scenarios where the leg muscles are actively engaged in an activity to get the blood in its veins pumping up to the heart.
A study in April 2022 notes several other reasons why nurses commonly get spider veins. Risk factors include lifting heavy objects, family history, and lack of physical activity. Since women are more likely to develop varicose veins compared to men, additional factors like hormonal therapy, contraceptive pills, and other factors related to pregnancy like the number of children and the delivery method.
Another study published in February 2020 cited prolonged standing to be the number one risk factor among nurses in a certain hospital. Those who stood for 4 to 5 hours a day were the most vulnerable to developing varicose veins. The researchers surmised that the likelihood of contracting varicose veins multiplies to 27 times with every hour of standing.
It is clear that the nature of the nursing occupation opens up the possibility of catching varicose veins. Once diagnosed, it is a condition that must be paid attention to or other vein diseases may foster. Though it may seem near impossible with the active duty of a nurse, these steps can slowly be eased within your shift.
Since standing is the biggest risk factor for varicose veins, do the opposite. Try to move your legs whenever you can. If you’re sitting at the front desk, take the time to move out of your seat if it isn’t a busy shift. When you’re standing idly, pace around the station to keep the blood in your veins circulating. If walking is too distracting, alternate lifting your knee on each leg for 5 minutes to maintain blood circulation.
Another physical way to ease spider veins is to make use of the gravity that is pulling down the blood in the legs. After your shift or during your lunch break, find a place to lie down and support your legs with a pillow. This is to allow any blood that is having difficulty traversing the blocked vein valves to pass through easier. It also relieves any pressure that may have accumulated from extended periods of standing.
Fortifying your legs with exercise can strengthen the muscles to push more blood up the heart. Along with better blood circulation and stronger leg muscles, it also has the added benefit of weight loss. Less weight means less pressure on the leg veins and better overall blood flow across the veins.
Though varicose veins are most easily identified with their spider web-like appearance on the legs, the vein condition may develop without any visual appearance. This is known as hidden varicose disease as the problem vein is much deeper from the surface of the skin.
The most common symptoms of the hidden varicose disease are pain, heavyweight, tenderness, and tiredness in the legs. Any swelling and red or brown markings in the ankles are also symptoms of deep-seated varicose veins. Only a venous duplex ultrasound scan can properly diagnose a hidden varicose disease. If the above symptoms appear and persist with any other treatments, consider consulting a vein specialist immediately.
If you wish to address the risk of varicose veins as a nurse, there are multiple ways to start now. Prevention steps can also give benefits to your blood flow, physical activity, and body weight to keep your body balanced, even with nurse duties.
Avoid all tightening clothing is a must as it can affect blood flow even with minimal hours of standing. Choose more loose-fitting and comfortable scrubs if your current ones are tight or scratching the surface of your skin. This tip should also be followed outside the hospital with clothes like skinny jeans or leggings. Don’t wear these clothes, especially when you come back from work. Wear baggier clothing when resting to allow your legs to breathe.
Conversely, a compression stocking or a compression sock can help increase blood flow on the arm or the leg as the body throughout the hospital. The compression can even assist blood going up from the leg. Consult a doctor to be provided with a perspective for a proper compression stocking.
Along with bottoms, footwear plays a large role in blood circulation. TIghter shoes or those that go against the foot’s natural shape like high heels will only increase the pressure on the leg veins, causing blood to continue to pool there. In and out of the hospital, wear soft and snug footwear that makes walking around a breeze.
Start taking note of your weight as going over your BMI will make it difficult for blood in the varicose veins to dissipate. Exercising, avoiding foods high in salt intake, and avowing substances like alcohol will provide a boost to your blood flow, vein health, and body weight.
While the symptoms like pain and discomfort along with the unsightly appearance of varicose veins and spider veins can be a hindrance to day-to-day life as a nurse, there are treatments available that can easily fix that. These minimally-invasive treatments are all available in Vein Center Doctor.
This treatment involves injecting a solution that suspends the damaged vein from the rest of the leg. The blood flow will continue to other working veins. The injected vein will eventually reassemble to the rest of the tissue. This treatment is perfect for small yet bother varicose veins. The vein takes a few weeks to fade away.
Instead of a suspending solution, radiofrequency ablation utilizes heat generated from electricity to self off the problematic vein. Within 1 to 2 weeks, the varicose vein and its associated pain symptoms will completely disappear.
VenaSeal is the Vein Center Doctor’s latest treatment in vein surgery. It makes use of an FDA-approved adhesive that closes off the vein. Not only can you go right back to work the next day, but the treatment also doesn’t even need a compression stocking afterward to maintain its effects.
Bruises are expected to happen within the first two weeks as the vein and its pooled blood have been sealed off. These can be treated at home to reduce their dark color and size but know it's completely part of the procedure.
The best treatment is utilizing ice and compression bandages or stockings to slow down the growth of swelling and bruising in the treated area. Adding arnica oil or consuming arnica pellets is another effective alternative treatment that can lessen the bruising.
Varicose veins signal a shift in your body’s needs. Once it has been properly diagnosed, particular lifestyle choices are needed to fortify your vein health to prevent any bulging veins, chronic venous insufficiency, deep vein thrombosis, and other vein-related complications. As frontline healthcare workers, nurses deserve the best vein care available.
At Vein Center Doctor, our board-certified staff offers excellent vein care with state-of-the-art medical technology. Led by Dr. Rahul Sood, who has 10,000 successful leg vein procedures under his belt, our staff can ease any vein problems you may have with compression therapy and minimally invasive surgeries. Book an appointment now to let us help you start working toward healthy veins.
Find exactly what you need to get rid of your vein-related problems. Dr. Sood and the rest of our team at Vein Center Doctor are ready to help: schedule your free consultation today.
Most Insurance is accepted for treatment