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Varicose Veins and Athletes – The Surprising Facts

Athletes don’t get varicose veins. And the Easter Bunny is real. Santa Claus, too.

The truth is, varicose veins don’t care who you are or how much you exercise. They don’t even care if you’re young or old, male or female. Anyone can develop varicose veins – even athletes.

“If you’re an athlete, varicose veins can affect your stamina and even cause performance issues,” said Dr. Russell Lam.

Certain sports place more stress on the veins in the legs than other sports. Weightlifting, skiing and backpacking force the legs to support heavier weight over longer periods. Also, repetitive-motion activities like running and cycling can increase stress on the veins in the legs.

The more intense the participation, the greater the likelihood of developing superficial or even varicose veins.

What Should I Do?

If you are an athlete and you are experiencing the following post-exercise symptoms, don’t ignore it! Consider seeing a vein specialist like Dr. Lam, especially if you notice any of the following:

  • Tired, heavy legs
  • Localized pain and/or swelling
  • Itchy, swollen legs
  • Blue, bulging veins

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right? Wearing a compression stocking can actually improve athletic performance, as it helps promote efficient circulation in the legs and feet.

If compression stockings are not enough, there are some simple, minimally-invasive procedures Dr. Lam offers that can alleviate an already-existing condition without resorting to more invasive surgery.

Varicose Veins Treatments Dr. Lam Offers*

  • Venefit Targeted Endovenous Therapy – an innovative treatment that uses radiofrequency ablation. During this minimally invasive procedure, Dr. Lam will insert a catheter through a tiny incision and maneuver it to the damaged area of the vein. Radiofrequency waves will heat, collapse and seal the vein, permanently blocking the blood flow and rerouting the blood flow to adjacent healthy veins. This technique offers faster recovery, with less discomfort, bruising and complications.
  • Phlebectomy – a varicose vein removal procedure in which several small incisions are created in the skin through which the varicose vein is removed. In the majority of cases, stitches are not required. Phlebectomy is an outpatient procedure that can be performed in-office under light sedation with local anesthesia.
  • High Ligation and Stripping of Varicose Veins – Vein ligation and stripping is a minor procedure used to remove a damaged vein as well as prevent complications from vein damage. An incision is made beneath the vein, a flexible device is threaded through the vein and into the incision, which is used to grasp and remove the vein.

If you are an athlete suffering from varicose veins, call Lam Vascular & Associates today. You’ll be back in the game in no time.


The information contained in this article is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice. Patient results will vary based on risk factors, age, disease and medical history and are not guaranteed in any way.

The information contained in this website is neither intended to dictate what constitutes reasonable, appropriate or best care for any given health issue, nor is it intended to be used as a substitute for the independent judgment of a physician for any given health issue. Patient results will vary based on risk factors, age, disease and medical history. Please seek physician's advice. Like any procedure, it may come with benefits, risks or side effects associated. Click here for additional information.

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