Varicose veins can stop you from enjoying the activities you love. For one thing, you might be hesitant to wear shorts, skirts, or garments that show off your legs when you suffer from unsightly varicose veins. This can limit your ability to comfortably function outdoors when temperatures are high.
In addition, common symptoms associated with varicose veins, like aches, pain, swelling, ulcers, and so on, can stop you from engaging is beloved physical fitness activities like jogging, swimming, hiking, biking, playing sports, and more. Whether your reasons for seeking varicose vein treatment are medical or purely cosmetic, there’s a good chance you also wish to resume activities you’ve given up since you developed this condition.
It’s therefore only natural to wonder when you can resume normal activities following your varicose vein treatment, as well as practicing moderate to intense exercise. When you can once again don your running shorts with confidence, you’ll want to pound the pavement in a hurry. However, you first need to take steps to ensure complete recovery and avoid additional harm. Here are some tips pertaining to resuming exercise activities following varicose vein treatment.
The Type of Procedure
First, you need to understand that every patient’s recovery process and timing may be slightly different, and it could depend on factors like age, how many veins you have treated or removed, and where those veins were. There are also several different types of varicose vein treatment, and the one you undergo will almost certainly have an impact on the length of recovery and when you can return to exercise and other activities.
For example, you may be happy with nothing more than wearing compression stockings much of the time for support and to help improve circulation, in which case your ability to exercise may not be impacted at all. On the other end of the spectrum, you could end up having a surgical procedure (vein stripping) that puts you out of commission for weeks.
Of course, there are also several minimally-invasive options to consider, and most are preferable because they show much greater results than merely wearing compression stockings, but entail far less downtime than vein surgery, which is rarely recommended anymore. These options include sclerotherapy, endovenous laser treatment (EVLT), and ambulatory phlebectomy, all of which are offered by experts at specialty clinics like Metro Vein Centers.
Sclerotherapy is an out-patient procedure that involves the use of sclerosants, or medicated solutions that are injected into veins in order to cause them to collapse, after which they will be reabsorbed by the body. This varicose vein treatment could take as little as just a few minutes to complete, after which patients may receive dressings or don compression stockings and return home.
Generally, activities are restricted for 24 hours following the procedure, although some physicians allow and even encourage some walking during this time. You can anticipate returning to normal activities within 24-48 hours of receiving treatment. With this form of treatment, patients are usually told not to perform any strenuous activities for at least 2-3 days, but often, you can return to exercise within just a few days of treatment if all goes well.
You may be asked to wear compression stockings for 1-2 weeks following treatment. Depending on how quickly you recover, your physician will provide recommendations related to resuming intense physical activities.
This varicose vein treatment involves inserting a catheter into the vein in order to apply heat, which causes the vein to close down. Because the vein is sealed off, there is minimal bleeding and pain, as compared to vein stripping. This is perhaps why EVLT has become a much more popular alternative to traditional vein surgery. Like sclerotherapy, this is an out-patient treatment, although it includes the use of a local anesthetic.
Recovery from EVLT is slightly longer than sclerotherapy. Although patients are encouraged to get up and walk regularly in the 1-2 weeks following treatment as a means of speeding the healing process, strenuous activities like jogging, swimming, aerobics, weight training, and high-impact exercise in general should be avoided during this time. For one thing, you don’t want to risk reopening treated veins through strain, but you also need to avoid soaking in water, especially hot water.
In most cases, you can resume normal daily activities within 24 hours after surgery, although standing for long periods of time is not recommended for a few days. Compression stockings should be worn for 1-2 weeks following the procedure.
This minimally-invasive procedure does include the use of small incisions whereby bulging, superficial varicose veins are removed in small sections. Patients are given local anesthesia to reduce discomfort during treatment, and it is an out-patient procedure, which means patients can return home the same day.
Full recovery from ambulatory phlebectomy could take as long as 4-6 weeks, but most patients can resume normal activities and even intense exercise long before incision sites are fully healed, as long as they proceed with caution. Most physicians recommend resuming normal activities, and particularly walking, within 48 hours of the procedure. However, patients are advised to wait 1-2 weeks to start exercising again.
When you do start exercising, you should start slow – don’t plan to run a marathon a couple of weeks after treatment. It may take up to about a month to fully resume high-impact activities, and patients should pay attention to how they feel and stop in the event of pain. As with recovery from sclerotherapy and EVLT, compression stockings should be worn for at least 1-2 weeks.
Stay in Contact with Physicians
Again, it’s important that you know your recovery time may differ slightly from others. You should stay in contact with your physicians at Metro Vein Centers after treatment to make sure you behave in a safe and responsible manner, so as to enjoy the best long-term results.
This includes scheduling follow-up appointments to check progress and calling in to discuss any concerns you may have about returning to exercise following varicose vein treatment. With proper after care, you can soon resume all of the activities you love, including exercise, and enjoy the medical and cosmetic benefits of varicose vein treatment.