Venous Insufficiency in Athletes
When you think of incredible Olympic and professional athletes, you would never imagine their finely tuned, agile and healthy bodies ever developing any kind of vein issues, but it has happened to some of the best.
Venous insufficiency affects many people at varying levels of activity and nonactivity. The normal condition features symptoms that occur on the legs or ankles and can include heaviness, throbbing, swelling, cramping, sluggishness, tautness and pain.
Female Athletes Are Most Affected
Summer Sanders is one of them. She earned gold medals in swimming at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Games. Sanders also began developing varicose veins when she became pregnant with her son. She has become the face of women athletes challenged with vein conditions, and her image has helped bring more awareness to the issue.Male athletes are also vulnerable to vein problems whether the sport is football, soccer, weightlifting, running, biking, etc.
These annoying circulatory issues often diminish an athlete’s game or performance without their knowing the true cause of origin.
One-Way Valve Dysfunctions/Weakens
Venous insufficiency occurs when your leg veins’ one-way valves do not work properly and have difficulty sending blood back to the heart. The blood can collect in the lower extremity veins and contribute to further problems.Varicose veins and blood clots can damage these one-way valves.
If you are between the ages of 35 and 55, smoke, are obese, have been pregnant, or there is a history of vein problems in your family, then, your risk is higher of developing this circulatory deficiency.
Aggressive Training Aggravates Symptoms
Athletes develop venous reflux disease like the rest of the general population, but in this case, an acceleration in training and performance can worsen the issue. For example, certain sports can put further stress on the veins of the legs. Some of these include tennis, cycling, distance running and lifting weights.For women who become pregnant, venus reflux often starts to appear as it was in the case of Summer Sanders. An athletic routine and way of life can further exacerbate the condition for females.
Men often notice venous reflux problems developing due to a family history of the condition, and many experience the discomforting symptoms through a job where heavy lifting is the norm or one that involves standing on your feet for hours.
Ankle Skin Can Tell The Story
Not only can the legs and feet feel uncomfortable with any kind of prominent, lower extremity vein conditions, but the skin in these areas can reflect on the outside what’s occurring inside the veins.For instance, venous stasis is a form of dermatitis that can include some unattractive cosmetic symptoms in women. The condition develops as a result of blood pooling in the leg veins that leaks out into the skin. The ankle area skin can take on a reddish color or even yellow or brown.
Venous eczema or venous stasis dermatitis are the scientific names for this inflammation and discoloration that often features thickening of the skin and ulcers (open sores) for others.
Athletes Managing Vein Conditions
No one wants to give up their healthy, active and athletic lifestyle, so reducing congestion of the veins post-workout or post-performance can effectively deliver relief, recovery and legs/feet that bounce back:
- Compression Garments
Compression garments that include stockings and leg sleeves do a great job boosting circulation while providing lower leg support. These garments are excellent to also wear while training because the special material provides a full range of motion pain-free and halts swelling and venous buildup.
- Yoga Positions
Yoga not only stretches and tones the major muscles in the thighs and calves but allows the blood to flow during gentle movement.There are a variety of inverted yoga poses or asanas that zero in on circulation, and let the blood flow naturally with gravity toward your heart. The shoulder stand (salamba sarvangasana) is a great pose for the leg vein valves.
- Leg Elevation
Sitting in one place for a prolonged period is never healthy for anyone’s body, and medical experts recommend moving about like taking a brisk walk for a few minutes.Standing around for hours is no better, and when possible, it’s advised to keep your feet elevated above your heart for 15 minutes every few hours.
- Steroid Cream
To combat rashes, redness or dry skin around the ankles and legs, dermatologists recommend an over-the-counter steroid cream to apply for comfort and to stop any itchiness that develops.In addition, a rich, creamy moisturizer that is hypo-allergenic is wonderful to soothe the skin. Ingredients that contain glycerin, mineral oil and oatmeal extracts are very good calming ingredients.
- In-Office Vein Therapy
Minimally invasive vein therapy is the ultimate way for an athlete to get to the root of the problem, and seek the best option for longterm improvement. Getting back at peak performance is always essential for an athlete, and there are a variety of treatments and procedures that can be performed in a comfortable and safe office environment.One of these is called endovenous ablation, and no surgical incision is needed. The procedure offers a high success rate.
Visit The Specialists at St Johns Vein Center
The best thing you can do if you believe you are experiencing venous insufficiency is to check with the experts who work with veins all day long.
St Johns Vein Center is proud to be “the only IAC (Intersocietal Accreditation Commission) accredited vein center in Northeast Florida.” The vein experts continue to provide the ultimate level of care for their patients in a private setting surrounded by a knowledgeable and friendly team of professionals.
Set up your consultation now for an advanced treatment of options that include the finest in leading-edge technology.
Contact St Johns Vein Center today. Or call them toll-free at 877-640-VEIN.