Start the Holidays with Vein Health in Mind

By: Dr. J. Keith Thompson


While the holidays are all about family, friends, and fun, they can also be stressful and wreak havoc on your legs and varicose veins. All the extra hours of shopping, cooking, and traveling can take their toll, leaving your legs achy and swollen. So, as we get this holiday season started, here are some tips to help give your veins the care they need.

  • Commit to a Healthy Lifestyle Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise during the holiday season is never easy. Exercise helps the calf pump blood back to your heart which helps promote healthy veins. Diets enriched with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants aid in strengthening the walls of the veins thus contributing to overall vein health. So, for Thanksgiving, fill your plates with cranberries, turkey, green vegetables, and sweet potatoes as these are all filled vein healthy benefits. Avoid foods high in salt as these can contribute to swelling and discomfort to those with varicose veins. And of course, don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated aids healthy blood flow and is essential for good vein health.
  • Wear Compression Stockings Everyone has a love-hate relationship with compression stockings. However, they are an effective way to apply gradient pressure to the lower leg veins which helps blood flow back to the heart and reduce the chance of blood pooling in the legs. If you travel this holiday season, compression stockings are often effective in relieving pain and reducing leg swelling associated with varicose veins.
  • Be Fashionable, but Comfortable While compression stockings are beneficial to vein health, wearing tight, restrictive clothing around the waist and stomach can make it more difficult for blood to move from the legs back to the heart. Although we love a sexy high heel to accompany our holiday party attire, heels can inhibit your calf pump, whereas low-heeled shoes help promote the calf pumping action.
  • Give Your Legs a Break Hours traveling by car or plane can be very uncomfortable for those who suffer from varicose veins. For those long car rides, plan to stop about every two hours to get out and walk around a bit. When on a plane, it is beneficial to walk the cabin aisle every hour or so. Taking walk breaks can help reduce pain and swelling associated with leg varicose veins. While you are seated, performing calf flexes, pointing toes, and rotating ankles frequently can all help your veins push blood back up to the heart. After a long day of traveling, prop up your legs above your heart to allow gravity to assist with proper blood flow.
  • Seek Treatment While all of these tips are helpful, the best solution to eliminate the pain and unsightliness of varicose and spider veins is to seek treatment from a board-certified vein specialist. Our leg vein treatments are done in the office and are minimally invasive with typically no downtime and mostly covered by insurance, Medicare/caid. So, for an enjoyable and safe holiday season, take time to pamper your legs at the Vein Institute in Hattiesburg and D'Iberville. Dr. Thompson and his team can have you dancing the night away with your family and friends this holiday season.

About the author: Keith Thompson, DO, RVT, FACOS, is a full-time, board-certified Vein Specialist. He is medical director of the Vein Institute of South Mississippi with offices in D’Iberville and Hattiesburg and D'Iberville (601-336-8368) ~

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.