The primary goal of walking before and after varicose vein treatment is to get the “foot pump” and “calf pump” working. This helps to move the blood out of the lower leg and back to the heart. The following information provides several tips on how to get the most benefit out of walking.
Why Is It Important To Walk If You Have Chronic Venous Disease?
If blood is stagnating or pooling in your lower extremities, this puts a lot of extra pressure on the veins in this region. The vein walls will be stretched as a result and the vein valves will have far more than the normal pressure on them. This causes the vein walls to deform and vein valves to malfunction. Blood pooling is a direct cause of varicose veins and it makes existing varicose veins deteriorate faster. Once this happens, varicose vein treatment is needed to fix the problem but walking can help alleviate symptoms, slow the progression of the disease, and prevent further damage after varicose vein treatment.
There’s another important health risk to blood stagnating in the lower extremities that does not get talked about as much. As blood pools, toxins accumulate in those fluids. The longer the toxin-filled fluid stagnates, the more toxins seep into the surrounding tissues. This causes inflammation which can, in turn, cause a whole host of health issues. For example, scientists now believe that the inflammation caused by blood pooling contributes to arthritis and can exacerbate health issues like lupus.
Heel To Toe Walking With Full Extension of Ankle Motion
It’s important to maximize the foot and calf pump when walking if you want to get the full benefit from walking. To do this, you first want to make sure that your heel is the first strike on the ground as you walk. Further, you want this strike to be on an even kilter and that the foot then smoothly rolls straight through the arch and the ball of the foot before pushing off with the toes. As your foot moves through the heel to toe motion, you also want to make sure the foot does not turn inward or outward. You want a clean straight heel to toe motion as you walk.
Second, it’s very important when you do your heel to toe motion, that you do a complete extension of the entire ankle motion. When you practice this, if you feel a strain in your calf muscles, you probably haven’t been walking properly and or your calf muscle is underused. If you practice heel to toe walking with a full extension of the ankle motion, your muscles will strengthen and this motion will become natural. This will allow you to maximize the full foot and calf pump when walking. Strengthening these pumps will stave off the need for varicose vein treatment and or prevent further varicose veins from forming after treatment. It will also speed up the healing process after any form of varicose vein treatment.
Walking Is Better Than Jogging
When people jog, their foot, and lower limbs strike the ground with two to three times the force of their total weight. This jarring under heavy pressure motion can easily cause bodily injury such as muscle strains, ligament pulls, cartilage damage, etc. This is made worse if the ground is extra hard, such as when one jogs on a pavement. This constant wear and tear cause damage to the tissues surrounding your veins helping to pump the blood in the veins back to the heart. It can also damage leg veins directly. Lastly, it is easier to practice full extension of the ankle motion when walking than when running, i.e. the foot and calf pump can work better when properly walking than when jogging.
For all of these reasons above, walking is a better exercise than jogging when considering a health benefit to your venous system before and after varicose vein treatment. As with many things in life, moderation is often the best approach. The only exception to this would be jogging underwater as the buoyancy of the water greatly reduces the force of impact. If you enjoy jogging more than walking, look for a gym or rehab center near you that has an underwater treadmill.
Advice About Walking Shoes
A good walking shoe should be flexible, lightweight, breathable, and provide good cushioning, especially in the heel region. It used to be the case that walking shoes had to be “broken in” to provide the needed flexibility. However, this is no longer true due to modern shoe manufacturing practices. In the store, hold the toe of the shoe in one hand and the heel of the shoe in the other, then flex the shoe. It should be fully flexible while it is brand new. Further, it should make sure it’s most flexible in the area around a ball of the foot where your foot naturally bends.
Always try on walking shoes toward the end of the day when your feet have swollen to their maximum size. So, for example, if you go to the mall to buy your shoes, you can walk the mall doing all your other shopping first and then go to the shoe store last. This way, you’ll be sure to buy shoes that are big enough not to constrict blood flow and allow your feet to breathe properly. People with venous difficulty tend to get blisters on their feet more easily so wearing shoes that breathe properly is especially important.
One Final Tip
Always always always wear compression stockings or compression socks as much as possible when you walk. Compression stockings or compression socks will aid in getting the foot and calf pump working. They will also speed up the process of eliminating any pooling of blood. If you want professional advice on walking and a free evaluation of your leg veins, call Metro Vein Centers for an appointment. The vein doctors at Metro Vein Centers are highly experienced in diagnosing vein problems and determining the best type of varicose vein treatment if needed.