Health & Symptoms

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Prolonged Sitting and Standing, Impact on Vein Health

People who are involved with prolonged sitting or standing in their daily activities have an increased risk of poor vein health. Thus, the weight of the blood continuously pressing against the closed valves causes them to fail, leading to distention in the veins.

The development of varicose veins and spider veins may begin at any age but usually occurs between the ages of 18 and 35 years, and peaks between 50 and 60 years.

Preventative Care

Elevate your legs when possible, keeping your feet positioned higher than heart level.

Exercise daily. Walking, climbing stairs, cycling and swimming keep your calf muscles in motion to activate the calf muscle pump. This reduces pooling and pressure in the veins.

Move your legs throughout the day. Flexing your ankles periodically will pump the blood out of your legs (simulating walking). During periods of prolonged sitting or standing, flex your ankles 10 times and repeat this every 10 minutes. Try to avoid sitting for extended periods throughout your day.

Support compression hose provides external graduated counter-pressure to aid in venous blood flow to the heart. They reduce pooling and pressure in the veins. They also may reduce the risk of forming a deep vein blood clot. Consider wearing them during long plane or car rides.

Maintain your ideal body weight to reduce excess pressure on your legs.

Keep moving. On long car or plane trips activate your calf muscle pump by moving your feet up and down frequently as described above. You should also consider stopping for short walks every few hours if you are on a long drive.

Avoid excessive heat on your legs, such as hot tubs and hot baths. Heat will tend to increase vein distention and lead to more pooling of blood.

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