Anytime you have a job that requires you to stand, walk, or run on a hard surface (such as tile/concrete) for long periods of time, there is an increased risk for developing spider veins and varicose veins.
It just so happens that nurses, CNA’s, Doctors, and every medical position in-between has to deal with standing for long hours. So is there anything Nurses can do to prevent the development of Varicose veins or spider veins? What causes those veins anyway?
What Causes Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are those really large veins that appear on the legs of older people. They have a tendency to look like really large twisted pieces of rope or tubing.
They often result from sedentary lifestyles, although heredity can play a large role as well. What happens with this is that valves in the vein become damaged over time, causing blood to pool in these veins. This results in the veins becoming larger over time, until you have the appearance of “varicose veins.”
Spider veins look different from varicose veins. Spider veins are very small looking veins that are usually purple, red, or blue. These also result from blood pooling and leaking around the vein, and trauma can also cause this.
What Can Nurses Do to Prevent Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?
While some of us may be predisposed to developing these vein problems, there are a few things we can do to prevent them from forming in the first place. Here are a few tips:
1. Exercise your legs frequently. You may think to yourself, “Geez, I work on my legs for 12 hours, why do I need to exercise them too?” But in reality, exercise is a world of difference from merely walking or standing.
If you exercise, your muscles will be toned, and your vascular system tends to work better. Exercise also helps your heart pump blood more efficiently. This will prevent the “pooling” of blood, and also prevent the break down of your vein tissue, which in turn will prevent varicose and spider veins.
I know it seems silly to exercise your legs after working 36 or more hours on them per week, but trust me, standing or walking for 12 hours is NOT exercise for them. If it were, we would all have great legs. Your legs can handle standing or walking 12 hours easily without getting more toned. Instead, you need to use a leg press machine, bicycle, leg curl machine, squats, and other leg exercises that use resistance. You must “feel the burn.” No pain, no gain. Or let me phrase it like this: If you don’t feel pain, expect a varicose vein!
2.Compression Stockings for Nurses These things are really neat, and a great way to help prevent veins from forming. My mother is a nurse, and she has always sworn by her TED hose. These are simply really really tight compression tights (kind of like knee highs) that come up to the knee area on the leg.
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Video about How Compression Stockings Work
These keep your skin nice and compressed for the entire shift while you work, and helps keep the blood circulating as it should be (rather than pooling somewhere).
I have 2 or 3 pairs of these, and I love them. They also help cut down on your feet getting so sore. I put them on under my scrubs, and no one ever knows they are there.
3. Massage Your Legs–After a long shift, you can always sit in one of those handy massage chairs. You need to keep the muscles relaxed and the blood flowing! So getting a nice massage on those legs can help keep them in good shape, and prevent unsightly veins from forming.
4. Eat a Balanced Diet–Eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight can also work wonders for preventing varicose veins and spider veins. By maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly, you can ensure your body can work at its optimal level.
5. Take Breaks and Stretch–I know taking a break in the nursing field is sometimes a difficult challenge, but while you take a break relax your legs and stretch them a bit. This will help keep the blood flowing, and probably help prevent your legs from getting so sore.
So try and sit down and stretch any chance you can (which probably won’t be too many chances if you are a Nurse).
6. Get Comfortable Shoes–Getting a good pair of shoes is imperative to ensuring your feet do not get too sore or achy. If you have an uncomfortable pair of shoes, I would highly recommend you splurge and get the most comfortable ones you can afford. This will not only make you feel so much better, but it can even help prevent varicose veins!
How to Remove Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?
The best medicine is preventative medicine. So if you can prevent the veins from forming in the first place, that is always the best option. However, if you find that you have developed varicose veins or spider veins over the years, there are a few things you can do.
- Get an injection–There are some injections you can get with chemicals that destroy the vein, or dilate it. This is always an option, however, you should always consult a doctor to find out if this treatment is best for you.
- Surgery— Surgery is also a possibility for some vein types. Again, most people probably would not want to go this route (I know I wouldn’t), but it is another option.
Conclusion: All Nurses and Medical Professionals Should Beware of Vein Problems
Anyone who works long hours standing or walking on a hard surface should be aware of the risk of spider veins and varicose veins. This is even more true if you have relatives with this problem.
The best medicine is always preventative medicine, and by exercising, eating healthy, wearing compression tights, and stretching your legs, you too can ensure that you are doing all you can to prevent this problem.
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