The veins in your legs have to withstand the most pressure of any in the body. Your circulatory system is affected by gravity and pressure, and your legs and feet have to carry a lot of the load when pumping blood back to your heart.
At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine in Ramsey, New Jersey, our board-certified vein specialists treat a wide range of leg-related vein issues, including heavy or tired legs.
Causes of heavy legs
If your legs constantly feel heavy, the most common culprit is some sort of venous condition. Several problems with veins can cause the sensation of heavy legs, puffy legs, or leg cramping, but they all hinge around circulation.
Venous insufficiency and varicose veins
Venous insufficiency is the term for veins that aren’t properly sending blood back toward the heart. Instead of blood making its way consistently and efficiently through one-way valves inside your veins, movement is sluggish.
Some blood can slip back through damaged valves and start to pool up, making it even harder for blood flow to remain constant. Blood pooling can put pressure on the nerves in your legs, making them feel heavy, swollen, painful, or numb.
Many people with venous insufficiency start seeing spider veins or varicose veins start to appear on their legs. Spider veins are small capillaries that turn blue or purple because of blood pooling, but they are mainly a cosmetic concern.
Varicose veins are larger veins with blood pooling and can stand out from the leg in a ropy, snake-like pattern. These are more dangerous as they can lead to a blood clot breaking free and causing a stroke.
Peripheral artery disease
Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, begins when fatty plaque starts to build up in the arteries, making them narrower on the inside and restricting blood flow. PAD can cause leg weakness and heaviness that worsens when you walk or stand and gets better when you rest.
Treatments for heavy legs
Venous insufficiency and varicose veins can be treated with radiofrequency ablation (RAF) or sclerotherapy. Ablation seals off damaged veins, directing blood flow into nearby healthier veins to improve blood flow and circulation.
Sclerotherapy also collapses small veins through injection of a substance that damages the vein. In either case, the remnants of sealed or collapsed veins are flushed out of your body naturally over time.
If you have PAD, your doctor may be able to recommend at-home treatments and lifestyle changes you can try. For severe cases, arteries may need to have an angioplasty, or the insertion and inflation of a small tube with a balloon attached to it, which will open up the vein and restore normal blood flow.
Are you ready to get treatment for heavy legs? Contact our office at 201-962-9199, or request a consultation online today.