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Effective Monday, July 19, 2021, the following NOH/OMG office locations will no longer provide on-site blood draws: Westlake, Lorain, Olmsted Falls and Dewhurst. Click here for the nearest lab service location. 

Can Standing Cause Varicose Veins?

March 11, 2021

If your job has you standing all day, you may be wondering, “Can standing cause varicose veins?” The short answer is Yes. Standing around in one position does put you at higher risk for the symptoms of vein disease.

Prolonged standing allows blood to pool in the ankles, putting stress on your veins. Your blood flow is fighting gravity, essentially, leading to varicose veins.  If you have a family history of varicose veins, and a job that has you on your feet all day, this will increase your risk.

So, let’s take a look at some of the studies that have been done on prolonged standing and varicose veins, and what you can do to decrease your risk.

The Link Between Standing and Varicose Veins

There have been many studies done on the link between standing for long periods of time and the risk of developing varicose veins. In fact, one study found that nearly 50% of nurses, who stood for an average of five hours a day, developed varicose veins. Hairdressers, pharmacists, chefs and surgeons are also more likely to develop the condition.

Another study looked at people who had jobs that required them to stand a lot over a 12-year period. Researchers say the results from this study show that prolonged standing at work constitutes an excess risk of hospital treatment due to varicose veins and accounts for more than one-fifth of all cases of working age.

Standing for extended periods of time can even lead to additional side effects from varicose veins. A Danish study found a correlation between prolonged standing, varicose veins, and nocturnal leg cramps. The results also show that the prevalence of varicose veins and nocturnal leg cramps was higher among women than men.

Sitting All Day Doesn’t Help

So, now you might be wondering if you need a job that will allow you to sit all day. Long periods of sitting can also cause varicose veins to develop.

Regularly sitting for long periods also leads to poor circulation in your legs. When you sit (much like prolonged standing) your veins must work harder to move blood to your heart. This can lead to swelling in your ankles, varicose veins, and even blood clots, also known as deep vein thrombosis.

How To Improve Your Vein Health

The key is to not only find the right balance of sitting and standing throughout the day, but you must take precautions and develop a healthy lifestyle. You can achieve this by doing the following:

  • Exercise helps improve circulation. Any activity that gets the calf muscles pumping, like walking or running, will help to increase venous return.
  • Compression socks improve blood flow and gently squeeze your legs to move blood up your legs. They keep the blood from circulating to the skin’s surface causing swelling, moving it through the veins and back to the lungs to re-oxygenate instead.
  • Losing weight will also make it easier for blood to circulate because your heart won’t have to work as hard.

You can also try to avoid wearing high heels and elevating your legs from time to time to get your blood flowing.

In the end, being mindful of how much you’re standing or sitting all day will help you to decrease your risk for varicose veins. If you’re concerned about your vein health, you can always talk to your doctor.

North Ohio Heart - Varicose Vein Overview

And for more information on varicose veins, what causes them and some additional risk factors, check out our infographic “Varicose Veins: Causes, Stages, Treatments.”  It’s information that may help you decide if you should see a medical professional.

Varicose Veins Infographic