Many of us have already experienced this feeling of heavy legs. If for some, this occurs mainly in summer, for others, it is almost permanent. And even if everyone fights the evil as best they can, the problems with the blood circulation are numerous and vary from person to person. In order to see a little more clearly and to help our body to cope with all this, we asked a few questions to Dr Valérie Leduc, phlebologist graduated in vascular medicine and at the head of his own practice, “Médecine de la Beauté“.
Hello Dr Valérie Leduc, first of all, can you explain to us where this feeling of heavy legs comes from?
First of all, it is important to explain how the venous system works. When we have pain in our legs, it is because the venous return, whose role is to bring up the oxygen-poor blood from our extremities to the heart, is not taking place well. This long journey is then undermined. Indeed, our veins are equipped with valves (like small doors), in good health, these will close and prevent the blood from falling back to the feet when standing. In poor health, they will not do this job properly. With age, family history, pregnancy, taking the pill for example, some valves will fail. In other words, the vein will dilate, the blood will stagnate, and the inflammation of the inner lining of the vein will cause pain.
How to fight daily against blood circulation problems?
Remember to avoid heat sources. This is because heat dilates the veins and increases the risk of inflammation. Standing, sedentary lifestyle, overweight are all aggravating factors of venous disease.
Remember to put on compression stockings during long trampling days, when traveling by plane.
In addition, walking is very important. The sole of the foot is very rich in vessels and with each step, this plantar venous sole is crushed which will empty and send the blood to the calf. Then the calf, contracting, will act like a pump and will propel the blood upwards. In addition, breathing exercises and yoga will also help the path of the venous system upwards since this will boost the call for blood and therefore unclog the venous system.
There are of course other ways that will help such as walking and swimming in cool water, taking a cold shower, elevating the legs, massaging the legs with venous tonics (like ginger oil). For massages, start from the feet to the roots of the thighs, always from the bottom up.
Remember to wear heels of 4 cm on average, the flat or the very high heel will not allow a good emptying of the feet and calves.
As far as sports are concerned, I recommend walking, swimming, cycling and aquabike (water drains). But we avoid jogging, tennis or squash which are sports too violent for the veins.
On the nutrition side, avoid constipation, drink a lot, eat a diet rich in fiber and fresh vegetables, and avoid salt, which retains water.
In addition, there are treatments, such as taking herbal phlebotonics such as witch hazel, ragwort, red vine. They are particularly useful if the patient complains of pain and / or edema in the lower limbs.
There are other means to relieve this feeling of heavy legs such as pressotherapy, cryotherapy, manual lymphatic drainage …
Above all, do not hesitate to consult a specialist who will do a complete assessment with a Doppler ultrasound if necessary in order to assess the extent of the venous insufficiency and offer a treatment of choice which may be surgical or by sclerotherapy or vascular laser. My experience shows me on a daily basis that a sclerosis session can relieve the patient very quickly.
Is there a quick fix?
The miracle solution is to follow the rules of hygiene of life which respect the venous system and to consult without delay as soon as the pains become embarrassing.