Spider Veins

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Running and Spider Veins...

There are many women who use jogging as a primary means of cardio workout.  Some of these women have developed spider veins, and they ask a question that may be on a lot of our minds.

Can running cause spider veins?

If you want a one word answer- No, not directly, BUT the issue is a little more complicated than just a simple yes or no answer.

Spider veins are veins that are near the surface of the skin, and therefore they don't have the luxury that deep veins have of muscular support for the vein walls.  Because of this lack of support, they are susceptible to swelling when experiencing high pressure in the veins.  Once the veins swell, the valves pumping the blood back to the heart through the veins don't work quite as well resulting in pooling of the blood in the veins.  In other words, the little blue and red spider veins you see under your skin are formed.

Many factors can cause the veins to swell and become spider veins such as hormonal changes, being overweight, and heredity.

Normally, exercises such as walking and running are great for vein health because they work the leg muscles, in particular, the calf muscles which are very important in keeping the blood moving through your veins correctly.  If these exercises are continued for an extensive period of time, as in a marathon or a very intense cardio session, your veins will have a tendency to swell.  This could make existing spider veins become more noticeable.  If continued over time, the intense running workouts could cause the veins to swell.  If venous pressure increases, then spider veins could develop.

Running for long periods of time on hard surfaces such as concrete sidewalks could also increase pressure on your legs which could lead to the development of spider veins.  Try to limit the length of time you  run on hard surfaces.  Find a dirt trail or track to run on.  Some tracks and trails are covered with special materials to help absorb some of the pounding pressure from your feet when you run. 

Shoes that are cushioned especially for running and are fitted to your feet are also important to keep pressure off of your legs while running.

If you are planning on running a long distance, make sure you leave some time after your run for a longer cool down period.  Since your veins tend to swell during a workout, a proper cool down can bring the swelling down and help decrease pressure on your legs.  Don't just sit down after intense workouts as this could promote pooling of blood in the stretched, swollen veins in your legs.  Keep your blood flowing by completing a proper cool down.

Using ice packs on areas you are particularly worried about can also help with decreasing leg vein dilation.  After a proper cool down, apply gentle cooling to the back of legs, thighs, or ankles for a short period of time.

Running is an excellent form of exercise so don't give it up just because you think you might develop spider veins.  Good cardiovascular health is important to good vein health, and there are a few precautions you can take to help decrease your chances of developing spider veins.


Disclaimer: This page is not meant to be a substitute for any professional advice, guidance, or counseling.  I am not a doctor.  This page is not intended in any way to serve or take the place of medical advice from a physician.