The Impact of Long Distance Running on Veins

If you crank out serious mileage on a regular basis, you could be upping your chances of developing spider veins or varicose veins. No shock there – well, actually there is with all that persistent pounding on hard, unforgiving surfaces. Without getting too technical or medical, this pounding sends the circulatory system into overdrive, causing veins to swell. For those with spider or varicose veins already, this swelling “brings out” those veins so to speak — in all their red and blue – and bulging, aching — glory. And if you don’t already have them, consistently running great distances may eventually weaken leg veins to a point where backflow and pooling start to occur – and you join the club too. Especially if you’re predisposed to developing them in the first place perhaps because of genetics (vein disease “runs” in your family), or may be you’re carrying a few extra pounds, or are or have ever been pregnant. (For a more complete look at symptoms, click here). 

So what to do?

1. Slow to a halt.

Fast walk

This may sound counter-intuitive, but as soon as you finish a long run, keep going. Cooling down with a slow jog and then into a steady walk helps “walk off” some of the swelling and eases the pressure that’s built up during your run.



2. Put yourself on ice. Or in a nice cool bath.

Take a cool soak in the bath or place ice packs on your legs. Both are great at reducing inflammation.





3. Get off the streets.

Change up your running surfaces on a regular basis. Asphalt is not your friend. Go for softer landings out on the nature trail, on the beach or in the pool from time to time.



4. Compression socks make a great running buddy.

Try wearing compression socks – which use stronger elastics to compress surface veins, arteries and muscles to more efficiently circulate blood through the arteries. Worn during a race, they can help keep the legs energized. Post-race, they help reduce swelling, providing significant comfort and relief.  Plus, they come in fun colors so you can make a fashion statement while you’re running too.


5. Get a vein consultation with a vein specialist.

Remember, varicose veins are a sign of a progressive medical condition called venous insufficiency – or vein disease. So if your tired, aching, painful legs seem to be more than just a side effect of that 26.2 you just did, give us a call at 281-565-0033. Varicose vein treatments end the progression of the disease and provide immediate relief from the pain and discomfort. Treating veins is all we do at Hamilton Vein Center. We use ultrasound to diagnose and pinpoint your vein problem and the most advanced, image-guided technologies to treat your vein problem painlessly and with no downtime. Just what a runner wants to hear!  

So go ahead and hit the road. You crazy maniac.

And if you’re running the Houston Marathon or Houston Half Marathon this Sunday – Good Luck! Wear your compression socks!!