There are many risk factors that increase your chances for developing varicose veins. They include heredity, pregnancy, obesity, trauma to the legs, age, and gender. But did you know that your job could also increase the odds? Sitting and standing in the same position for up to eight hours a day or more could lead to varicose veins. Take a look at some of the jobs that could increase your risk and what to do to help prevent vein problems or keep them from becoming too painful.
People who spend most of their days sitting at a desk, answering phones, researching, or typing on a computer are at the biggest risk for varicose veins because their blood is constantly fighting an uphill battle. It must make its way from the lower half of the body up to the heart.
What to do: Take 5 minutes out of every hour and walk around your office or go for a stroll down a hallway.
If you are a doctor, nurse, or medical technician, you probably work 12-hour shifts that leave little time for a break. Patients are constantly in need of your undivided attention, and you are always on your feet — another potential risk factor for varicose veins.
What to do: Taking a break every hour probably isn’t an option if you work in a busy hospital, but you can wear compression stockings and otherwise comfortable shoes and socks (that are not tight) to encourage circulation.
Servers and Bartenders
Just like medical professionals, you probably spend most of your time on your feet if you work in a bar or restaurant. And your customers pull you in every direction on busy nights. Even worse, you work in an environment that leaves the door open for slips and falls.
What to do: Wear comfortable shoes and socks that are not too tight around your legs and ankles. Compression socks may also help if worn during your shifts.
You may get to spend most of your days out on the open road, but truck drivers often spend more time sitting than office workers do. If you are not careful, it can lead to varicose veins and other health problems.
What to do: It is unrealistic to take a 5-minute break every hour when you have to have a delivery at its destination at a certain time, but there are some things you can do to lower your risk. Take 20 to 30 minutes out of your day to go for a brisk walk to improve circulation, and eat only low-calorie snacks while you drive to avoid weight gain.
Pilots, Flight, Attendants, and Anyone Who Travels Frequently for Business
If you work or spend much time on a plane, you are at an increased risk for varicose veins. Not only are you sitting for most of the flight, but you are exposed to lower air pressure that can aggravate vein problems that are already present.
What to do: Flex your feet several times throughout your flight to get your blood pumping, or place your feet flat on the floor and lift your heel so that only your toes are touching the ground. Compression stockings may also help.
Tips for all jobs:
No matter your job, there are some things most anyone can do at work to help reduce varicose veins. They include:
- Wear compression stockings.
- Do leg exercises while sitting, such as alternating flexing and pointing your toes.
- Take a 5-minute break every hour to sit down or walk around.
- Avoid wearing tight, restrictive clothing and underwear.
- Wear comfortable shoes and socks that are not tight around the ankle or leg.
- When it comes to shoes, wear flats instead of heels.
- Elevate your feet while sitting.
- Keep a small stool at your workstation while standing, and alternate resting your feet on it.