legs outside

Warm Weather Worsens Leg Symptoms

Warm weather can worsen symptoms of varicose veins and venous reflux disease.

This weekend, most of San Diego was blessed with sunny, warm-weather. Warmer weather tends to worsen symptoms of varicose veins, like increased leg heaviness, pain or you may feel that your legs fatigue more quickly during warm weather. For those who have spider veins, they can feel more itchy or burning.  This leads many people to seek leg vein help during warmer months.

The cause: Leg symptoms of varicose veins and venous reflux disease (the underlying cause for varicose veins) tend to worsen in warmer weather because heat causes the surface veins to relax and enlarge. When this happens to unhealthy veins, the blood pools and causes increased pressure within the veins. Increased pressure within in the veins is called venous hypertension. Venous hypertension causes inflammation. Therefore, inflammation causes the veins to feel warm, painful, itchy or burning. Since gravity causes blood to pool around the ankles for many people with venous reflux disease, you may feel symptoms in your ankles rather than the calfs. The skin around the ankles can become itchy, and dry. The best way to alleviate this in the long term is treatment of underlying venous reflux. Conservative management is aimed at reducing or preventing the blood from pooling. This can be accomplished with compression stockings- these may be difficult to tolerate in warm weather. Staying active helps, and when sitting elevate the legs and ice any areas of pain to reduce inflammation.