Treatment for Legs
How to Relieve Heavy Legs?
Many people experience a sensation of heaviness in their legs, especially at the end of a challenging day. This feeling gradually increases throughout the day and is favored by prolonged standing, resulting from a dysfunction of blood circulation. There are simple measures and treatments to relieve heavy legs. If these practices are not sufficient or if symptoms worsen, consulting a doctor is recommended to avoid possible complications.
What are the Symptoms?
The phenomenon of heavy legs is characterized by the sensation of heavy limbs, with an unpleasant feeling of dragging the feet.
The feeling of heavy legs may be accompanied by:
- Tingling or numbness. These sensations often occur when someone remains still for a long time, and there's a sense of "impatience" in the legs, with a frequent need to move or "stretch the legs."
- Edema. Swelling of the tissues that mostly appears at the end of the day.
- Telangiectasias. Small dilated red vessels beneath the skin's surface, often taking the shape of a star.
Causes of these Symptoms
The sensation of heavy legs is due to a dysfunction of the vascular system, particularly venous return. This poor circulation disrupts the balance of blood supply/return, causing venous stasis in the legs.
The vascular system consists mainly of two types of vessels:
- Arteries, which carry oxygenated blood to all organs of our body.
- Veins, which carry blood from the organs to the heart.
Venous blood, low in oxygen, in the legs needs to travel up to the heart and then be sent to the lungs, where it will be re-oxygenated. This phenomenon is called venous return.
Various mechanisms allow blood in the veins to flow back to the heart:
- Muscle contraction.
- Diaphragm movements during breathing.
- Pressure on the heel and arch of the foot during walking.
The presence of valves in the veins allows blood to flow upward without descending. In the case of venous insufficiency, these valves can be dysfunctional, and blood cannot ascend properly.
Several factors can favor the appearance of heavy legs:
- Heredity. If there is a family history of circulatory problems (such as varicose veins), the risk is higher.
- Females are more prone to venous problems than males, with this tendency increasing with age and the number of pregnancies.
- Prolonged standing. Extended periods of standing do not favor venous return. Standing for too long promotes orthostatic hypotension and the sensation of heavy legs.
- Lack of physical activity. Similar to prolonged standing, lack of physical activity promotes the sensation of heavy legs.
- Exposure to heat. High temperatures cause vessel dilation, hindering venous return.
- Excess weight. Often associated with low physical activity, excess weight promotes the development of heavy legs.
- Long travels. Prolonged sitting, sometimes for many hours during a journey, can hinder proper venous return. The same applies during air travel.
How to Alleviate the Symptoms of Heavy Legs?
- Engage in regular physical activity. Muscle activity promotes venous return and overall blood circulation. A simple twenty-minute walk is very effective and quickly relieves symptoms.
- Keep the legs as straight as possible. Blood flows better when the legs are stretched, even when sitting or lying down. You can also elevate the legs in bed, using a pillow, for example. During the day, if you have to sit for an extended period, try to take regular breaks for a short walk.
- Protect yourself from heat. Avoid excessively hot baths, saunas, etc.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing.
- Promote a balanced diet to avoid excess weight.
What are the Treatments for Heavy Legs?
If symptoms persist, a medical consultation should be considered to avoid complications that can manifest as varicose veins.
- Oral medications. There are vasodilator drugs that help stimulate circulation, available in the form of tablets or capsules.
- Gels or creams for local application. These products can be applied directly to the legs. Some have the particularity of causing a sensation of freshness, often described as relief by patients.
- Compression stockings. Compression stockings increase pressure naturally applied to the superficial blood capillaries, facilitating blood ascent in the legs. It is one of the most effective means of prevention and relief available. There are various models that adapt to all body types.