Varicose veins: every nurse’s worst nightmare. And yet, varicose veins are persistently one of the most common medical problems experienced by staff on the hospital floor. Ouch!
Below, we’ll explore what varicose veins are, why they occur, and what you can do to tackle the unsightly and often painful problem (psstt – compression socks!).
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are a medical condition that affects approximately 40 percent of the U.S. population at this time. In one study on the prevalence of varicose veins with nurses, it showed 16.18 percent of nurses were affected.
Varicose veins are essentially enlarged and twisted veins, usually in the legs or lower extremities. When varicose veins occur, they’re often no more than a cosmetic issue. However, many of those suffering from this medical condition experience associated swelling and pain. Some other commonly experienced symptoms of varicose veins are:
- Muscle Cramps
- Throbbing pain
- Skin discoloration
Why Causes Varicose Veins?
So, just what causes varicose veins and why do they seem to disproportionately affect nurses? The easy answer: nurses are on their feet all day. While varicose veins can be attributed to things like obesity, not enough exercise, hormones, age, pregnancy, trauma, and more, they regularly affect those who do a lot of standing.
How Compression Socks Can Help
There are a variety of treatments available for varicose veins, but one of the easiest remedies is compression socks. Compression socks are a type of hosiery or stocking with built-on elastic that helps to compress the affected area in the legs. By using compression, these specialized socks can help redirect blood flow as needed and support the functionality of veins that have been varicosed. Over time, compression socks have been shown to aid in the reduction of varicose vein symptoms. It’s recommended that compression socks are worn as needed, and ideally placed on the legs and feet first thing in the morning. Compression socks are also known to help reduce pain, swelling, and restless leg syndrome.