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Consultant Vascular Surgeon - Varicose and Thread Vein Expert


Friday, 9 July 2010

Sports and varicose veins

With the summer upon us, I think it is a fitting time to discuss the affect varicose veins can have on sportsmen of any age and ability.

If you love playing sport all year round or simply get inspired by watching Nadal or Murray at Wimbledon, it can be very easy to push any potential problems with varicose veins to the background.

People fear that they will be deprived of playing sport for months on end due to a lengthy rehabilitation time period.

Nothing could be more wrong. The correction of varicose veins did use to mean a general anaesthetic and weeks off to recover.

The Endovenous Laser technique, used by myself, shatters this myth allowing people to be back on their feet in next to no time.

In most cases surgery can be completed under local anaesthetic and you can be back playing sport within days.

Ignoring the signs of varicose vein problems can actually impact on sporting performance.

The veins are responsible for returning the waste blood from the legs back to the body for detoxification and re-oxygeneration.

If the function of the veins is impaired, as with varicose veins, toxins such as lactic acid build up quicker in the muscles resulting in the muscles getting tired quicker than they should – meaning you cannot run as fast or as long as you should.

While sportsmen and women are no more prone to problems than anyone, one in five of the population suffer from varicose veins.

The story of Alison Cronk is a classic tale of how an operation on varicose vein troubles can make the world of difference.

Alison admits that she was barely able to run for a bus, pre-operation. But following successful treatment, she not only started running but completed the Cambridge Chariots of Fire race just nine months after the surgery and followed that with three separate 10k races.

In her own words, Alison says the successful surgery had “far-reaching” affects on her lifestyle.