Patient Question: “Why Do My Legs Feel Heavy?”

Heaviness in the legs is a common complaint because several things cause it. One source many people don’t suspect is damaged veins. When you have spider veins or varicose veins, there’s typically a problem in your vascular system, most notably, a condition called Chronic Venous Insufficiency. This rampant, yet underdiagnosed disease causes heaviness, swelling, itching, restlessness, and aching legs. It also leads to venous ulcerations, venous eczema, hyperpigmentation, heavy bleeding, and blood clots for many patients. So, if you’re wondering, “Why do my legs feel heavy and tired?”,  and you have spider or varicose veins, click HERE for rapid relief at our California vein center.

Do your legs look or feel heavier than the rest of your body? One unexpected reason is faulty veins. Here are answers about treatment for heaviness in legs.

Patient Question: “Why Are My Legs So Fat?”

Patients often ask their doctor, “Why are my legs so fat?” If your lower legs are changing in size when the rest of your body isn’t, there’s a good chance it has nothing to do with your weight. The accumulation might not be fat, but fluid that builds when vein health is compromised. Leg veins have to work harder than other veins, because they pump against gravity on their mission to carry blood to the heart. Therefore, they’re more susceptible to valve failure and the accumulation of varicose and spider veins. When a valve fails, blood flows in reverse, creating that excess pressure in the vein that prompts swelling and heaviness in the legs.

Patient Question: “How Can I Reduce Swelling Fast?

If you want to get rid of heavy legs and swollen ankles fast, the solution is to visit our CA vein doctors. Each person has a unique medical history and venous system, so the answer for how to reduce swelling in the feet or legs varies by patient. Our team of experts will identify your cause. Our fully accredited vein treatment center offers a broad range of solutions for your legs. Our vein treatments are fast, minimally invasive, and usually covered by insurance.

Patient Question: “What Causes Fatigue in Legs and Feet?”

The same vein issues that cause heaviness in the legs also cause leg fatigue. When your veins aren’t working efficiently, pressure builds within vein walls and circulation is impaired, which causes fatigue in legs and feet. This leg fatigue might seem disproportionate to your overall energy. For example, your legs might feel unusually tired after sitting still for a while. This is because movement causes the leg muscles to contract, which helps blood move up through your veins. So, sitting or standing still when veins are impaired can increase leg fatigue.

Damaged veins might also cause generalized fatigue, not just fatigue in the legs and feet. This is because restlessness and cramping in your legs can prevent a good night’s sleep. Patients often assume their fatigue is linked to their weight, when it might be caused by Chronic Venous Insufficiency.

Patient Question: “Do I Have Vein Disease or Lipedema?”

Of course, Chronic Venous Insufficiency is not the only cause of heaviness in the legs. Other vascular issues that cause heavy legs include peripheral artery disease (PAD), in which plaque builds up within arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart, whereas veins return blood to the heart. Varicose and spider veins are part of the venous system and can be seen through the skin. Arteries are part of the arterial system deeper in the body and are harder to see. If you have spider veins and varicose veins, you’re more likely to have vein disease. PAD typically involves other symptoms like muscle weakness, hair loss, and shiny skin.

Lipedema Disease is another cause of heaviness in the legs that is unrelated to the vascular system. This condition causes excess fat deposits to develop in the lower body, like the buttocks, thighs, and calves. One way to differentiate between Lipedema and vein disease is that Lipedema does not affect the feet, whereas vein disease can cause feet to swell. In addition, Lipedema can affect the arms, unlike Chronic Venous Insufficiency. In addition, tactics for vein-related leg swelling, like elevating the legs or losing weight will not improve Lipedema.

Patient Question: “Is Lipedema in Ankles or Widespread?”

As mentioned above, Lipedema is not relegated to the ankles. It can affect areas like the upper arms. So, if your heaviness is strictly in your lower legs, it’s more likely your symptoms are caused by compromised veins. If you notice swelling in your ankles at the end of the day or after a long period on your feet, try elevating them above your heart to see if heaviness and swelling improve.

If so, you might still need vein treatment since these symptoms will recur until the vein issues are resolved. But this provides insight into what’s causing the problem. Elevation improves vein-related heaviness because it reduces the difficulty for leg veins to pump blood upward. Elevation will not improve heaviness caused by Lipedema, since it’s unrelated to circulation.

Patient Question: “Is Coolsculpting for Lipedema or Veins?”

If you’re wondering how to get rid of fat deposits, first determine whether your assumption of “fat legs” is correct, or if you have poor circulation. If you have Lipedema, Coolsculpting is something to discuss with your doctor. Some patients with Lipedema find that their own tactics for losing weight only reduce fat in areas that aren’t impacted by the disease, like their upper body. Talk to your doctor if you have this concern, since Coolsculpting and liposuction are options to consider, but so are bariatric surgery, and less invasive methods like Compression Therapy and Decongestive Therapy.

Patient Question: “Do I Have Varicose Veins or Vein Disease?”

If you’re wondering whether you have varicose veins or vein disease, it’s best to check with your doctor. It’s possible to have either without knowing. Many people have no idea that they’re suffering from Chronic Venous Insufficiency and are astonished by how much lighter their legs feel after vein treatment. Others know they have damaged veins but can’t differentiate between spider veins and varicose veins. Both can be caused by the same disease, but the presentation is different.

Spider veins are small and spindly, often occurring in clusters like a web. Varicose veins are larger and twisted, often bulging beneath the skin. Varicose veins commonly appear as a single vein, while spider veins usually have multiple branches. If you have either type, you might have vein disease. Vein disease is different from heart disease. It’s very common and can be treated in minutes without surgery at our award-winning CA vein center.

Patient Question: “Does Ibuprofen Help with Swelling?”

Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory. So, it can help with swelling caused by inflammation. Lipedema is not an inflammatory condition, so Ibuprofen won’t work. Ibuprofen might reduce pain from varicose veins temporarily, but it won’t have much impact on heaviness or swelling since these are linked to blood pressure, not inflammation.

To avoid long-term NSAID use, which has its own risk factors, it’s better to treat the vein. Since NSAIDs can thin blood, they might be advised temporarily for patients with blood clots. However, other patients with vein disease have bleeding that’s hard to control, which is a risk factor for Ibuprofen. Visit our California vein specialists for a diagnosis before trying any NSAIDs.

Patient Question: “Is Epsom Salt for Heavy & Aching Legs?”

Patients often ask about home remedies for leg heaviness and swelling, like Epsom salt or compression stockings. The answer is some DIY treatments provide temporary relief, but they won’t solve the problem. When patients ask about things like DVT and Epsom salt baths, we remind them that blood clots like deep vein thrombosis can become life threatening, so seeking medical treatment for heaviness in legs is essential.

If your heavy, aching legs are caused by vein issues, elevating them while at rest can provide relief. It’s helpful to stay active and avoid sitting or standing for more than two hours. Maintain your weight and ask your doctor whether compression stockings or Epsom salt baths are safe for you. Some patients’ circulation improves with these tactics, but they’re dangerous for others, since warm water increases blood pressure and compression stockings require proper sizing. Epsom salts may interfere with other medications, including blood thinners, so always consult a vein doctor first.

Patient Question: “How Do I Treat Heaviness in Legs?”

If your leg heaviness is caused by spider veins, varicose veins, or Chronic Venous Insufficiency, there’s no better place than our California vein center, which is staffed by Harvard-trained vein specialists. We’ll determine whether your problem is indeed vascular, and refer you elsewhere if not. We offer several minimally invasive procedures for your legs. Over a third of the population develops damaged veins, so if you’re wondering how to reduce swelling and heaviness promptly, start with a vein assessment.