Some lose weight to fit in their old jeans; some are trying to look their best for a vacation. Neither of those are wrong goals, but if you’re reading this, you have something else on your mind.
There’s a direct link between being overweight and chronic pain, and most often, pain symptoms settle in your lower extremities, where the brunt of your body weight is felt.
Our team at Advanced Vascular Solutions has seen firsthand the burden of lingering leg pain, so we want to help you address it from as many angles as possible. In addition to offering you the best, most advanced treatments, we also walk alongside you to support a healthier lifestyle.
Here’s a closer look at exactly how your legs respond to extra weight and how you can start shedding the pounds safely.
Leg pain and your weight
There are more than a few ways your weight impacts your legs. For starters, a higher body weight causes the joints and muscles in your legs to bear excess stress as you move. But your musculoskeletal system isn’t the only one at risk — your cardiovascular system is, too.
Increased pressure from excessive weight can damage the walls and valves of your veins, impacting the flow of blood returning to your heart and lungs. As your veins cave under the pressure, you can develop painful conditions like chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins.
Peripheral arterial disease is another vascular condition that stems from a significant buildup of plaque (cholesterol) along the walls of your blood vessels, which can make movement painful. According to the American Heart Association, those who are obese are more at risk for peripheral arterial disease and are, therefore, more at risk for leg pain.
Lose the weight, lose the pain
The vascular conditions we listed above often need specialized treatments, including radiofrequency ablation, VenaSeal™ Closure System, or, in severe cases, angioplasty or bypass surgery.
However, we always seek to treat the underlying cause or causes rather than address symptoms superficially, which usually involves adjusting your lifestyle.
Losing weight may not be a cure for your painful vascular problems, but it can absolutely help. Even losing a few pounds of weight can significantly reduce the pressure on your veins and alleviate some of your pain.
As you lose weight, your blood vessels reap other benefits, like improved circulation.
How do I lose weight to improve leg pain?
There’s no one-size-fits-all way to lose weight — that’s why you should always start your weight loss journey in our office. We can point you in the right direction and guide you based on your unique situation.
A weight loss plan often includes an exercise program, nutrition counseling, and lifestyle adjustments.
Movement with your veins in mind
If you’re concerned that increasing your activity will further stress your veins, then you’d be right — but not if you approach exercise in the right way.
Your legs likely can’t handle a lot of jumping and running, especially if your vascular problems are severe, but they can handle gentle exercise that gradually increases in frequency and intensity.
Start slowly with low-impact activities like swimming, yoga, walking, and tai chi. Even gentle exercise can get your heart rate up and bring the number on your scale down.
Eat this, not that
You can adjust your diet to lose weight and support your vascular health. Try adding these ingredients to your regular menu:
- Citrus fruits
- Leafy greens
- Fatty fish
These foods have powerful components that stimulate healthy blood flow and facilitate steady weight loss.
Kick these habits
At Advanced Vascular Solutions, we also take a peek under the hood of your life and help you identify habits that are wreaking havoc on your vein health. For instance, if you want less leg pain and healthier veins, you shouldn't:
- Live a sedentary lifestyle
- Stand or sit for too long
- Smoke or use tobacco products
- Wear high-heel shoes
- Wear tight clothes around your legs
We have all the knowledge and expertise you need to get your weight in check and start feeling less leg pain. When you’re ready, call our friendly staff or use our online booking tool to schedule a consultation with us today. We proudly serve patients in the Melbourne and Sebastian, Florida area.