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Does Wearing High Heels and Crossing Your Legs Cause Varicose Veins?

As a woman, what’s one of the first things you may have learned about varicose or spider veins? “Don’t cross your legs, veins will appear!” or “Stop wearing heels all the time, veins will pop out of your legs!” Sound familiar? Many women have been telling other women these lines for years, but are the statements accurate? Should women avoid crossing their legs often or wearing high heels to avoid a venous insufficiency. Are these statements factual or just a mere old wives’ tale? In this article, we will discuss this topic to give you an honest, educated answer on the subject.

Crossing one’s legs – Crossing one’s legs does not cause varicose veins. If a person has an intrinsic problem with the veins themselves, varicose veins will develop.  Crossing one’s legs, standing or sitting for a long period of time may exacerbate an existing problem, but it will not cause the problem. When a person’s legs are crossed or when a person stands or sits for a long time, it makes it more difficult for the blood to flow and leave the leg, so this can put a strain on the vein valves, but it cannot make a venous disease come into existence. If you are a leg crosser, aim to cross them less, or at least for shorter periods of time. Get up and walk around. Never keep your legs in one position too long.

Wearing high heels –  When a person wears high heels, they change the natural direction of the angle of their foot and the blood flow in their legs. While wearing heels, calf muscles contract less, which means less blood is pushed out of the leg, which means an increase in pressure on the vein valves. Since heels change the natural walking motion, pooling of venous blood in the leg can occur. So yes, wearing heels can contribute to the development of venous deficiency and disease. Try to limit the days or hours you wear heels. Also, a lower heel is better for your legs and blood flow. If you’re stuck wearing heels, try to stretch out your legs a few times throughout the day, or take breaks from wearing them.

If you’re already experiencing venous issues with symptoms like aching, swelling, burning, ulcer, heaviness, fatigue, and discoloration, you not only want to stay away from crossing your legs and wearing heels, – you’ll want to call a doctor.

If you have more venous issue concerns or are currently suffering from a potential vein disorder, it’s time to book an appointment with a vein doctor! Dr. Peter Mikhail is a vein specialist based in New Port Richey, Florida. He also treats patients in the Tampa and Clearwater areas. If you’d like to book a consult, click here or call 727-312-4844.

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