Has a woman ever said she loves wearing high heels because they are just so comfortable? Uh uh. Or because it is just so easy to walk in them? Not likely. High heels are popular because of the way they make the legs of the wearer appear.
If you love having beautiful legs, you should know that wearing those high heeled shoes could actually contribute to vein damage, and to the development and progression of varicose veins. Even respected medical authorities like the National Institute of Health[i] and the Mayo Clinic[ii] caution against wearing high heeled shoes frequently, or for long periods, for just that reason.
There are, of course, many factors that can contribute to the development of varicose veins, including genetics and other lifestyle indicators. If you are concerned that you might be experiencing any of these symptoms of Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) , consult with a qualified vein specialist as soon as possible.
Why High Heels Don’t Help
In the meantime, if you are looking at home remedies for varicose vein pain, you might consider tossing the high heels—or just saving them for very special occasions.
The reason is quite simple. There is a muscle in the calf, the soleus, that is so important to vascular health that it is sometimes referred to as “the second heart.” During walking, when there is efficient heel-to-toe strike, the soleus muscle contracts and powerfully squeezes blood through the blood vessels in the leg and back to the heart. This takes a lot of strain off of the heart muscle, and is just one of the many reasons why walking is one of the best things that you can do for your vascular health and general well-being.
However, high heeled shoes lock the soleus muscle into a contracted position, and pretty much disable this blood pumping function. As a result, there is more pressure placed on the heart muscle as it has to work harder to push blood through squeezed veins, and there is more pressure placed on the blood vessel walls and the one-way valves that are intended to prevent a backflow of blood in the limbs. Over time, this strain weakens the valves and blood vessels, and can contribute to CVI, and to varicose veins.
While the soleus most strongly affects the venous vessels deep in the leg, its constant contraction places back pressure on the perforator veins and their valves, inhibiting the flow of blood from the superficial veins of the leg to the deeper venous system. Over time, this strain weakens the valves and blood vessels, and can contribute to CVI, and to varicose veins.
If you are already suffering from the discomfort of varicose veins, or other signs of CVI, there is help available. With the help of a thorough examination and duplex ultrasonography, a qualified vein specialist can tailor a treatment plan for you that can improve your vascular health and the appearance of your legs, in minimal time and with minimal discomfort.
[i] https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/vv/prevention; retrieved November 3, 2016.
[ii][ii] http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/varicose-veins/manage/ptc-20178147; retrieved November 3, 2016