Sievering Clinic

Competence Centre for Minimally Invasive Medical Services

Venous Exercise

Don’t exercise in vain – Fitness for your veins

Although venous insufficiency is largely hereditary it is important to keep your veins fit to avoid complications of varicose veins. And this is quite literally true: the walls of images_vene5your veins remain elastic if the muscles surrounding them are exercised regularly. This does not mean that you have to be a professional sportsman or sportswoman. A few minutes of targeted venous exercises every day are enough to give your legs a good chance against pronounced venous weakness. If you already have diseased veins and wear compression stockings, it is important to wear them even while performing exercises.

Compression stockings support the affected veins and, by applying mechanical pressure,
ensure the necessary return flow of blood in the veins from the legs back to the heart. images_vene2And this is necessary not only for everyday living but also in sport. Particularly for women, it may be of interest to know that compressions tights exert a massage effect during sport on the problem areas of the bottom and thighs, which leads to firming of the tissues. In addition, toning of the muscles in general is promoted by the fact that during sporting activity you are working against the resistance of the stocking.

People with spider veins and mild to moderate varicose veins can in principle practice any type of exercise. One exception is extreme bodybuilding, as this puts an additional strain on the veins. Particular suitable sports include hiking, power walking
(also Nordic walking with poles), cycling, cross-country skiing, inline skatingimages_vene1 (here poles can be used to simulate the skating technique from cross-country skiing), aqua jogging, swimming, dancing, golf, fitness training on endurance equipment (e.g. stepper, cross trainer, bicycle ergometer) or special vein exercises.

People with pronounced varicose veins, a history of thrombosis (venous occlusion) or phlebitis (inflammation of the veins) must be more cautious in choosing their exercise. Sports that can be considered particularly suitable are power walking, hiking, cycling, golf, dancing, swimming, aqua-aerobics or aqua jogging and in the winter cross-country skiing. All kinds of sports involving the development of high strength and abrupt stopping movements must be avoided. These include bodybuilding but also jogging, high-impact aerobics, badminton, handball or football. Skiing and snowboarding are also unsuitable.

Those who want to relax in the sauna after sporting activity should keep in mind that the feet should be kept up in the sauna and restroom, and that the legs should be thoroughly showered with cold water after each visit to the sauna. For patients with deep vein thrombosis, however, the sauna is to be avoided.

Exercise program

1 – Standing position:
  • Put on socks over your compression stocking or compression bandage and hold the loops of the rubber straps in both hands.
  • Carry out all exercises in a comfortable position, making sure that your back is straight. Start with a low strap tension.
  • Take the vein exerciser under the sole of your foot and stretch the straps.
  • Point the toe downwards and then pull it back towards your body, creating a rocking movement.
  • After ten rocking movements for correct stretching of the tendons and muscles, you can increase the strap tension continuously until you obtain a feeling of tension.
2 – Exercises in the sitting position:
  • Ten rocking movements for stretching, then increase the strap tension until you obtain a feeling of tension; hold this position for about ten seconds, then reduce the tension again.
  • With your foot extended, circle several times. Assist the circular movement by pulling on the right or left strap. Place the foot on the floor in front of the chair, and then raise the heel and toe alternately. Slowly increase the tension on the straps in the course of the exercise.
  • Place the foot about 30 cm in front of the chair, on the heel. Raise the forefoot, then bend and stretch the toes alternately.
  • Sitting on the chair, flex and extend the knee joint against the tension of the straps.
3 – Exercises lying down:
  • Lie on your back and raise your extended leg; rock the foot against the strap tension in this position.
  • Lie on your back, raise your leg and flex and extend your knee joint against the strap tension in this position.
  • Push down your toes and heels alternately against the tension of the straps. The effect of this exercise can be increased by resting on a base (newspaper, book).
  • Stretch and bend the leg against the tension of the straps.
  • Move the foot out to the side against the strap tension, down to the floor, pull it in towards the body, down to the floor again, gradually increasing the tension on the straps.