Varicose veins are uncomfortable and if you suffer from them, you are likely looking for some sort of relief. A leg elevation pillow with correct contour placement can offer even the most varicosed veins some comfort.
Why do veins varicose?
Blood returns to your heart via veins. If the valves in your veins become weak, their ability to send blood back to your heart is compromised. Blood then collects in your veins, enlarging them. These vein enlargements are what we refer to as varicosed veins.
Sitting or standing for long periods can exacerbate this condition. Sitting or standing requires your body to pump blood back to your heart against gravity. This means that any valve compromise will cause blood to start pooling in your extremities, which can lead to varicosed veins.
What is a leg elevation pillow for varicose veins?
A leg elevation pillow for varicose veins is made with strategically placed contours that eliminate pressure points found on the tender parts of your leg. Elevating your legs for 15-20 minutes a day can counteract the effects of gravity on your veins.
Elevating your legs does four things:
- Gives your valves time to rest
- Decreases the fluid and swelling in your legs and feet
- Helps with circulation
- Offers your legs relief and comfort
Exercise on leg elevation pillow
To increase the effects of a leg elevation pillow for varicose veins, you can perform some simple exercises while you elevate.
These exercise are:
- Pumping your ankles up and down 30 times
- Ankle alphabets (pretend your big toe is a pen. Write each capital letter of the alphabet with your big toe. The movement should be coming from your ankle)
- Clockwise and counterclockwise ankle circles, 30 times each way
Performing these simple exercises atop a leg raise pillow will get your calf muscle pumping. When your calf muscle contracts, it assists the venous return of blood back to your heart. In this position, your body is no longer having to overcome gravity to send blood back to your heart. The leg elevation pillow is giving your veins a break!
It is also important to keep moving throughout the day, especially if your daily activities include prolonged sitting or standing. If you typically sit most of the day, start getting up to walk for a few minutes each hour. You can also perform seated calf raises, marches, and leg kicks to increase blood flow.
If you stand most of the day, there are a few things you can start doing to alleviate varicose veins. First, look into wearing compression stockings. Second, walk as often as possible to avoid static standing. Third, perform a few reps of an exercise each hour that increases blood flow to your legs (heel raises, marching, slow and controlled butt-kicks, mini squats, etc.) Fourth and most importantly, be sure to elevate your legs each evening.
Using a leg elevation pillow for varicose veins is a great start to finding relief for your legs! You’ll be comfortable in the contours and feel the results in no time!
-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy