What is heavy leg syndrome? As the name implies, heavy leg syndrome causes symptom feelings of heaviness, sometimes painful, in the legs–and is often a sign of the beginning of venous insufficiency.
Women are at greater risk for heavy leg syndrome, especially at the end of pregnancy.
Because heavy leg syndrome can be seen as a cause of mild venous insufficiency, the proximal causes are much the same.
When the veins which return to blood to the heart become less efficient, for whatever reason, and circulation declines, blood can pool–often in the legs, due to having to fight against gravity–causing the heavy, aching feeling within the legs.
What causes this weakness in the veins? Sometimes just age, which can cause the veins to lose their elasticity and stretch them–leading to weakened valves.
Hormonal changes can cause this weakness. Pregnancy, for example, causes progesterone to flood the body, and can weaken the tone of the vein walls.
Besides that, during pregnancy, blood flow from the legs to the pelvis is lowered, and the lower circulatory forces can cause venous insufficiency.
There are many at home treatments for heavy leg syndrome and venous insufficiency. These include getting exercise, making sure to change your sitting or standing position frequently, and elevating the legs.
Particularly helpful is the use of compression. By compressing the legs, using support garments or compression socks, the effects of venous insufficiency can be severely reduced.
Wear some sort of compression to sleep every night and have your feet elevated by 10 cm or so on a pillow.
Worried you might suffer from heavy leg syndrome but aren’t sure or don’t know what to do?
Call the Vein Center of Maryland to schedule an appointment. We are conveniently located in Westminster, Eldersburg, Baltimore, Hunt Valley and Bel Air.