Apr 10, 2011 at 10:56 am #1271994
@mikeclowLocale: Rocky Mountain West
I'm hoping someone out there has experience to share. I'm a 59-year old, enthusiastic LW backpacker. I have varicose veins on my left calf due to a youthful accident. When I hike long days (for me, 15-20 miles) my varicose veins ache and the calf gets stiff the following day. Compression stockings help, but are a hassle. I'm thinking of surgical repair, but won't do it if it would in some way diminish my hiking ability. Anybody out there have repaired varicose veins and can still hike like crazy? Or can no longer hike like crazy due to the surgery?
Thanks!Apr 10, 2011 at 4:42 pm #1722905
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
I have varicose veins due to multiple pregnancies. (You haven't lived until you've had to wear support hose and a maternity girdle in 95*F heat and 100% humidity.) Interestingly, after the pregnancies, the more I exercised, the less the veins bothered me. They look horrible, but I haven't had any problems with them for the last 25 or so years. I wouldn't have the surgery for cosmetic reasons, but I certainly would long since have gotten it if they were painful.
Since your veins obviously do pain you when hiking, I'd definitely discuss the situation with your physician. Be sure to tell him/her about your activities and that you don't want to give them up. Maybe you can schedule the surgery in the "off" season so you have plenty of time to heal up and re-strengthen before spring/summer hiking.Apr 11, 2011 at 8:16 am #1723112
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
I had really REALLY bad ones with both pregnancies. To paraphrase a friend "I swear they talk to me". Between baby 1 and 2 (a good 12 year gap) they were very painful. Then I started training with a trainer at the gym the year before I got pregnant with #2 and suddenly the veins went under my skin but also quit hurting (for me anything with high stepping was painful, be it hiking up rocks or snowshoeing and so was extended hiking). They came back even worse with #2 but as soon as I could I started working out. My trainer is working on making it stronger – it isn't easy – the workouts the first couple months hurt worse than my veins did!
But…I don't have the feeling I used to get anymore – where if I squatted down and then stood up I was light headed, nearly falling over. So my circulation is highly improved. (My worst are the thigh ones)
One thing about the training also is that long hikes don't lead to cramps and vein pain the next day.
I'd talk out the surgery but also see if you can get recommended for physical therapy? That might help more – or find a really good trainer who can work with the area, making it stronger.
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