Did you know that even the most physically fit athletes can get varicose veins?

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What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are the bulging, swollen veins in the legs that many people associate only with the elderly. They are caused by weakened or damaged valves in the blood vessels which regulate the flow of blood upward toward the heart.

While varicose veins can be caused or exacerbated by aging, being overweight, or poor health, they can affect even young adults and those in excellent health, mostly due to genetics. Those with a family history of vein disease are significantly more likely to be at risk, regardless of their health level.

Varicose veins can be particularly disruptive for athletes because of the extra blood pumped to the legs during heavy exercise. If the body isn’t able to properly pump the blood back upward to the heart, that post-workout high is disrupted by aching, throbbing, and more fatigue in the affected leg.

Even so, many athletes—especially men—can be hesitant to go to the doctor when they begin to notice pain or other symptoms.

Dr. Bunker helped IronMan competitor Robert (Bob) Schuler after he began to notice pain in his left leg, and even though he was reluctant to come in, his performance has improved dramatically. Here’s what Dr. Bunker had to share:

Q: Do you think there is a stigma with men in general regarding varicose vein/spider vein treatment? 

DB: Definitely, men are less likely to see a physician, even when they’re in pain. The misconception that varicose and spider veins are solely a cosmetic issue is a leading factor as to why men do not seek treatment.

Q: Was Mr. Schuler experiencing any pain?

DB: Yes, he was unable to perform to his highest level of athleticism and had the Ironman CDA coming up in 6 weeks.  

Q: How was it affecting his performance?

DB: Athletes such as Mr. Schuler, who spend plenty of time on their feet, place strain on the veins of the lower legs. This can lead to the development of varicose veins, which hinder the performance of the athlete.

Q: What was his diagnosis? 

DB: Venous insufficiency with the right and left great saphenous vein affected and needing treatment.

Q: Which treatment was used? 

DB: Mr. Schuler was treated with the Venefit procedure, which involves inserting the endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) catheter into the diseased vein through a small incision below the knee and threading the catheter through the vessel. Next, he had sclerotherapy which involves injecting a solution directly into the vein and causing it to scar and collapse, forcing blood to reroute through healthier veins. The collapsed vein is reabsorbed into local tissue and eventually fades.

Q: How was his recovery?  

DB: Very successful, his legs felt and looked better than ever before. He was able to preform to his highest standard of athleticism.

Are aching, throbbing, burning, or heavy legs getting in the way of your exercise or athletic training? Don’t wait to seek treatment…call us today at (512) 726-0599 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation and get back in your game.

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