Heavy legs is a condition that millions of people know very well, especially in the evening. According to research, only around ten percent of adults have healthy veins. However, very few of those affected see their symptoms as a health problem. Diseases of the leg veins are usually the cause of heavy legs.
Heavy legs can be a sign of changes in the leg veins.
Heavy legs can be a sign of changes in the leg veins. About 90% of adults suffer from such changes in various degrees of severity.
Changes such as spider veins are usually viewed as a purely cosmetic problem. However, even the smallest changes can be a sign of weak veins.
If left untreated, the changes progress steadily and ultimately lead to serious problems. The consequences can be varicose veins, thrombosis and even embolism. In addition, heavy legs are common during pregnancy. It is advisable to have a doctor examine the causes of heavy legs.
There are several causes of heavy legs. In those with healthy veins, heavy legs can simply be a sign of excessive strain.
In many cases, however, diseases of the veins are responsible for the symptoms. Venous diseases can be accompanied by externally visible signs, such as spider veins, and without any external signs, causing a feeling of heavy and tired legs. Other symptoms may include itching, tingling, swollen ankles, or sharp pain.
Heavy legs are common during pregnancy because the vessels are more flexible and accordingly more blood flows through them. This can lead to a backlog in the leg veins, which triggers the symptoms.
Venous diseases should always be taken seriously. Therefore, heavy legs should be checked by a doctor.
Since heavy legs can be a sign of venous disease, examinations will be done to identify any changes in the veins.
First, the doctor will look for any other symptoms. These include spider veins and varicose veins. For further diagnosis, examinations are carried out with the help of so-called imaging procedures. For example, the duplex examination is used for this purpose. This is a combination of an ultrasound examination and a Doppler procedure. The Doppler procedure is a special form of ultrasound examination that can be used to examine the speed at which the blood flows through the vessels. Vascular constrictions can also be precisely determined in this way.
In some cases, venography is also done. A contrast agent is injected into the veins and the vessels are then visualized by an X-ray examination. If varicose veins are suspected, there are a number of other tests that are carried out as needed.
A single or infrequent occurrence of the symptoms can have the harmless cause of the overuse. If the symptoms occur more frequently, the causes should be clarified as early as possible, since if left untreated, heavy legs can lead to thromboses and embolisms.
The causes of "heavy legs" are varied, but the underlying disease is often a weak vein. If this remains untreated, it can have serious complications, because an untreated venous weakness progresses. The consequences can be varicose veins, open legs, thrombosis or embolism.
Varicose veins are not a purely cosmetic problem; if left untreated, discoloration and chronic inflammation of the skin develop. If there is still no treatment, varicose veins lead to superficial phlebitis, possibly with clot formation, and open legs. Open legs are sores in the lower legs and feet.
They heal poorly because of the already poor blood circulation. Often there is a secondary colonization of the wounds with bacteria. Then a lengthy (life) therapy is necessary. Thrombosis is caused by a blood clot in the deep veins of the leg. If left untreated, it can lead to pulmonary embolism.
In the case of a pulmonary embolism, parts of the blood clot dissolve, which then enter the pulmonary vein via the cardiopulmonary circulation and block it. The tissue behind it is no longer supplied with blood and dies. The heart is also affected by the increased pressure in the cardiopulmonary circulation. In Germany alone, over 40,000 people die of pulmonary embolism every year.
A doctor's visit is not always necessary for heavy legs. Most of the time, the symptoms are due to an overload of the muscles and disappear again after a few hours. A medical examination is recommended if the heavy legs persist for several days or even weeks or are accompanied by other symptoms. For example, heavy legs that are associated with a burning sensation in the muscles indicate a muscle inflammation that should definitely be clarified.
It is not uncommon for the complaints to be based on tension, which can be resolved by a professional massage. If severe pain is added to the heavy limbs, a doctor should be consulted for further clarification. This is especially true if the symptoms occur without physical strain. Even if the symptom is observed again and again, professional advice is required. If the cause is treated quickly, serious complications can usually be ruled out. If left untreated, heavy legs can develop into various secondary diseases, depending on the cause.
Treatment for heavy legs is always based on the severity of the symptoms and their causes. It is helpful to facilitate the return of blood from the veins. It is therefore advisable to elevate your legs as often as possible and to avoid sitting or standing for long periods. Special vein gymnastics can strengthen the vessel walls and improve the backflow of blood. Vein gymnastics can be performed at home according to the doctor's instructions. Ten minutes of daily exercise is usually enough to relieve the discomfort of heavy legs.
In addition, acute complaints can be alleviated through regular alternating showers and sufficient fluid intake of at least 2 liters per day. In some cases, the doctor will prescribe compression stockings. These support the reflux of the blood from the outside and thus prevent thromboses and embolisms. Depending on the severity of the disease, the compression stockings are available in four different compression classes.
They differ in the strength of the material and thus in the different pressure exerted. Incorrectly fitted compression stockings can cause pressure damage. Therefore the stockings have to be measured and adjusted individually. Regular wearing of the stockings relieves the discomfort of heavy legs.
In most cases the heavy legs do not need to be treated by a doctor. They occur mainly after excessive stress or after heavy physical and sporting activity and are a common symptom.
The heavy legs usually disappear after a few days without any particular complications or problems. The patient should, however, give the legs the opportunity to rest and recover. Therefore, if you have heavy legs, you should definitely refrain from sports and heavy physical work. However, if the legs continue to be stressed, it can lead to inflammation and tears in the muscles.
If the heavy legs also cause pain, they can be numbed with the help of ointments and creams. Joke pills can also be taken. However, the person concerned should be careful not to take the painkillers for a long time, as they damage the stomach.
If the heavy legs do not go away on their own and are very painful, a doctor must be consulted. In this case, it may be another disease, such as diabetes, that needs to be investigated by a doctor.
Severe legs and venous diseases in general can be prevented with adequate fluid intake and a balanced and healthy diet. In addition, getting enough exercise and exercising regularly is the best preventive measure against heavy legs.
Heavy legs are a typical fatigue syndrome and mostly harmless. Various home remedies and measures can help relax heavy legs. Acute symptoms can be relieved by cooling compresses, cold water and fruit vinegar.
Heavy legs that are accompanied by swelling can be treated with the help of warm applications and light massages. It also helps to relax the legs by sitting or lying down. By raising your legs, blood circulation is additionally stimulated. Regular exercise strengthens the muscles and the veins in the legs, which can effectively prevent heavy legs. Obese people should try to reduce their body weight first. Less fat means less strain on the veins and better blood circulation in the muscles.
It is also advisable to wear flat shoes and walk barefoot as often as possible. In addition, sufficient fluids should be consumed, as water effectively regulates the blood circulation in the legs. Tight clothing, especially tight-fitting socks and pants, should be avoided. If the heavy legs persist over a longer period of time, further treatment measures should be discussed with the family doctor.