You might notice veins popping out of your legs after exercise and assume it's a result of increased blood circulation. However, this explanation is only partially true.
If you suffer with varicose veins, you may notice that your veins are more swollen after exercise, but otherwise your swollen veins may simply be the result of bulging muscles. Unless your veins are painful and tender, it's a common reaction and nothing to be worried about.
Causes of Swollen Veins
Swollen veins after a workout can be attributed to two common problems. Some may explain the puffiness by increased blood flow, but veins actually become less pressurized with more blood flow. Instead, the problem is caused by muscles that bulge when you do exercises. The muscles then push the veins closer to the surface of the skin, making them look puffy and pronounced.
Varicose veins are the other culprit when it comes to swollen veins after exercise. Varicose veins occur mostly in the legs and are veins that malfunction and do not pump blood efficiently. Because of this, blood is left in the veins, which become prominent and noticeable, particularly if you stand for a long period of time. Other symptoms of this condition include aching or heaviness, pain, burning or throbbing, itching and skin discoloration, according to Mayo Clinic.
Are They Painful?
Veins that swell directly after exercise and as the result of exercise typically are not painful. You may notice that they look puffy but the puffiness is generally short lived and your veins soon go back to normal.
Veins that are puffy after exercise and can be classified as varicose veins can sometimes make the affected limbs feel heavy and achy. You may also notice that your skin is swollen as well as the veins, and see a brownish discoloration as part of the reaction and subsequent varicose vein flare-up.
Treatment for Swollen Veins
You needn't take any special action if your swollen veins are simply the result of a strenuous workout. As your muscles retract after exercise, your veins will become less noticeable, but may appear again when you exercise once more.
If your swollen legs are the result of varicose veins, sit and elevate your legs to improve circulation and draw the blood out of your puffy veins. In some cases, treatment with a medical procedure called sclerotherapy might be indicated, according to Cleveland Clinic.
Read more: Leg Veins and Pain After Exercise
Prevention for Swollen Veins
You don't need any special prevention methods for veins that pop out only after a workout. Although it might be a cosmetic annoyance, it's a normal occurrence and is not dangerous.
However, if your swollen veins can be attributed to varicose veins, the blue streaks criss-crossing your legs are always noticeable and sometimes painful. While running can exacerbate swelling in varicose veins, walking is the best exercise you can do to improve lower extremity circulation, according to Emory Healthcare.
Exercising your calf muscles with a low-impact activity helps pump blood in your veins back to your heart. Other recommended activities include cycling or stationary biking, swimming and using an elliptical machine.