I have varicose veins on one of my legs (lower left leg). I have been told, more than once, that I should avoid running (or other high-impact exercises) as that might make them worse. I heard this not only from "lay persons" but also from fitness instructors. I also heard the opposite - that it would improve musculature and circulation on my legs and might help make the veins smaller (or at least stop them from growing).

I couldn't find any seemingly reliable reference to this online, though - the closest I got was a WebMD article saying that running "might be uncomfortable" for people with the condition. I'm ok with uncomfortable, as long as I'm not actually hurting myself. Does anyone have any experience or some good source of information on this?

  • 1
    Varicose veins are serious. Please don't get advice from the internet. Find a specialist. Voting to close.
    – michael
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 1:29
  • 1
    I agree. This is a medical question best answered by a medical practictioner. Voted to close.
    – Sarge
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 1:04

3 Answers 3


I would say high impact workouts like running might make them worse. Try for a low impact exercise like swimming. However, don't listen to me (or anyone else on the internet). Talk to a trained medical professional.


Varicose veins are caused by the valve in the vessel in your leg not properly working. Sometimes this causes blood to pool down there and makes it look ugly and very uncomfortable (you say you want the veins "smaller", that's just the blood pooling. Compression tights will help circulate blood by pushing it through. Try low-impact sports such as swimming or biking. Its important to stay active no matter what.

As with any advice someone gives you on the internet take it with a massive grain of salt and talk to someone trustworthy (like... a doctor). Just be weary of them trying to sell a surgery.

  • The question was closed for a reason... :-) Commented Nov 4, 2012 at 21:06

The most appropriate answer is to consult a physician before starting any workout program.

But some tight compression tights could help.

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