Anyone who suffers with varicose veins that cause leg edema can greatly benefit from using a leg elevation device, both before and after varicose vein treatment. Below, you will find detailed information that will help you know what to look for when shopping for a leg elevation device and will explain the science that dictates how efficient they are.
Before most insurance companies will agree to cover varicose vein treatment, like micro laser surgery or sclerotherapy, they require that “conservative” varicose vein treatment be tried first. Conservative therapy involves home treatments like losing weight, exercising more, wearing compression stockings, and elevating the legs to drain the accumulated fluid a couple of times a day. Usually, this is done under doctor supervision and the results are carefully documented.
Although no amount of leg lifting is going to CURE, or somehow magically repair, one or more faulty vein valves that cause varicose veins, a well designed leg elevation device can dramatically relieve symptoms due to varicose veins. These symptoms include swelling, pressure in the legs (“heaviness”), cramps, itching, burning, rashes, ulcers, and restless leg syndrome. Elevating the legs can also delay the need for varicose vein treatment and or prevent the need for additional varicose vein treatment once your vein doctor has ablated your problem veins.
There’s another huge advantage to elevating the legs. After varicose vein treatment, the anti-gravitational effects of leg elevation can help take the pressure off your veins. This helps your legs heal faster and it can also help alleviate any discomfort you may be having after your varicose vein treatment. Leg lifting will also reduce the possibility of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), i.e. deep blood clots, forming after your treatment.
It’s important to note that most of the excess fluid will drain out of your legs after several hours if you lay horizontally. However, if you use a good leg elevation device a couple of times a day for about twenty minutes each time, you’ll get even more fluid out of your legs in a much faster amount of time. This will often allow you to fall asleep faster and sleep more comfortably. It will also allow your body to remove the toxins that accumulate in this fluid much more quickly which reduces their harmful impact.
Here are the most important points to consider when shopping for a good leg elevation device:
1. You Want Your Legs Elevated 8 to 10 Inches Above Your Heart
A good leg elevation device will elevate your legs eight to twelve inches above your heart when you are laying down. This lowers the hydrostatic pressure in your capillaries which allows the excess fluid in the surrounding tissues to be reabsorbed into your veins so it can be drained. As it is drained, the blood is returned to the heart after passing through the organs involved in detoxification.
2. You Want Your Thighs Elevated No More Than 45 Degrees
Your thighs should NOT be elevated more than a forty-five degree angle relative to your hips and back. A sharper angle than this would put pressure on the femoral veins through which the accumulated fluid drains. Elevating your legs eight to twelve inches above the heart, while making sure to keep the angle of your thighs relative to your back less than forty-five degrees, is also the “sweet spot” in terms of comfort, especially after varicose vein treatment.
3. You Want Your Knees Bent About 25 Degrees
It is a naturally comfortable position for your knees to be bent twenty to thirty degrees. This is because the tendons around your knees are most relaxed in this position. If your knees are not bent at all, tendons are contracted. This position also allows for the freest flow of blood through your veins.
4. You Want Your Lower Leg to Be Tilted 15 to 20 Degrees
Again, this is the most comfortable position and it will make sure there is maximum circulation in your veins as the fluid drains from your legs.
5. Don’t Allow Edges or Firmness to Cut Off Circulation or Press on Nerves
When evaluating potential leg elevation devices to purchase, pay close attention to the sharpness of the edges. These can pinch off veins and press on nerves, which defeats the whole purpose of using an elevation device as a form of varicose vein treatment.
6. Pay Careful Attention to Shape and Length
Many leg elevation devices on the market have flat surfaces where your calf lays on it. While the foam may give a little, especially if you buy one of the more expensive memory foam versions, having a little curvature in this area can make the device more comfortable. Furthermore, one size fits all will likely not work for you since the length of the leg elevation device should fit the length of your particular legs! Otherwise, your feet may hang off awkwardly and you may not get the proper support for your thighs and calves. Please note there is a wide variation in leg length so you want to purchase a leg elevation device that is sold in different leg lengths.
7. Look for a QUALITY Slip Cover
This is an often overlooked quality by consumers when shopping for a leg elevation device. You want the slip cover to completely cover your device so it prolongs the life of the foam and keeps it clean. You want it to be easily removed and rugged enough to withstand many washings on a normal cycle in your washing machine. Last but certainly not least, you want the material to feel SOFT against bare legs and not cause any skin abrasion!
Since leg elevation is a form of “relaxation therapy,” rather than vigorous exercise, you can also combine this type of “conservative” varicose vein treatment with quiet meditation, aromatherapy, tranquil music, or a restorative nap, to calm your anxiety after a long hard day of work or other stress.
For a free evaluation of your varicose vein condition, please visit the Metro Vein Clinics website and give them a call to set up an appointment. Metro Vein Centers is a one of the top vein clinics in the United States.