A Vein Condition Negatively Affects Athletic Performance


Most of us exercise to lose weight or simply feel better. For an athlete, however, it’s all about performance. Everything they do from their diet to their sleep is monitored and tracked to optimize performance during competition. Anything that impedes performance should be dealt with or minimized...and that includes the presence of a vein condition.

If you are an athlete, can the presence of a vein condition affect your performance? Absolutely. 

For example, one patient we treated was a tall lanky runner. She came in because she was having trouble, not just finishing a 10K but also just training for it. She knew something was wrong. We learned that she had abnormal vein reflux, and a  painful ropey vein running down her leg. She received standard vein treatments, and after five weeks post-treatment, she ran her personal best in a 10K and was ecstatic!

A Vein Condition Affects You Physically: 

Fatigue, inflammation and painful, swollen legs are common side effects of a vein condition and will definitely affect your performance. The challenge is that most athletes are able to put up with the symptoms longer and think it’s a side-effect of athletic conditioning - not realizing it's actually a treatable condition that can improve their performance. Most of the effect on athletic performance from a vein condition is due to inflammation. Inflammation molecules appear to directly impair the function of the mitochondria - the powerhouse of the cells throughout the body. Eliminating inflammation from whatever source will improve athletic performance. 

A Vein Condition Affects You Mentally:

The key to athletic conditioning is mental and emotional toughness. Inflammation affects both. Inflammation molecules affect the emotional state and the ability to concentrate. Because of inflammation's effect on the body's energy output, you have a psychological effect because you can no longer perform at the same level. That can be devastating for a performance athlete. When physical activity is impeded by pain or discomfort, your body wants to avoid those activities. Many people may no longer enjoy the sport that they once loved because of the physical toll, and decide to quit exercising altogether. As a vein care specialist, I see people in my clinic who used to exercise regularly and because of their vein condition, they eventually completely stopped because they constantly felt exhausted and run down. Until they came to me for screening, they didn’t know what the problem was. 

It doesn’t have to be that way. 

What Can an Athlete Do?

  1. Schedule a vein ultrasound  - The diagnosis is made with a specialized vein reflux ultrasound. If you think you may be suffering from a vein condition, we’ll look for indicators beneath the surface of the skin to determine whether or not a vein condition is the cause of your symptoms. 
  2. Try compression stockings - Many insurance companies will require people to try compression stockings before approving treatment. For the athlete, they may find improvement in their performance. Then the question is if they want to put up with stocking use on a daily basis. Make sure your legs are measured correctly for the right style, size, and compression strength.  

Do Something

The challenge is not in treating a vein condition. That’s actually the easy part, and our patients continue exercising the day of their treatment. The biggest challenge is first considering that vein reflux is the cause of the impaired performance. And not because the signs and symptoms aren’t there or are difficult to interpret. It’s because athletes, due to enhanced conditioning, are able to work through the common symptoms not realizing they exist. As a result, they miss the fact that a vein condition is undermining their efforts. 



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