Heavy legs: understanding circulation problems
During the summer plenty of people experience the discomfort of “heavy legs”, or pooling blood in the legs. But what causes these circulation problems? What are the contributing factors? And how can you get your blood circulating back up to your heart ? Read on for more information to help with heavy legs.
Circulation problems in brief
The phenomenon of heavy legs is caused by pooling blood and poor circulation in the lower legs. Several factors can contribute to this type of circulation problem.
- soles of feet not used enough: as we walk, muscles in the sole of the foot help pump blood back up to the heart – unless they don’t get the chance
- venous valves: these valves prevent reverse blood flow away from the heart – unless there is a problem
- swollen veins: one of the causes of poor circulation is also a consequence of blood pooling in the veins
The lymph vessels are also affected by this problem, and lead to the same symptoms: aching, heavy legs. That’s why we talk about lymphatic vein inadequacy.
Venous problems: aggravating factors
So circulation problems can be linked to poorly functioning venous valves. Other circumstances can also bring about poor circulation or swollen veins.
7 factors leading to venous problems:
- long periods of immobility seated or standing: the sole of the foot isn’t exercised enough
- pregnancy or onset of period: certain female hormones can cause swollen veins
- heat exposure: can also lead to dilated veins
- smoking: it weakens the elasticity of the veins
- excess weight: too much fat in the blood slows down circulation
- long flights: remaining seated for hours interferes with venous blood flow; the dehydration caused by a pressurized cabin reduces blood fluidity too
- sports where the lower body receives blows or knocks (tennis, squash, volley-ball, etc): these blows can create shockwaves that damage the venous walls
Cases of superficial venous thrombosis should be watched closely because they indicate an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (more information in our article on heavy legs).
Natural solutions for combating a sensation of heavy legs
Often a chronic problem, aching, heavy legs can be helped with a few good habits. Natural remedies can also help improve blood circulation.
5 tips for relieving venous problems:
- tone blood vessels by aiming a jet of cold water on your lower legs and feet
- walk or run to get the blood flowing in your feet: 30 minutes of fast walking daily is advised
- reactivate your circulation by massaging your legs from the bottom up
- help blood circulate upwards from your feet by raising your legs slightly while you sleep
- encourage circulation by eating foods that are rich in antioxidants: green tea, red berries (blackcurrant, strawberries, gooseberries, etc.) and garlic, to name a few
4 plants known to aid circulation:
- horse chestnut: helps constrict veins (vasoconstrictor) and improve blood flow
- butcher’s broom: also has vasoconstricting virtues
- hamamelis: equally recognized for its vasoconstriction and tonifying qualities
- peppermint: applied locally, it stimulates blood circulation
To help combat aching, heavy legs, Lehning Laboratories have created solutions using the active ingredients of these plants.