Do standing desks cause varicose veins?

Are you interested in a standing desk? Maybe your workplace is offering standing desks for everyone in the office? 

Many people these days want to find new and creative ways to work, not to mention the overwhelming health benefits of a standing desk. Maybe you’ve heard that sitting all day is bad? Or that standing desks are better for your health? Standing desks certainly have their benefits. 

Standing all day via a standing desk could increase your risk of varicose veins. While a standing desk isn’t guaranteed to cause varicose veins, there are many factors that a standing desk can help to increase your risk of varicose veins. 

A standing desk can be beneficial for our health in many ways, including increased productivity, reduced back pain and even lower the risk of obesity; it has some downsides as well, including increased risk of varicose veins. Some argue that those with a family history of varicose veins are particularly at risk if they use a standing desk.

Below we’ll talk about some of the causes of varicose veins, why standing can increase the risk of varicose veins and how varicose veins can be treated.  

Do standing desks cause varicose veins

Why does standing cause varicose veins?

If you’re not staying active and standing all day, the lack of proper blood circulation can cause the blood to pool up around your ankles. In turn, this will put stress on your leg veins. This increased pressure and lack of proper blood circulation can cause painful varicose veins. 

Varicose veins in themselves are not necessarily life threatening, but if left unchecked, can lead to more serious issues. In general, they can be uncomfortable and unsightly. 

You may be more at risk for varicose veins if you - 

  • Are pregnant
  • Are of an older age
  • Are overweight
  • Have a leg injury
  • Smoke
  • Have a history of varicose veins in your family 

As previously stated, it’s not guaranteed that just because you stand all day that you’ll develop varicose veins. Prolonged standing could be one of the risk factors to varicose veins. 

What are the symptoms of varicose veins?

If you’re planning to use a standing desk and are concerned about varicose veins, be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  1. Burning in the lower legs
  2. Swelling in the lower legs
  3. Increased pain in your legs after sitting or standing for long periods of time
  4. Skin discoloration around your lower legs
  5. Itching around the lower legs

Some other symptoms might be restless legs, tingling, throbbing or a burning sensation in the legs. Many of these symptoms can become worse when it’s warm out, this is because blood vessels dilate with hotter temperatures making it even more difficult for blood to properly circulate. 

We’ll talk more about prevention and treatment options for varicose veins later on. 

Can sitting cause spider veins?

If you’re reading this and thinking that it’s time to ditch the idea of a standing desk because prolonged standing can cause varicose veins; what about sitting? Can sitting cause varicose veins or spider veins?

Prolonged sitting can cause varicose and spider veins. When you sit for long periods of time, the lack of blood flow can cause the blood to pool up in your legs to increase your risk of spider or varicose veins. 

Do standing desks cause varicose veins

Sitting actually forces your body to work harder to move blood to your heart, which decreases circulation to the rest of the body, including your legs. 

If you already have varicose or spider veins, it may sound tempting to want to sit all day and relax your legs. However, with the lack of movement, creates lack of blood flow and can be just as painful as standing too much. 

What’s the difference between spider veins and varicose veins?

Varicose veins and spider veins show up for the same reasons; undue stress on the veins due to a pooling of blood around the legs. 

Though they appear for the same reason, there are some differences. 

Spider veins are less serious. They appear closer to the surface of your skin and look kind of like a spider web across your skin. 

Varicose veins can be a symptom of deeper risk factors. These veins supply blood to deep muscle tissue. So when you’re seeing these veins, they appear more 3-D like. 

How do you prevent varicose veins when standing all day?

Even though standing desks can have many health benefits over sitting all day, you are still at risk for varicose veins.  

If you can’t limit the amount of standing you do, how do you prevent varicose veins?

  • Try to sit down for a few minutes every hour or two 
  • If you can take a break, sit down and elevate your legs. 
  • Maintain a healthy BMI
  • Look into compression socks
  • Stretch often, once an hour is ideal
  • Exercise regularly to increase blood flow

Staying healthy and active can be one of the greatest ways to combat varicose veins, or at least worsen the symptoms and keep them from preventing much more severe issues. 

Many standing desks allow for the option of raising or lowering so you can sit or stand at your leisure. You may even want to consider the option of a stationary bike or elliptical to keep your legs moving and blood flowing. 

A good balance of sitting and standing could be the easiest solution. Sitting all day isn’t good, nor is standing all day. Try to get a good balance of sitting and standing in your workday. 

Read More >> Benefits of a Standing Desk?

Is walking good for varicose veins?

As mentioned above, regular exercise can help to increase blood flow. Increased blood flow would be exactly what you would need to help prevent or to lessen varicose veins. 

If you have varicose veins, walking is one of the best options to lessen the pain, as well as the appearance. Walking is a low impact exercise with huge benefits. 

Walking doesn’t just benefit your varicose veins, it can benefit your whole life. A stronger, healthier system can help prevent varicose veins. It can also worsen any pain from varicose veins. 

In general, even the smallest bit of exercising, such as walking, can improve blood circulation and overall health, which in turn can make positive improvements to varicose veins. Try to fit a quick walk in during the workday, during lunch, before or after work or incorporate walking with the whole family. 

Does drinking water help varicose veins?

Can something as simple as drinking water help with varicose veins? 

Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated has endless benefits for our health, mind and body. In particular for varicose veins, drinking water can improve blood circulation and also helps to strengthen our muscles. 

Staying hydrated keeps the blood thinner and thinner blood flows better through the body preventing poor circulation or clots. 

As we’ve been learning about varicose veins, both of these things would be a huge benefit to reducing or even preventing varicose veins. 

Avoid dehydration at all costs. Invest in a reusable water bottle, sip from it regularly and keep it filled. The recommended amount of water that you should be drinking is about 8 ounces every 2 hours. 

Are there any treatments for varicose veins?

In addition to some of the options we’ve talked about such as exercising and stretching, there are some medical treatments for varicose veins. 

  • Medical options such as vein closure or vein removal
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Endovenous laser ablation

Many treatments these days are minimal or noninvasive. 

Not all veins will require any type of medical treatment. If you are diligent with exercise, elevating legs and using compression socks, you may never need any additional treatment. Of course, these decisions will be made between you and your doctor. 

Read More >> Are Standing Desks Better Than Sitting?

Additionally, eating anti-inflammatory foods that are high in fiber and antioxidants can help to improve overall health and decrease varicose veins. 

Some food options might include:

  • Wild caught fish
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Berries
  • Fresh herbs
  • Cucumbers
  • Avocado
  • Leafy greens
  • Bananas

In Summary

While a standing desk could cause or worsen varicose veins, there are many factors to consider. A standing desk may not be the direct cause of varicose veins, though a contributing element. Varicose veins are certainly a concern when it comes to too much sitting or standing. If you want to try a standing desk, there are many benefits, but a good balance of sitting and standing should be maintained. 

In addition:

  1. Stay hydrated
  2. Walk or exercise regularly 
  3. Stretch often
  4. Take frequent breaks 
  5. Look into your family history to see if you’re at increased risk of varicose veins

Consult a doctor about your varicose veins if any of the above measures aren’t working or if you’re looking for additional treatments. Varicose veins are not just embarrassing, if left untreated, they can cause further issues such as bleeding from a burst vein, swelling due to a blood clot or skin ulcers. 

A standing desk can be a great option for improved productivity and a change of pace while at work. Be sure to listen to your body, take frequent breaks, exercise and maintain balance between sitting and standing. 

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Darryl Higgins

Darryl Higgins

Hi, I'm Darryl. I made this site to help share information & reviews about ergonomic desks, chairs & accessories to help others who want to work more comfortably. Learn more about my journey by reading my bio here. Enjoy!

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Darryl Higgins

Darryl Higgins

Hi, I'm Darryl. I made this site to help share information & reviews about ergonomic desks, chairs & accessories to help others who want to work more comfortably. Learn more about my journey by reading my bio here. Enjoy!

About Athlete Desk

Learn about standing desks, bicycle desks, treadmill desks, ergonomic chairs & accessories.

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