Working Out with Bulging Veins: Is it Unsafe?
It’s a common question: why do some people’s veins bulge during or after exercise? You may not look like this during your workout, but a few veins popping out is not uncommon.
For many people, bulging veins related to exercise are harmless. Mark A.W. Andrews, a physiology professor, explains in this Scientific American article why exercise can make your veins look like they are going to pop out of your skin. In short, it doesn’t have to do with raised vascular blood pressure. During exercise, the veins narrow, meaning that the blood pressure inside the veins actually decreases.
On the other hand, exercise can cause the arterial blood pressure to increase, especially in smaller blood vessels called capillaries. When capillaries swell, plasma fluid resting in the capillaries is pushed out through the capillary walls and into the areas around muscles. This causes muscles to swell, which can lead to the appearance of bulging veins. If your vascular system is otherwise healthy, and the swelling is not painful, bulging veins may be a normal side effect of exercise.
If your bulging veins are tender or painful, however, or if your legs feel especially heavy or achy after workout, you might be suffering from varicose veins or venous insufficiency. Classic symptoms of varicose veins include bulging veins (even without exercise), swelling, pain, itching, cramping, or symptoms mimicking Restless Legs Syndrome.
In this article, Kay Ireland at Livestrong.com has some helpful tips for distinguishing between varicose veins and normal post-exercise swelling, as well as a few ways to minimize discomfort from varicose veins. Sitting down for a while and elevating your legs is one way to improve circulation and reduce swelling. “Exercise methods that don’t require you to stand for long periods of time, such as swimming,” she writes, “can help you avoid flare ups.” If problems continue, she suggests seeking out a doctor to talk about treatment options.
If your veins are bulging painlessly after a workout, there is probably no cause for alarm. With rest and hydration, your muscles and veins should return to their normal appearance in no time. However, if your bulging veins become painful or otherwise uncomfortable, it may be worth scheduling an appointment with us at the Miami Beach Vein Institute. We will work with you to craft a course of treatment specially suited to your needs, and all diagnostic work and treatment will be performed by Dr. Malvehy, a vein specialist fully certified by the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment: varicose veins are very treatable, and there’s no reason to live in pain and discomfort.