Empty that Bucket
Varicose veins in various forms affect almost 60% of the
population and can occur at any age. They are often
underestimated and ignored as a cosmetic nuisance as they can
often be unsightly. It is a chronic condition that gets progressively
worse over a period of time and therefore it is essential to
understand the disease. Before the visible veins develop, there
is pressure build-up in the internal veins due to failure of one-
way valves returning blood back to your heart and lungs for
oxygenation. Increasing congestion, causes the superficial veins
to stretch, enlarge and twist to appear as bulging varicose veins.
The congestion causes heaviness, discomfort, ankle swelling,
cramps and tiredness of the legs. The swollen veins continue to
stretch and become thin causing the proteins and blood cells to
leach out under the skin. This irritates the skin causing itching,
eczema, and pigmentation. Progression of this skin damage can
lead to Ulcer formation.
Understanding this “TimeLine effect” of varicose veins is the first
step to recognise this as a significant medical issue and prevent
potential problems. Ignored varicose veins behave like a
neglected bucket of water. Eventual skin damage can occur like
a rusting bucket.
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The 4 E’s
I recommend The 4 E’s solution to Empty that Bucket.
Elevate: Raise the legs while you are sitting at home on the sofa or at the office by keeping a
leg rest under your desk. This boosts natural circulation by getting rid of the congestion and
reduces fatigue. After a long tiring day, revitalise your legs with a cool shower or foot soak as
the cold water constricts the leg veins.
Exercise: When you walk, the calf muscles rhythmically contract and relax acting as a second
heart, pushing the blood up the veins against gravity. Regular walks increase flow in the vein,
reduces the pooling of unhealthy blood, improves symptoms, and prevent clots. A simple
exercise at your desk to contract the calf muscle is to raise the heel up and down while the
foot is flat on the floor, in a “chew the ground” motion. Exercise also helps to lose weight
towards healthy living for healthy legs.
Elastic Compression: Compression socks are the medicine that you wear for the varicose
veins. Flight socks reduce the fluid build-up at work from prolonged sitting or standing.
Preventing congestion of the subcutaneous tissue will prevent skin damage. Your legs will feel
lighter when you get home with more energy and improved mood.
Eliminate: Technologies in the management of varicose veins have significantly advanced in
the last decade. A consultation with a specialist Vascular Surgeon, will offer you assessment
and solutions. Your family doctor can make a referral if appropriate.
Be aware of the 5 Early Warning signs of worsening varicose vein disease that are Phlebitis,
Swelling, Itching, Eczema and Pigmentation. When you start to develop symptoms, the early
stage of the condition favours simpler procedures with better outcome. It is quite safe and is
indeed beneficial to remove the diseased veins and to restore proper flow of blood through the
other unaffected veins”.
Healthy Legs for Healthy life is an initiative to improve wellbeing by education, assessment,
Empty that bucket and regain your healthy legs, do not let your skin rust.