How to keep your legs healthy

1. Keep your weight down
Obesity is linked with osteoarthritis (loss of cartilage in the joints), which commonly affects knees and hips. Carrying too much weight can also lead to varicose veins. Varicose veins are not life-threatening but they look unsightly and can be painful.

2. Walk
Exercise is very important for the health of your legs. Walking is an excellent way to tone the muscles in the leg, reduce body fat and improve circulation.
Aim to walk 30-45 minutes daily, this can be done in bursts through the day.

3. Put your feet up
Standing or even sitting all day can lead to swollen legs and ankles.
Being inactive causes circulation problems. Normally when you walk, the blood is pumped back towards your heart and swelling is reduced. Putting your feet up for just ten minutes a day can help.

4. Limit wearing high heels
High heels make your legs look longer, but they can throw your body out of alignment, which can lead to leg pain, foot pain and back pain. The calf muscle is not in an optimal position to work well as a “venous pump” (contracting and relaxing to stimulate blood flow). If you love your heels, try not to wear them every day, and wear them for shorter periods.

5. Check for changes in moles
The leg is a common area of the body in which malignant melanomas can develop. Be vigilant and check regularly for any changes in colour, size or shape of moles.
A yearly mole check with your GP is recommended.

6. Wear stockings on long flights
Passengers who fly long haul are at risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Wearing elastic compression stocking is advisable. Do some exercise and drink plenty of water during the flight.

7. Eat a healthy low-fat diet
Sometimes described as your 'second heart', your leg veins help pump blood back up to the heart. Nutritionally, the same rules apply for healthy leg vein circulation as for a healthy heart. Cut back on saturated fat and sugar, make sure you have enough fibre in your diet to maintain normal bowel motions.

Have your varicose veins assessed at Vein and Laser. You can then be advised on which treatment is most suitable - wearing elastic stockings, surgery, injection treatment or laser treatment. Call 09 410-0990 for an appointment.

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