Varicose Veins


Varicose veins are veins that become large, twisted, and swollen. They are common on the back of your calves, knees, and thighs.



  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain. You may need a doctor's order for this medicine. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Compression stockings:

You may need to wear compression stockings. These are tight elastic stockings that put pressure on your legs. The pressure is highest in the toe and decreases as it goes up towards your thighs. This helps push blood back up to your heart, decreases your symptoms, and helps keep blood clots from forming.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


  • Elevate your legs: Raise your legs above the level of your heart for 15 to 30 minutes several times a day. This will help blood to flow back to the heart.

  • Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time: This can cause the blood to collect in your legs and make your symptoms worse. Walk around for a few minutes every hour to get blood moving in your legs.

  • Avoid wearing tight clothing and shoes: Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes. Do not wear clothes that are tight around the waist.

  • Get plenty of exercise: Talk to your primary healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise can decrease your blood pressure and improve your health. Bend or rotate your ankles several times every hour. This will help blood to flow back to the heart.

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Ask if you need to lose weight and how much you need to lose. Your heart works harder when you are overweight and this can make varicose vein worse. Ask for help with a weight loss program.

  • Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. You are more likely to have heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and other health problems if you smoke. Your health and the health of those around you will improve if you quit. If you smoke, ask for information about how to stop.

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • Your symptoms get worse or they keep you from doing your daily activities.

  • You have a rash on your leg.

  • Your symptoms keep you from doing your daily activities.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have a wound that does not heal or is infected.

  • Your leg is swollen and hard.

  • You have pain in your leg that does not go away or gets worse.

  • You notice that your legs or feet are turning blue or black.

  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Varicose Veins (Discharge Care)