What Standing All Day Does to Your Legs, According to Science

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Reviewed by Dr. Kenneth Harper, MD

Are you on your feet all day for work? If so, are your legs and feet tired and achy after a long shift? While it may seem normal to have leg fatigue, swelling, and discomfort after standing all day, your body could be alerting you to the risk of venous disease. This can lead to lymphedema (chronic leg swelling), bulging varicose veins, and even blood clots.

You may have mentioned your concerns to your primary care doctor. Maybe you were told that it was normal to feel that way. It would be a shame if your symptoms were caused by hidden vein disease and were suffering needlessly. This is important to me because it is important to you to know that you may have a treated condition.

If standing all day makes your legs hurt, Vein Specialists of the South can help. We offer guidance on workplace changes (anti-fatigue mats and compression) and lifestyle adjustments (sensible shoes and exercise). For those who require treatment, we offer life changing, minimally invasive procedures with little to no downtime.

Thousands of Americans like you stand all day for work and their legs feel great. Whether you work in customer service, teach, or care for patients in a hospital setting, if your legs are suffering it is time to seek help.

Riley Is A Teacher And Suffered With Painful Varicose Veins From Standing All Day

Do you have any of the following symptoms?

  • heaviness in your legs
  • achy, tired legs
  • leg swelling
  • visible blue, red, or purple veins
  • restless legs at night
  • leg cramps that keep you from sleeping

If so, standing all day at work has likely contributed to the development of venous disease, and you will benefit from procedures offered at Vein Specialists of the South and our lifestyle changes, which we call our Better Veins for Life® principles.

How To Improve Your Leg Health While Standing All Day On The Job

Better Veins for Life® start at your place of work. Here are some tips for reducing strain on your legs and veins while you work hard and earn a living.

  1. Footwear: The best shoes for standing all day are sensible flats with arch support and plenty of cushion. Shop around for shoes you can feel comfortable in while standing all day. Avoid high heels. There are plenty of styles which look nice, even in professional business attire.
  2. Compression: Graduated compression socks, hose, and sleeves help improve circulation while reducing leg fatigue and swelling. They can also prevent the development of varicose veins and slow down the progression of venous disease. It is important to get proper fitting and hints on how to wear your compression if you want the best results.
  3. Anti-Fatigue Mats: Speak with your boss about providing or approving the use of anti-fatigue mats in the workplace. Standing on these can enhance comfort while standing all day. Consider purchasing some for your home as well; they are especially helpful in front of the kitchen sink and stove.
  4. Exercise: You likely can’t get away to exercise during the work day; however, there are some simple stretches you can do on the job. Flex and pump your calf muscles to encourage healthy circulation and keep your muscles loose. If you have a chance to sit during the day, stretch your legs. Elevate them, if possible. Take a walk when you get a break.

At-Home Self-Care For Your Legs

In addition to the workplace tips, which you can also implement during your off time, we recommend changes in your home routine for improved vein health.

  1. Personal Fitness Routine: Develop a fitness routine, which includes stretching, walking, jogging, and/or bike riding. If you go to the gym, continue this routine. Have trouble with these types of exercise? Swimming is excellent if you have problems with your back, hips, knees or feet, as it is low impact. If you have advanced venous disease exercise can be problematic. Remember to discuss any new fitness routine with your doctor to avoid injury.
  2. Avoid Pro-Longed Sitting: After standing all day, it is tempting to go home, sit down, and not move again. This is more likely to worsen your symptoms. A little exercise can go a long way so don’t give up. Doing calf raises with sitting can help.
  3. Self-Massage: This is especially good if you have leg swelling; we recommend massaging your feet and legs to encourage healthy circulation and loosen up tight, achy muscles. You may even be able to convince your partner to help you out.
  4. Leg Elevation: Elevate your feet above your heart to encourage healthy blood flow and reduce swelling. Do this every day for at least 30-minutes. An easy way to do this is to lie on your bed or couch with your feet propped up on pillows. Many of our patients will also place their legs flat against the wall, with their backs on the floor.

Don’t Wait To See A Vein Specialist

If you already have leg symptoms, waiting is the worst thing you can do. The sooner you come and see us, the better off you will be. It’s a shame when we see patients who have suffered for too long when there was hope.

Our team will listen to your concerns and work with you to evaluate your condition, give you tips to improve your symptoms and slow disease progression, and prescribe treatments for the affected veins. VSS procedures are minimally invasiveWalk In. Walk Out.® with little to no downtime. Get your treatment and get back to your life and back to work with our help.

You Don’t Have To Quit Your Job

Whether you’re standing all day or sitting all day, most jobs can increase the risk of venous disease. Knowing the symptoms and seeking care for painful legs or visible veins will help you maintain healthier legs and Better Veins for Life®.

Follow our guidelines above and book an evaluation at Vein Specialists of the South. We will evaluate your legs, and create a personalized treatment plan for you, helping you select the most comfortable and stylish compression hose, socks, and sleeves. You’ll leave with a thorough and thoughtful plan of action you can implement right away.

Don’t wait. Contact us today or request a referral from your primary care physician.


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