Varicose veins: Does crossing your legs lead to this condition?

There are numerous myths about the causes of bulging veins on the legs or ankles, but some are just that, myths.

Varicose veins: Does crossing your legs lead to this condition?
© Getty/ Fiordaliso
Varicose veins: Does crossing your legs lead to this condition?

No one likes to have the veins on their legs and ankles all bulged and looking purple. But, most adults do have them, and it’s one of those things that come with ageing. Its causes are most likely out of your control, and the crossing your legs is not one of them.

Varicose veins

These are enlarged, blue or purple looking veins that often pop up beneath the skin in our legs. According to the BBC:

Varicose veins are caused by damage to the valves in the legs that help the blood get back up to our hearts.

The factors responsible for this damage are often things you have zero control over, such as age, height and genetics. Pregnancy can also exacerbate this condition, they tend to fade after delivery.

There are many myths out there about the possible causes of this condition, including leg crossing. But, vascular surgeon, Dr Kathleen Boyle said, many of these factors have little or no influence on varicose veins.

Crossing legs does not cause varicose veins. Neither does wearing tight shoes or tight pants — although these things can exacerbate varicose veins if you already have them.
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Varicose veings are enlarged, blue or purple looking veins that often pop up beneath the skin in the legs. Getty/ Alexandra Troyan / EyeEm

Factors within your control

According to Cleveland Clinic, increased pressure can cause blood to collect inside a vein, resulting in the bulge, but this is not caused by external pressures. When you cross your legs, you produce very minimal pressure on your valves or veins.

The BBC explained that one is more likely to develop varicose veins if they spend a lot of time on their feet. The advice here is to keep the blood flowing through simple leg and ankle exercises if you have to stand for long. You could also wear compression stockings to reduce the likelihood of varicose veins developing.

One factor that does contribute to this condition is being overweight. Dr Boyle said maintaining a healthy weight reduces the appearance of varicose veins.

Being overweight definitely does increase pressure in your veins and can increase your risk of getting varicose veins or worsen their appearance.

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