Elevate your legs for varicose veins

When you elevate your legs, ideally at or above heart level, it helps keep the blood from pooling in your lower legs and improves blood flow to the rest of your body. There are simple ways to improve the blood flow in your legs and prevent or improve varicose veins:

  • Prop up your legs when you are sitting. Use a footrest at work and a footstool or ottoman at home to elevate your feet.
  • Lie down and prop your legs above heart level at the end of the day. Try lying on your back on a bed with your feet propped on the wall or on pillows to improve blood flow back to the heart.
  • Avoid crossing your legs at the knees when sitting. If you can't prop up your feet, set them flat on the floor or cross them at the ankles. Crossing legs at the knees squeezes veins and blocks blood flow.
  • Regularly tense the muscles in your legs and point and flex your feet when you are sitting for a long period of time, such as during airplane travel or a long car trip.

Last Updated: February 5, 2010

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