Does running cause varicose veins? Do runners with varicose veins underperform? Does running regularly help with the symptoms of running? If you are a runner and are worried about varicose veins, or perhaps suffer from this common condition and are thinking about taking up running to help alleviate symptoms, take a look some of the ways varicose veins can impact running and vice-versa.

What are varicose veins and what causes them?

Varicose veins are swollen veins which tend to be purple or bluish in colour. These swollen veins using occur in the legs.

Varicose veins are caused by weakened valves in the veins which causes the blood to collect in the legs and pressure to build up. The veins then become large, twisted and weak.

If you suffer from varicose veins should you run?

As long as you are not in any pain or discomfort from the swollen veins, you can keep running. It is wise to run on softer terrain such as grass or an athletics track to soften the movement. You should wear well-cushioned trainers to absorb some of the shock running causes on the legs.

Can running help varicose veins?

Exercise like running improves the blood circulation, stimulating blood flow in the arm and legs, as well as building strength. Whilst low-impact exercise such as cycling and walking is generally better suited to sufferers of varicose veins, running can help improve the circulation of the blood and build strength in the legs.

As mentioned above, if you are running and have varicose veins, try and make your runs as low-impact as possible.

Seek medical treatment for varicose veins

If you are serious about running and suffer from varicose veins, it could be that the condition is hampering your running performance. It was recently reported in the Daily Mail that a 60-year-old runner was able to jog longer distances after having cosmetic surgery to remove her varicose veins.

If you are concerned about varicose veins and running or any type of sport or exercise, it is advisable to seek advice from a medical professional.

The Vascular Consultancy can provide advice on what types of treatment for this common vascular condition would be right for you.

Get in touch with the Vascular Consultancy team today to discuss your vein health concerns and queries.


Daryll Baker is a Consultant Vascular Surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital London and Clinical Lead for North Central Region Vascular Services.

He read Medicine at Oxford University and trained in Vascular Surgery in Nottingham, London and Edinburgh. He obtained his research PhD from the University of Wales.


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