Potential Vein Damage With Exercise
In a past blog, I addressed the question as to the use of support stockings during exercise. As mentioned there has not been any proven scientific benefit to the use of support stockings during exercise, however, there has been evidence that using support stockings after exercise, during recovery, is beneficial. These seem to help with muscle recovery after aerobic activities.
I observe people working out at the gym, and as a vascular surgeon I have had the opportunity to evaluate patients at my office, who have sustained exercise related vein damage.
Firstly, with regards to upper extremity exercises, hyperabduction -or pulling the shoulders too far back, with weight lifting can cause a “scissoring” of the vein under the clavicle (collarbone). With repetitive motion, this may lead to an obstruction, or blockage, of this vein, causing swelling of the arm, and potential fatigue of the arm during daily activities. This issue has been mentioned in the previous blog with regards to varicose veins of the upper extremities.
Secondly, with regards to lower extremity exercises, using excessive weights-pushing to and past the limit-can lead to venous blood clots. Veins are a low flow blood vessel, and excessive pressure, stopping the blood flow for a small amount of time can lead to clotting. I have evaluated patients who have bench pressed upwards of 1000 pounds with their lower extremities who have developed as a result a venous blood clot.
Excessive straining during exercise may lead to a vein rupture, and or a bleeding episode, usually under the surface of the skin. It may also lead to the appearance of varicose veins, either of the upper or lower extremity, as the increasing muscle mass, push veins closer to the surface.
Words of caution:
- Stay hydrated during exercise, with water, in order to maximize muscle performance. Energy drinks do have added electrolytes as well, and that may be of an added benefit.
- Try using support stockings after exercise to aid in muscle recovery.
- Eat a protein load within 30 minutes to an hour after the exercise to prevent muscle breakdown.
Remember that participating in exercise and aerobic activity is to help us stay fit. Pushing the limits may have more risk than reward.
If you have any questions or desire treatment for vein damage or injury, call Dr. Norman Chideckel, NYC’s top vein surgeon at (212)-993-613 today!