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If you experience heaviness in your legs, you could be suffering from a common side effect of varicose veins – a condition that affects millions of people worldwide.

As vein specialists in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area, we consult and treat many patients who describe their legs as feeling heavy, often without understanding the underlying cause.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about why varicose veins make your legs feel heavy, explore other side effects of this condition, discuss available treatments, and how you can get help and find permanent relief.

Why Do My Legs Feel Heavy?

Before we start, it’s important to note that varicose veins aren’t the only reason for leg heaviness. This feeling could also come from poor blood flow, tired muscles, not drinking enough water, or health issues like peripheral artery disease and lymphedema.

However, today, we’ll focus on the most common cause: varicose veins or vein-related problems.

Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins that most commonly occur in the legs. This condition develops when the valves in your veins, which are supposed to prevent blood from flowing backward, fail to function correctly. As a result, blood pools in the veins, causing them to enlarge and become varicose.

The sensation of heaviness happens because of the accumulation of blood in these veins, which puts extra pressure on your legs.

Imagine your veins as a garden hose. When the hose is kinked or partially blocked, water can’t flow through smoothly. Similarly, blood can’t move easily when your veins are varicose, which in turn causes that heavy feeling in your legs. This can also lead to fatigue, making even simple tasks feel exhausting.

Other Side Effects of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins don’t just make your legs feel heavy; they can also cause plenty of other uncomfortable symptoms.

Excessive pressure in your veins can make your legs hurt or cramp up, a pain that usually gets worse after you’ve been standing or sitting for a long time. Fluids can also build up outside your veins, causing swelling.

Another uncomfortable symptom of varicose veins is they can make the skin around them itch. If you don’t take care of it, this itching can turn into more serious issues like your leg skin changing color or even ulcers starting to form.

Some people with varicose veins also feel they can’t keep their legs still. This is called restless legs syndrome, and it makes you feel like you have to move your legs constantly – a feeling often accompanied by other uncomfortable sensations.

So, it’s clear that varicose veins can lead to a range of issues beyond only the sensation of heavy legs. Because of these potential complications, a medical evaluation is a good idea if you suspect you have varicose veins.

Treatment Options

While there are several things you can do to alleviate feelings of heaviness, they are not permanent solutions. Fortunately, there are many effective treatments available for varicose veins that can help get rid of the sensation of heaviness and other symptoms for good.

In the case of feelings of heavy legs, Injection Sclerotherapy may be the right method for treating your varicose veins. This treatment involves the careful injection of a special medication directly into the vein. The process is simple, minimally painful, and effective, with most patients needing only a few sessions to see noticeable improvements. It’s a great choice for those looking for a straightforward solution to the discomfort of heavy legs associated with varicose veins.

Smaller varicose veins may also contribute to this feeling of heaviness. For these veins, Laser Sclerotherapy is ideal. This treatment lasts about 20 minutes per session and uses laser technology to improve vein appearance significantly, usually after two to three treatments. It’s especially useful for addressing areas that may not have fully responded to injection sclerotherapy, helping to reduce the sensation of heaviness and other symptoms.

While getting treatment is the only surefire way to eliminate varicose veins for good, lifestyle changes can have a dramatic impact on your comfort with varicose veins. Moving more, not sitting or standing for too long, raising your legs when you can, and keeping a healthy weight can all help ease your symptoms. These steps, along with the right treatment, can practically ensure you never have to deal with varicose vein issues again. 


The sensation of heavy legs can be more than just an inconvenience; it can be a sign of varicose veins, a condition that affects not only your physical health, but your ability to enjoy daily activities.

As vein specialists in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area, we understand the challenges you’re facing and are here to help. With the right treatment plan, you can ease the heaviness and other side effects of varicose veins, restoring your legs’ health and your overall quality of life. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out for the help you need.