What you choose to wear can have a big effect on the health of your circulatory system and may be a factor in vein disease over time. Certain wardrobe choices can put you at risk for developing vein disease like varicose veins or blood clots. To help prevent vein disease, or avoid making the condition worse, our vascular surgeons at Metro Vein clinics in Detroit have some practical suggestions to help you.

How Healthy Circulation Works

Proper blood circulation is essential to distribute oxygen and nutrients to the cells. Cells need fuel to help them grow, repair themselves and multiply. Oxygen rich blood comes from the heart and lungs through the arteries and flows throughout the body. Once the blood is depleted of nutrients, it is routed back up to the heart via your veins. Muscles help to pump/push the blood back up through the veins toward the heart, and against gravity.

Normally, tiny valves within your veins work to prevent blood from flowing back downward (venus reflux). When damaged by vein disease, the valves may leak, allowing some blood to “back up” and pool in your legs. This can lead to inflammation in the ankles, pain in the calves, varicose veins, burning or pins-and-needles sensations and even non-healing leg wounds called ulcers.

Clothing Tips for Vein Health from Our Detroit Vein Clinic

Comfortable clothing and shoes, not tight or restrictive on any part of your body, are good for your vein health, allowing your circulatory system to work properly. Tight clothing, especially around the waist, thighs and/or calves, restricts circulation. Your vascular system already has the challenge of gravity when sending blood back from the extremities to your heart. Adding tight clothing to the situation places another hurdle in the way.

If you like to wear the currently fashionable skinny jeans, for example, choose sizes and materials that aren’t too restrictive–and don’t wear the style every day. The same advice is true for high heels–use them for special occasions. Try to take breaks, removing the shoes and putting your feet up, to help relieve pressure and restore circulation. For more casual shoes, men and women should wear the right size and width, choosing styles with support.

Avoid wearing clothing that is too small. Know when to temporarily retire (or donate) clothing that shrinks in the wash or no longer fits due to weight gain. If you wear a belt, don’t cinch it too tightly. Make sure clothing is roomy enough (or the material is designed to stretch enough) so you can sit without placing excess pressure on your waist, thighs or your bent knees.

Medical compression stockings are another comfortable, specialized clothing item that helps improve vein health. Contact Metro Vein Clinics in Canton, serving Detroit, to learn more.