Many of us are at risk of developing issues with our legs and feet. You may have experienced tired, aching legs or mild swelling from time to time. Over time these might develop into more serious conditions.
Venous disease is the main cause of over two-thirds of leg ulcers and some people are at a higher risk of developing complications with their legs and feet.
As we get older our leg health can deteriorate, putting increasing pressure on our circulatory system.
Being female or pregnant
Pregnancy can increase the odds of developing varicose veins by up to 82%*
A family history of venous disease
These conditions can be hereditary. Your risk of developing varicose veins and other leg conditions is increased if a close family member has the condition.
High body mass index (BMI)
Being overweight puts extra pressure on your veins, which means they have to work harder to send the blood back to your heart.
Occupational risk such as prolonged standing or sitting
Some research suggests jobs that require long periods of standing may increase your risk of getting varicose veins and other leg conditions.
Long periods of inactivity and the cabin pressure changes when flying can increase the chances of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Smoking decreases the blood flow to the legs and feet, and makes healing more difficult.
It’s important to always check your legs and feet for any skin changes such as varicose veins, spider veins or venous eczema, as well as checking for swollen ankles and tired achy legs.
Our common conditions section can help you identify if you have any symptoms.
If you recognise any of these signs and symptoms do seek advice from a health care professional.
*Ismail et al (2016)