Crossing your legs & Wearing heels – Do they really cause vein issues?

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High Heels

High HeelsGeneration after generation the warning has been passed down by women: “If you wear heels all the time and sit with your legs crossed, you will get spider and varicose veins.”


The question becomes – is this the truth or just an old wives tale?


Vascular surgeons looked at these two common behaviors and were surprised with what they found.

Crossing your legs: The motion of crossing your legs does, in and of itself, not cause venous issues. It can, however, contribute to the problem. When the legs are crossed it makes it more difficult for blood to flow and leave the leg as the pressure of the weight can interfere with the bloods path to the heart. This puts a strain on the valves inside of the veins of the legs. Over time it can have an affect on their ability to function.

Wearing high heels: In a study where women walked on a treadmill both in heels and in flat shoes, the calf muscles contracted less in the women dressed in high heels. This means less blood is pushed out of the leg without the full contraction. The result is a pressure increase and more stress on the valves. The conclusion was that yes, wearing high heels on a regular basis can contribute to venous deficiency and vein disease.


Suggestion: It is unreasonable to expect women to stop sitting cross-legged or to cease wearing heels altogether. Just be aware. Try to limit the number of days or hours per week in high heels. Make an effort to stretch your calf muscles several times throughout the time you have them on to ensure proper blood flow. If you sit at a desk, get up every hour and flex and stretch. If possible remove your shoes beneath the desk while you work.


If you are already experiencing issues: 

  • throbbing
  • aching
  • cramping
  • heaviness
  • fatigue
  • tiredness
  • restlessness
  • burning
  • swelling
  • discoloration
  • ulcers
  • varicose veins
  • spider veins

For more information on vein issues please contact West Florida Vein Center, Tampa’s leading vein treatment center, for a consultation. They can be reached by calling 727-712-3233 or going to

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Tampa Vein Specialists

No one needs to suffer from untreated varicose vein disease anymore. In addition, with today's favorable insurance coverage, the procedures are even more accessible. If you have a vein problem, you need Dr. Zuzga and West Florida Vein Center!


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