How to enjoy summer with varicose veins

Woman at ocean

Summer fun days are here, and it’s time to get out in the warm San Diego sun.

The legs of those who live with varicose veins might feel achier and more uncomfortable. Even though the valves in your veins might struggle a little to keep up with your activities in the heat, that doesn’t mean you have to skip summer activities. At San Diego Vein Institute we also understand that some of our patients feel embarrassed about the appearance of their varicose veins, especially during the summer. However, it is important to be active.

Let’s discuss some summer activities that are good for the mind, body and varicose veins.


Walking tops the San Diego Vein Institute’s list of great exercise for varicose vein sufferers. Whether you enjoy walking around the neighborhood, strolling on the beach or hiking in a nearby nature preserve, walking is low impact and builds leg muscle. Strong leg muscles support the venous structure of the lower body. This in turn reduces pressure in the legs. The result is improved circulation and feeling better overall.


Swimming benefits those living with varicose veins in many ways. Cold temperatures cause blood vessels to shrink, which is why cooling down the legs relieves varicose vein pain, reduces swelling and soothes leg cramps. The feeling of weightlessness is relaxing and minimizes pain associated with protruding varicose veins. Plus, swimming builds lower leg muscle, especially the calves. Like walking, swimming is low impact and puts no stress on your joints.

One word of caution. Watch how much time you spend in the hot tub. The hot water can worsen varicose vein pain and increase cramping.


Riding bikes and cycling are excellent low-impact activities that build leg muscles and promote blood circulation in the lower body. San Diego offers a variety of places for leisure biking such as the paved bike path at Lake Miramar. Don’t own a bike? Rent one! Popular spots like La Jolla have bike shops that rent cycles for the day. Be sure to grab a map of the La Jolla Bike Tour. Pedal past the La Jolla Cove or Windansea or make your way around the Pacific Beach Boardwalk.


Moving your calf muscles just a few minutes each day can relieve pain. Moving the calf muscles helps to circulate the blood back to your heart instead of pooling in your legs and feet. While standing or sitting at your desk flex your feet frequently and change positions every 30 minutes when you are sitting or standing for long periods. Move your body as much as possible. If you sit for most of the day, get up and take a quick walk around the office. If you stand most of the day, find time to sit down and elevate your legs.


Summer is meant for rest and relaxation. Hang out on the patio and elevating your legs and feet, particularly after a busy day, to encourage healthy circulation and rest your lower legs.

If varicose veins are keeping you from feeling or looking your best, San Diego Vein Institute is here to help. Dr. Van Cheng is a Harvard University educated medical doctor who specializes in treating venous concerns. Dr. Cheng is located at 336 Encinitas Boulevard, Suite 130, Encinitas, CA 92024. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (760) 944-9263 or visit