Vein Treatment

how to massage varicose veins in legs

Do bulging varicose veins in your legs cause pain, swelling, or heaviness? Targeted massage techniques could help provide symptom relief. Learn safe, effective methods to self-massage varicose veins.

Bulging rope-like varicose veins develop when blood pools due to faulty valves in leg veins. Resulting in swelling, achiness, skin damage, and inflammation that negatively impact quality of life. And the discomfort tends to worsen over time if left untreated.

But did you know targeted massage on varicose veins in the legs can help improve symptoms? External gentle manipulations may allow stagnant blood to flow freely again, softening veins and alleviating local irritation.

A Guide to Massaging Varicose Veins in Legs

This guide covers practical instruction on safely massaging legs with varicose veins at home. Learn:

  • Mechanisms behind varicose vein formation
  • Self-massage techniques and strokes
  • Essential guidance to avoid risks or complications
  • Ways to incorporate massage into an overall management plan

Follow these steps below to see if self-massage could help soothe your varicose veins.

Varicose Vein Development and Common Symptoms

  • First, it helps to understand what mechanisms within veins commonly trigger varicosities. Veins contain a series of one-way valves designed to ensure blood flows toward your heart against gravity.
  • But if these valves grow faulty due to aging, genetics, or risk factors like obesity or prolonged standing, they no longer prevent backflow adequately. Blood then accumulates inside vessels, stretching them.
  • The resulting squiggly, swollen veins right under the skin feel tender and painful. They may also exhibit swelling, discoloration, areas of hardness, inflamed skin, leg cramping, heaviness, and throbbing or burning sensations.
  • Varicose veins usually develop gradually, getting worse over months or years. They frequently occur in the legs since lower body vessels must work so hard against gravity.
  • If you endure painful, protruding leg veins, self-massage could offer relief using methods taught in this guide. But please note this does not replace medical care from your doctor.

Self-Massage Techniques for Legs with Varicose Veins

When performed safely and appropriately, massaging varicose veins may encourage stagnant blood flow to resume its outward return journey. This then reduces swelling, pressure, irritation, and associated achiness.

Here are some effective self-massage techniques to try:

Light Stroking

Using the flat of your fingers, gently stroke skin over distended veins 5-10 times. Move centrally up vessels in the direction returning blood flows toward the heart. Repeat along the full visible length of each congested vein.


Apply light, lifting pressure on either side of enlarged veins using the pads of your thumbs and fingers. Slowly knead congested vessels lengthwise towards adjacent lymph nodes in your groin crease. Work in small sections applying 5-10 lifts over each portion of distended veins.

Compression and Release

Clasp your hands together sandwiching expanded veins between your palms. Use your body weight to gently lean forward into vessels, avoiding direct pressure on the skin. Hold light compression for 5-10 seconds. Release palms while maintaining contact, allowing vessels space to refill. Perform sequence 3-5 times per vein.

Cooling Massage

Cold temperature helps shrink swollen vessels and provides analgesic benefits. Wrap an ice pack or frozen gel pack in a thin towel. Apply for 5-10 minutes along the paths of distended varicose veins to reduce inflammation. Ensure the skin doesn’t get numb.

These simple techniques take just a few minutes daily. But perform self-massage cautiously following the safety measures outlined next.

Crucial Guidance to Massage Varicose Veins Safely

While self-massage offers a drug-free option to find varicose veins relief, improper technique risks further aggravating vessels or surrounding skin and nerves.

To avoid complications, heed these precautions:

  • Consult your doctor before massaging varicose veins or using compression stockings/wraps which pose risks for certain health conditions.
  • Take blood thinners, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, or supplements that thin blood. Don’t massage without medical clearance first.
  • Massage gently using only light to mild pressure to avoid vessel damage. Never rub skin roughly.
  • Only massage bare hands in the direction of the heart. Don’t use tools or devices without training.
  • Watch for warning signs like increased pain, swelling, or inflammation that signal when to stop touching irritated veins.
  • Elevate legs for 20 minutes after massage avoiding long periods of standing/sitting which worsen vein problems.
  • Stay well hydrated and supplement with antioxidants to support vein health.
  • Use topical Arnica gel/cream immediately after the massage to reduce bruising, pain, and inflammation.

Remember, never aggressively rub or squeeze dilated veins as this risks injuring vessels or dislodging blood clots. Self-massage should cause no sharp pain – just mild pressure. Stop if discomfort worsens or swelling increases.

Now that you know how to safely massage varicose veins yourself, learn how to integrate it into your overall treatment plan.

Incorporate Massage Alongside Other Varicose vein treatments

While beneficial, massaging varicose leg veins alone cannot reverse underlying dysfunction. Combine self-care techniques like massage with medical management advice from your doctor and vascular specialist.

Massage supports and enhances other varicose vein therapies like:

  • Prescription medications to improve blood flow, vein tone, and clot risks
  • Compression stockings promoting downward circulation
  • Injections (sclerotherapy) sealing damaged vessels
  • Vein ablation procedures that collapse dysfunctional veins
  • Topical gels with horse chestnut extract to strengthen vessels

During multi-session vein injections or ablation treatments, massage helps limit bruising and discomfort after procedures around injection sites.

Discuss adding conservative self-care approaches like massage to determine if they might help better control your varicose veins between doctor visits. But always get evaluated first before touching irritated veins yourself.


Key Takeaways for Self-Massaging Varicose Leg Veins Varicose veins result from defective valves inside leg vessels that normally ensure blood flows properly against gravity. When these valves fail, blood accumulates inside, stretching veins.

Gently massaging distended vessels can encourage static blood to resume flowing out. This then reduces swelling, pressure, pain, and inflammation.

Use safe self-massage techniques like:

  • Light stroking along veins’ length
  • Kneading vessels’ sides toward lymph nodes
  • Compression-and-release sequences
  • Cooling with wrapped ice packs

But take precautions and avoid aggressive handling of fragile varicose veins. Stop immediately if massage worsens symptoms.

While not curative alone, massage can support medical management between doctor visits – if performed cautiously under guidance.


My name is Selina, a medical specialist blogger helping people access treatment for 5+ years. Although blogging awhile, only recently deeply engaged. This past year my most productive, providing hospital reviews and info on symptoms, diagnoses and diseases. Also offer guidelines to help readers navigate healthcare. Goal to continue increased content pace to assist many. Aim to facilitate treatment and empower advocacy through writing.

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