Treatment of Chronic Venous Disease

Heavy, Painful & Swollen Legs

Varicose Veins


Tired and Painful Legs at Work? Try These Relief Strategies

How to relieve painful heavy legs during the working day? 

Work is an inescapable part of our lives and most of us spend a considerable amount of time at our jobs. Whether we spend the majority of time sitting or standing up, it is quite common for the at the end of the day. Indeed, a sedentary lifestyle and “standing in place” for extended periods of time have both been identified as considerable risk factors, contributing to the development of chronic venous insufficiency.1

General inactivity, chained to our desks, stations, or counters, during much of the working week has become an undeniable part of modern living, growing more and more common with the development of technology. This increasing and often habitual sedentary behavior, can have profound and lasting negative effects on our overall health, heightening the risk of cardiovascular complications among other issues.2

In this article, we’ll tell you more about how to relieve heavy and painful legs at work, and what might be exacerbating the problem.

Swollen painful legs after work: What does that mean?

Whether you are on your feet all day for work or you have a job that requires you to spend large amounts of time seated at a desk, the feeling of swollen painful legs after work can be quite a regular occurence. However, if you start to feel discomfort frequently, it is important to pay special attention to the early warning signs that you might be suffering from some form of venous disease, a progressive disease that, without prevention or treatment, can quickly evolve into a more serious problem and impact the life of people suffering from it. If you often suffer from swollen painful legs, or you have noticed the recent development of varicose veins, you might be experiencing the first stages of chronic venous insuffiency.

It is the lack of movement for prolonged periods within these daily routines which has been identified as one of the root causes for an increase of pressure inside the veins. This is alongside other issues such as excess weight, leg surgery, or sudden trauma, and the development of blood clots.3

That’s why it is recommended to always keep an eye on your legs and general vein health, especially if your work requires you to spend large amounts of time fixed in the same position.

painful legs at work

How does standing or sitting all day at work cause chronic venous insufficiency?

When we spend large amounts of time in the same position, the movement of blood from the lower extremities (or legs) towards the heart can decrease, which can lead to more pressure in the veins and the pooling of blood.4

In a recent Brazialian study, it was noted that there was “a cumulative effect” for those who spent the working day sitting down, as the gravitational pressure was constant, leading to swollen and larger lower limbs by the end of their shifts.5 Another research study directly compared those working in both a seated and standing posture, and discovered noticeably higher levels of chronic venous disease (CVD) among those who spent the entire working day standing in the same position.6

Movement is of utmost importance when it comes to maintaining healthy veins and avoiding the progression of venous diseases and the appearance of varicose veins.

In that sense, sedentary lifestyles – together with prolonged sitting and standing at work – should both be considered as serious culprits when it comes to the development of severe chronic venous insuffiency.7

How does chronic venous insuffiency affect the working day?

Although each individual case can be different, and the symptoms may vary depending of the health of the veins, these are the most common symptoms that could be warning you that you might be suffering from chronic venous insuffiency at work:

  • Feeling of swelling in the lower limbs
  • The appearance of dilated capillaries on the legs
  • Suffering from varicose veins of the lower legs
  • Noticing skin discoloration
  • Suffering from ulcers in the lower legs
  • Constant feeling of heavy legs
  • Continous itching of the skin

Luckily, there are some tips, together with effective treatments and that can help you combat the symptoms of venous disease.

compression stockings for cvd

How to improve your leg and vein health at work

If you suffer from swollen legs at the end of the working day, there are a few tips you can follow to improve blood circulation in the legs.

  1. Switch constantly between sitting, standing, and walking. Whether your job requires you to spend large amounts of time sitting down or standing, it is important to continously switch positions to allow blood to circulate with more ease. When it comes to improving your vein health, the more you can be on the move, the better your blood flow will be.8
  2. Exercise regularly. Physical exercise can have a positive effect, especially those which increase movement, rotation, and flexibility of the ankle joint,9 which can lead directly to the strengthening of the muscle pump in the calf helping to reduce the progression and symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency.10
  3. Wear compression stockings. These are considered vital elements in the treatment and prevention of chronic venous disease.11 The reason is that they provide extra help to improve blood flow from the ankle upwards and can help decrease the swelling of the legs.12
  4. Follow a healthy diet. What we eat and drink to improve blood circulation can also play an important role to prevent painful heavy legs.
  5. Take regular breaks. Try to avoid staying in the same position for too long as much as is feasibly possible.

It is also highly recommended to consult your doctor about the possible benefits of venoactive drugs for the rapid treatment of chronic venous disease.

Explore the most commonly asked questions about chronic venous disease and their answers. Venous diseases are progressive affictions that need to be taken seriously to avoid the worsening of our health. With the increase of sedentary lifestyles in modern societies, it is very important to take your vein health seriously and take all available preventative measures.


  1. Elżbieta Łastowiecka-Moras (2021) Standing and sitting postures at work and symptoms of venous insufficiency – results from questionnaires and a Doppler ultrasound study, International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics, 27:4, 963-969, DOI: 10.1080/10803548.2020.1834232
  2. Dunstan DW, Howard B, Healy GN, Owen N. Too much sitting--a health hazard. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2012 Sep;97(3):368-76. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2012.05.020. Epub 2012 Jun 9. PMID: 22682948, from
  3. Lampe, Katherine E. MPT, CWS. Lower Extremity Chronic Venous Disease. Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal: September 2004 - Volume 15 - Issue 3 - p 13-22


  5. Quilici Belczak, Cleusa Ema; Pereira Godoy, José Maria; Seidel, Amélia Cristina; Neves Ramos, Rubiana; Quilici Belczak, Sergio; Caffaro, Roberto Augusto. Influence of prevalent occupational position during working day on occupational lower limb edema. Jornal Vascular Brasileiro, vol. 14, núm. 2, abril-junio, 2015, pp. 153-160. Sociedade Brasileira de Angiologia e de Cirurgia Vascular,São Paulo, Brasil, from

  6. Sudoł-Szopińska I, Bogdan A, Szopiński T, Panorska AK, Kołodziejczak M. Prevalence of chronic venous disorders among employees working in prolonged sitting and standing postures. Int J Occup Saf Ergon. 2011;17(2):165-73, from

  7. Eifell RK, Ashour HY, Heslop PS, Walker DJ, Lees TA. Association of 24-hour activity levels with the clinical severity of chronic venous disease. J Vasc Surg. 2006 Sep;44(3):580-587, from

  8. Dunstan, D.W., Dogra, S., Carter, S.E. et al. Sit less and move more for cardiovascular health: emerging insights and opportunities. Nat Rev Cardiol 18, 637–648 (2021), from

  9. Araujo DN, Ribeiro CT, Maciel AC, Bruno SS, Fregonezi GA, Dias FA. Physical exercise for the treatment of non-ulcerated chronic venous insufficiency. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Dec 3;12(12):CD010637, from

  10. Volpe, E.F.T., Resqueti, V.R., da Silva, A.A.M. et al. Supervised exercise protocol for lower limbs in subjects with chronic venous disease: an evaluator-blinded, randomized clinical trial. Trials 21, 414 (2020), from

  11. Raju S, Hollis K, Neglen P. Use of compression stockings in chronic venous disease: patient compliance and efficacy. Ann Vasc Surg. 2007 Nov;21(6):790-5, from

  12. How to Choose and Use Compression Stockings. (2015, June 30). WebMD. Retrieved September 19, 2022, from