Why Are Varicose Veins Found Primarily In Legs?


Varicose veins in the legs are a very common medical disorder. However, it is not considered severe.

While varicose veins can occur in many parts of the body, they usually occur in the legs. This is why when we think of varicose veins, we immediately imagine bluish-purple bulging veins in the legs. 

What Are Varicose Veins?  

Varicose veins are damaged veins and are therefore unable to function correctly or as efficiently as before. 

Varicose veins can be seen just under the skin’s surface and are often swollen, raised, and twisted. They may or may not be painful. 

Why Do Varicose Veins Commonly Occur In The Legs?

The arteries are vessels that transport oxygenated blood from the heart to various body parts. With every beat, the heart acts as a pump that pushes the blood, making it reach all the body parts easily and quickly. 

Our veins carry deoxygenated blood from various body parts back to the heart. While our veins do not have the assistance of a central pump that works round the clock, they do contain tiny valves at regular intervals that open and close, preventing the blood from flowing backward. 

varicose veins

While there are many reasons why our leg veins are more susceptible to turning varicose as compared to other veins in our body, the most plausible reasons are:

Veins In Your Legs Are Farther Away From Your Heart

For starters, your arms and the rest of your body are a lot closer to your heart than your legs. So, the veins in your legs have one disadvantage – they’re further away. As a result, they need to work harder and longer for the blood to return to the heart.

Gravity Puts Additional Pressure On Our Leg Veins

The veins in our legs need to work against the pull of gravity to carry our blood upwards through the body and back to the heart. Unfortunately, this puts additional pressure on the valves, making them more prone to weakness and damage. 

If the valves in our veins do not function properly, it can result in ‘reflux’ – This means that blood can start flowing back and ‘pooling’ in the lower legs. Ultimately causing venous insufficiency and consequently varicose veins. 

Your Legs Are Most Affected By A Sedentary Lifestyle

As we walk, our calf muscles contract. These contractions help the veins in our legs pump blood up towards our heart. 

When we sit in the same position for an extended period, our calf muscles stay inactive, leaving our veins to do the job alone. This puts them at a higher risk of becoming weak and damaged. 

One of the major causes of developing varicose veins is a sedentary lifestyle. 

When you sit or stand for long periods, your leg muscles don’t contract as often as they should, making it difficult for your blood to return to the heart.

For example, if you have a desk job that requires you to sit for 8-9 hours a day. Throughout the day, your arms and fingers will move, but your legs will remain still. That is the reason why varicose veins are more commonly found in legs.


These three are the main factors why varicose veins are found in the legs. The varicose vein is a common problem, and if you are suffering from severe symptoms, your doctor can advise you on how to proceed with the treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1 Why are varicose veins common in legs?

Veins that are twisted and swollen are known as varicose veins. These most commonly occur in the legs because the veins in the legs need to work much harder to push blood back up to the heart than any other vein in your body. Lack of movement and a sedentary lifestyle increase this risk even more. 

Q.2 What is the root cause of varicose veins?

Varicose veins are caused by a condition known as superficial or chronic venous insufficiency. Tiny valves in your veins normally open and close to allow blood to flow to your heart. This turns your veins into a one-way street, preventing any backflow. If your veins do not function correctly, it is known as venous insufficiency. This causes swelling and discomfort an increase in pressure, and the appearance of bulging veins.


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