Do you ever find yourself wondering, Why do my legs hurt at night? Perhaps they generally feel sore and achy when you are trying to sleep. Or maybe you experience sudden, sharp leg cramps that wake you up in the middle of the night. While there are many possible explanations for leg pain at night, the presence of varicose veins is a common one.
Many people don’t realize that varicose veins are not just a cosmetic issue. These twisted, swollen, and unsightly veins can lead to significant pain and discomfort. Unfortunately, leg pain due to varicose veins can ultimately affect your quality of sleep.
Varicose veins are also a sign of underlying vein disease, or venous insufficiency. Vein disease occurs when vein valves, usually in your lower extremities, begin to malfunction and cause blood to pool. As a result, you may notice pain, swelling, heaviness, and unusual sensations like itching or burning in your legs. All of these symptoms can worsen at night, particularly after an active day on your feet.
For some, venous insufficiency can lead to dangerous health issues like blood clots and venous ulcers (open, non-healing wounds). Others may suffer from chronic Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), which involves the uncontrollable urge to move the legs around. Symptoms of RLS also tend to worsen at night.
Common symptoms of vein disease include:
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
- Tired, aching legs
- Burning in the calf or thigh
- Leg pain that feels better when you walk or raise your legs
- Itchy, dry skin
- Numbness or tingling sensation
- Difficulty standing for long periods
- Non-healing wounds on your legs
- Leg pain at night
The first step toward finding relief for aching legs is to find out what is behind your pain and discomfort. If vein disease is the cause,the experts at USA Vein Clinics can guide you through your treatment options. Here’s everything you need to know about sore legs and what to do about varicose vein leg pain at night.
What Causes Leg Pain at Night?
The best way to accurately answer that question is to visit your doctor. They can review your symptoms, perform an examination, and order imaging tests like an ultrasound or MRI. Generally speaking, a proper medical diagnosis is key to finding an effective treatment.
Some potential causes of leg pain at night include:
If you’ve been especially active during the day, you may be more likely to develop sore legs at night. Leg elevation, stretching, massage, soaking in a hot tub, and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen or Naproxen may help. Occasional pain that can be explained in this way is likely nothing to be concerned about.
On the reverse side, you may spend your days standing or sitting for prolonged periods. Unfortunately, this ongoing lack of activity can also result in aching legs later on. When stuck in one place throughout the day, be sure to take frequent breaks to get moving. We suggest walking around whenever possible. If this isn’t an option, you can exercise in place. Try ankle circles, calf raises, and leg stretches. Elevating your legs may also be beneficial.
We want you to be aware that excess standing or sitting can put you at increased risk for vein disease.
An Underlying Medical Condition
Many health issues can cause leg pain at night. Some of these include pregnancy, neurological issues, blood clots, arthritis, injury, infection, and vascular disease. If you experience ongoing leg pain, please contact your doctor as soon as possible. Some potential causes, such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), can be life-threatening and require immediate emergency attention.
What to Do When Varicose Veins Cause Leg Pain at Night
If symptomatic varicose veins are impacting your sleep, there are some things you can try that may help. To relieve your leg pain, we recommend that you:
- Elevate your legs at the end of the day
- Sleep with your feet raised on a pillow or two
- Avoid prolonged periods of sitting or standing
- Move around more throughout the day
- Follow a regular exercise program
- Lose any excess weight
- Manage other health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes
- Consider treating the root source of your aching legs, your varicose veins
Although some of these options may temporarily alleviate your symptoms, only varicose vein treatment has the potential to eliminate them.
Contact USA Vein Clinics for Varicose Vein Treatment
Instead of living in pain with aching legs, we suggest that you turn to the experts for help. At USA Vein Clinics, our vein specialists care about your overall vein health. We are readily available to develop an individualized plan of care for painful varicose veins.
Your plan may include one or more of our effective, minimally-invasive, office-based varicose vein treatments:
- Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT)
- Varithena Vein Treatment
- Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy
If you’re avoiding the doctor because you fear a painful surgical solution, we’d like to set your mind at ease. Vein surgery is rarely necessary. Instead, our advanced vein procedures aim to collapse malfunctioning veins and divert blood flow to healthy, surrounding ones. Over time, the diseased veins are fully absorbed by the body while painful symptoms are reduced or disappear entirely.
Vein treatment typically takes only 15 to 30 minutes and is generally covered by major insurance plans. Even better, you can leave immediately afterward and return to most normal activities. After varicose vein treatment, we believe that you will enjoy more peaceful, pain-free, and restful nights. To discover some much-needed relief for your sore legs at night, we invite you to schedule an appointment today.
For more information on the development of varicose veins, please see our popular blog post, What Causes Varicose Veins?