Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"is crossing one's legs bad?"
Is it true that crossing your legs damages your circulation and causes varicose veins? I've done it ever since I was a girl and I haven't had any trouble yet ? but I heard that it's bad for you and I want to play it safe. Is there any truth to that?
There is no evidence that crossing your legs causes varicose veins. Varicose veins is a common problem. Crossing your legs is a near universal practice.
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However, there is no reason to think the two are related. I encourage you to talk to your doctor about varicose veins if you feel you are at risk. Varicose veins is a condition where veins (the blood vessels that bring blood back from the extremities to the heart) become weak. These veins, when close to the skin, become knobby and windy--which gives the appearance of bulging veins or spider veins. The poor circulation can subsequently cause pain or inflammation in the area (in severe cases). What cases varicose veins? People think that putting pressure on the veins causes the problems...so that is why the thought that crossing legs can cause the problem. However, there is no evidence that this is true. The biggest factor determining varicose veins is probably genetics--your DNA makeup. Other factors are the levels of certain hormones in your blood--for example estrogen makes the veins weaker so pregnant women often get them. It is true that compression stalkings, keeping your legs elevated etc can help prevent progression of the varicose veins--so it is possible that avoiding crossing your legs if you have them would be helpful--but again there is no data to say this is true. Talk to your doctor if you have further questions or concerns.
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