What Causes Heaviness & Fatigue in Legs and Feet?

Do your legs feel like they weigh a thousand pounds, especially after you’ve been standing for a while? Heaviness in legs can be caused by various things, but circulatory issues are among the most common. Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI), a disease in which blood collects and regresses through the veins, is one of the primary reasons people develop heaviness in the legs. Often coinciding with CVI, varicose veins and spider veins can also make the legs feel heavy. Deeper vascular issues, like Peripheral Artery Disease, may also be to blame. Some patients’ legs not only feel heavier, but also begin accumulating lumpy deposits of fat. This is typically caused by a less common disease like Lipedema, not a vascular disease. Click HERE for an assessment to determine what’s causing the heaviness in your legs.

Do your legs feel like they’re full of concrete? Are you exhausted by the end of the day? Here are some common causes and the best treatment for heaviness in legs.

Can Leg Heaviness be Caused by Vein Disease?

If your leg heaviness is accompanied by spider veins, varicose veins, or other symptoms like restlessness, swelling, fatigue, or hyperpigmentation, there’s a strong likelihood your vein health is compromised. CVI, a common vein disease that involves broken valves within veins, allows blood to pool in the vein, or travel backward. This causes excess blood pressure in the veins, and creates those bulging blood vessels and colorful spider veins at the surface of your skin. When your veins aren’t pumping blood efficiently, you might experience heaviness, aching, cramping, swelling, and restlessness that prevents you from relaxing without needing to move your legs.

Vein disease is underdiagnosed, since people often attribute the symptoms to other things like aging, obesity, or doing a tiring workout. But if your leg heaviness improves when you elevate your legs, or worsens when you’ve been sitting still, particularly if you have visibly damaged veins, visit our New Jersey vein specialists for a diagnosis. If your venous system is to blame, we alleviate leg heaviness in minutes at our state-of-the-art vein center.

What’s the Best Vein Treatment for Heaviness in Legs?

Treating vein-related heaviness in the legs is a quick and gentle process. Our vein doctors use innovative tools like Doppler Ultrasound and special catheters to locate and resolve the issue. We treat vein disease with minimally invasive vein treatments, including radiofrequency ablation (RFA, ClosureFast, VNUS Closure), sclerotherapy (Varithena), vein adhesives (VenaSeal), and dual-approach techniques (ClariVein).

Since our solutions are administered through needle-sized incisions, there is no scarring, hospitalization, or general anesthesia involved. Our patients can resume their typical routine immediately following the procedure. If you’re wondering how to reduce swelling in the feet and legs, or how to get rid of that frustrating heaviness in your legs, the answer is to visit our award-winning vein center in New Jersey.

What’s the Difference Between “Fat Legs” & Heavy Legs?

Some patients ask our doctors, “Why are my legs so fat?” when they’ve noticed a disproportionate increase in the size of their legs. Vein disease can cause the lower extremities to swell more than the rest of the body. Since leg veins have to pump blood to the heart against gravity, they’re more prone to valve failure and build-up of blood within the veins, causing swelling and heaviness in the legs. But this is not the same thing as accumulating fat in the legs, and it’s not what patients refer to as “fat legs.” Losing weight might help with vein-related swelling, since it can reduce the burden on your veins. However, swelling in the legs from vein disease is an accumulation of fluid, not fat.

Conversely, some patients who complain of “fat legs” do have deposits of fatty tissue accumulating in their legs, which is known as Lipedema disease, and it’s not caused by circulation. These patients might notice a different texture to their skin in the affected area- it might be softer, cool to the touch, or dimpled, like an orange peel. Read on to learn more about treating heavy legs from Lipedema.

Can Leg Heaviness Stem from Lipedema Disease?

Lipedema doesn’t involve the vascular system. Instead, it causes fat deposits to develop on the lower body, and sometimes on the arms. This disease makes your legs look heavier, in addition to feeling heavy. But instead of spider-like or bulging veins, you’ll notice lumpy areas or the appearance of cuffing around the wrists or ankles. Lipedema isn’t the same as vein-related swelling, since swelling from Lipedema doesn’t indent when you press on it. This disease is almost exclusive to women and is triggered by hormonal weight gain, as occurs during pregnancy, puberty, or menopause. One way to differentiate it from CVI, is that it’s typically symmetrical (appearing in both legs), whereas vein damage can occur in a single leg. It also commonly affects the arms, which isn’t the case for CVI.

Wondering How to Get Rid of Fat Deposits on Legs?

Lipedema cannot be treated simply by losing weight. Patients who try will often have disproportionate weight loss on their torsos, while retaining excess fat on the affected limbs. Some patients with Lipedema try CoolSculpting or liposuction. But there are gentler methods too, including compression therapy, decongestive therapy, exercise, and skin care to manage the disease and prevent it from getting worse. Get a proper diagnosis before trying anything to treat Lipedema.

Wondering How to Treat Swelling in Feet & Legs Too?

If you have heavy legs you might have swelling in the feet and legs too, if the heaviness stems from CVI. If you’re wondering how to get rid of swollen ankles fast, the good news is you can treat leg swelling and heaviness with a single procedure. Since both symptoms are often caused by the same source (a malfunctioning valve), our NJ vein doctors can close off the faulty pathway and alleviate both symptoms simultaneously.

Some patients ask us about DIY solutions for leg swelling, but it’s important to note that home remedies won’t cure vein disease. Start by seeking an accurate diagnosis. If you have a serious issue like DVT, Epsom salt baths and supplements could be dangerous for you. Medications like ibuprofen help with swelling in certain patients, but they’re dangerous for other patients, so always ask your vein doctor first. Our Harvard-trained vein specialists will suggest ways to manage symptoms at home. These might include losing weight, elevating your legs while at rest, changing positions frequently, or wearing doctor-selected compression stockings. But each patient’s medical history will determine the safety and efficacy of these measures.

Who Is the Best Doctor for Heaviness in Legs?

When your legs are heavy and tired, they really impede your life. Aching legs diminish your energy, productivity, and even your outlook on life. Don’t be sidelined by swelling or heaviness in your legs. Our cutting-edge NJ vein center offers vein treatments that are done in 30 minutes or less. Best of all, our entire team is board certified and Ivy League-trained, so we offer the latest and safest treatments for unhealthy veins.

Skip the cosmetic dermatology centers and beauty spas. Vein health is a precarious thing, so you want a vein expert who can look at the map of your veins and identify any blood clots, problematic connecting veins, and weakened valves before administering treatment. Only a qualified vein doctor can identify and resolve vein disease. Without doing so, any surface treatments are only temporary, since damaged veins will develop until the disease is addressed. Visit our team of Certified Diplomates for exceptional vein care today!