How to get rid of heavy legs

Why do your legs sometimes feel heavy and tired – or even hurt – in the summer? We explain the causes and give you tips so you can get back on your feet again.

28.06.2021 Lara Brunner

What are the causes of heavy legs?

It’s mostly women who suffer from heavy, aching legs and swollen feet in the summer heat. This is because the veins dilate in high temperatures. Circulation in the skin is improved as a result, which allows the body to release heat more efficiently. However, this can also cause the valves in the veins to stop working properly, preventing the blood from flowing back to the heart. If blood accumulates in the legs, a paralysing sensation can occur.

Another cause of heavy legs in the summer is that your body loses a lot of water when it’s warm. The blood becomes more viscous and the flow of blood slows. This can also lead to blood pooling and to discomfort. 

What helps against heavy legs?

Contrast showers

Starting at your feet, guide the water stream upwards along the outer side of your leg. Spray the water stream on your groin area for a while, and then shower down the inside of your leg. Start with warm water and then repeat the process with cold water. This gets your circulation going, regulates your blood flow and increases the tension in the blood vessels. How to get rid of heavy legs.

Put your legs up

Put your legs up or massage your feet in the direction of your heart. This relieves the veins.

Medicinal plants

Herbal medicine (phytotherapy) offers many useful natural remedies. The following medicinal plants are especially recommended for problems with veins:

  • Red vine leaves
  • Horse chestnut
  • Butcher’s broom
More information about herbal medicine Search for recognised naturopaths

Stay hydrated

Adults should drink an average of two to three litres of fluids a day, preferably water or refreshing herbal teas. This allows the blood to circulate better and prevents heavy legs.

Vein walking

Movement is key to alleviating or even preventing vein disorders. Nordic walking, cycling and swimming in water no warmer than 28oC are especially recommended. “Vein walking” is also effective. Walking at a brisk pace for 20–30 minutes a day stimulates the metabolism and thus also strengthens the veins.

Flat shoes

Do not wear shoes with a heel higher than four centimetres. Wearing flat shoes or being barefoot are the only ways to ensure the feet roll optimally from the heel to the tip of the toes when walking. This means the calf muscles are sufficiently active to prevent blood pooling. Make sure that your shoes, tights and trousers are not too tight to allow the blood to flow back unhindered.

Support stockings

For serious vein problems and chronic heavy legs, compression stockings can help. Consult a medical professional to find out how to use them properly.

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