If you have recently undergone radiofrequency ablation for varicose vein treatment, you may wonder what form of exercise is safe to do while in the healing process. This article will cover five of the safest exercises and activities to avoid to promote healing, reduce swelling, and minimize pain and discomfort.
Is It Safe to Exercise After RF Ablation Treatment?
Many people are understandably hesitant to begin exercising or training programs after undergoing a vein procedure. Whether or not it is safe to exercise will depend on your circumstances, how extensive the treatment is, and your level of physical activity.
Some will feel little to no pain after vein treatment, while others may compromise their healing if they do too much, too soon. It's always best to speak with your doctor to determine what exercises and activities are safest after vein treatment. Your doctor will be able to give you specific recommendations based on your unique needs.
When Can You Begin Exercise After Radiofrequency Ablation?
After varicose vein treatment, it is best to avoid any strenuous exercise or activity that puts too much strain on your legs for at least two to three weeks.
Many athletic or active patients are concerned about exercise after vein treatment. If you are physically active in your daily life, you may begin light, low-impact activities such as walking or another light exercise 24 hours after treatment.
Light exercise can help promote the healing process by increasing blood flow and preventing possible complications, such as the formation of blood clots. Keep scrolling to learn what types of exercise are safe after varicose treatment.
How Long Can You Exercise After Radiofrequency Ablation?
The amount of time you can exercise after vein treatment will depend on a few different factors. These include the severity of your condition, the extent of the treatment received, and whether you are engaged in a regular exercise routine.
It is essential to listen to your body and take things slowly at first if you want to start an exercise routine or training program. Be sure to wear compression stockings during and after exercise. If you experience any pain or discomfort, stop exercising and consult your doctor.
What Are The Risks and Benefits of Exercise After RF Ablation?
Exercise is generally considered safe after radiofrequency ablation. However, you should be aware of a few precautions and risks when you exercise after varicose vein treatment. Strenuous exercise, such as weight lifting and heavy lifting, may put undue strain on the treated area and lead to complications such as bruising, swelling, bleeding, or even damage to the treated blood vessel and cause it to burst.
Despite these risks, there are many reasons to start exercising after radiofrequency ablation treatment. Moderate exercise can help speed up the healing process, reduce swelling and inflammation, improve blood circulation, and prevent new varicose veins from developing. Exercise can also prevent the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a potentially dangerous, life-threatening condition in which a blood clot forms in the body's deep veins.
What Types of Exercises Are Best After Radiofrequency Ablation?
Several types of exercises can be beneficial after radiofrequency ablation for varicose veins. Here are five activities you can do for at least 24 hours after the treatment, and each of these exercises can help increase blood flow and speed healing in the treated area.
Walking is a great way to get started with exercising after radiofrequency ablation. It is gentle, low-impact, and easy to do almost anywhere. Start by walking for 20-30 minutes each day at a moderate pace. You can gradually increase the time and distance as you feel more comfortable.
After radiofrequency ablation, cycling is another excellent option to keep you fit and prevent blood clots from forming. It's a little more demanding than walking but still low impact while allowing you to control the pace. Begin by cycling for 20-30 minutes each day at a moderate intensity. You may gradually extend the time and distance as you become more comfortable.
Yoga is a wonderful exercise that can promote the healing process by increasing flexibility and blood flow. There are many yoga classes available, so find one right for you and your fitness level. If necessary, start with a beginner class and work your way up as you get stronger. It's important to note that yoga taught in heated rooms is not recommended until you are fully healed and have spoken to your doctor.
Pilates is another form of exercise that can be beneficial after radiofrequency ablation. Pilates can help improve your flexibility, strengthen the muscles around the treated area, and reduce post-treatment pain and swelling. There are many different types of Pilates classes available, so find one that's right for your fitness level and goals.
5. Stationary Bike
Apart from helping healthy weight management, stationary bike riding is another low-impact exercise that may help improve calf muscle strength and increase blood flow in your legs after radiofrequency ablation treatment for varicose veins.
In addition to the five exercises reviewed above, there are additional steps you can take to help your legs heal after radiofrequency ablation. These include:
- Wear post-procedural compression stockings for at least seven days to reduce pain and swelling.
- Keep your legs elevated while sitting or sleeping for the first 24 hours post-procedure to minimize swelling.
What Activities You Should Avoid After Radiofrequency Ablation?
Now that you are familiar with safe exercises post-radiofrequency ablation, you need to know some of the activities you should avoid after varicose vein surgery to help the healing process go faster and for optimal results. The following are activities you should avoid:
- Sitting or standing for long periods: It is important to avoid sitting or standing for long periods for the first week after your procedure. This will help prevent any further swelling in the treated area.
- Swimming: You should avoid swimming for at least two weeks after your procedure. This allows the treated area to heal and prevent any infection.
- Avoid strenuous activity: Strenuous activity, such as running or lifting heavy weights, can pressure the treatment area and disrupt blood flow. Avoid these activities for at least two weeks to allow your veins to heal correctly.
- No alcohol: Alcohol can thin your blood and increase the risk of bleeding. It is best to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages for at least 48 hours after your procedure.
- Avoid Driving: Driving is not recommended immediately after the procedure as it may be challenging to sit still for long periods. Have someone else drive you home from the procedure and take it easy for the rest of the day.
- Don't wear tight clothing around the treatment area: Tight clothing can irritate the treated area and cause discomfort. Wear loose, comfortable clothing to allow your skin to breathe and avoid any irritation.
- Avoid crossing your legs: Crossing your legs can put pressure on the treated area and disrupt blood flow. Try to keep your legs uncrossed as much as possible to prevent this from happening.
- High heels: Avoid wearing high heels immediately after your procedure. Instead, opt for flats or comfortable shoes that will not lessen the pressure on the treated area.
- Hot baths: Avoid taking hot baths or using a sauna for at least two weeks after your procedure. This is to prevent any further swelling in the treated area.
- Avoid hot yoga: Hot yoga can thin your blood and increase the risk of bleeding. It is best to avoid participating in any hot yoga classes at least a week after your procedure.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to recover from vein ablation?
Most people recover quickly from vein ablation quickly and can resume normal activities. The procedure is typically an outpatient procedure, which means you can go home the same day. Recovery times vary from person to person but are usually pretty short. For example, some people may only take a few days to feel back to normal, while others may take two weeks.
How long does pain relief last from radiofrequency ablation?
The pain relief experienced from RF ablation can be immediate, or it may take several days to feel the full effects. The time frame for pain relief lasts depends on several factors, including the type and location of the treated nerve and the individual's response to the procedure. However, most people generally experience pain relief at least six months after RF ablation. Some people may even experience long-term or permanent pain relief from this procedure. However, additional RF ablation treatments are an option if your pain returns.
Can varicose veins come back after RF ablation?
Yes, varicose veins can come back after ablation. However, the chances of this happening are relatively low. If your varicose veins do come back, likely, they will not be as severe as they were before and before treatment. Several factors can contribute to the recurrence of varicose veins following RF ablation. These include:
- Inadequate treatment: If the underlying cause of the varicose veins is not properly addressed, they may return.
- Lack of follow-up care: It is essential to follow all post-treatment instructions and attend scheduled follow-up appointments. Failure to do so may increase the risk of recurrence.
- Weight gain: If you gain weight after treatment, this may put additional pressure on the veins and cause them to become varicose again.
- Pregnancy: Pregnancy can often cause varicose veins to develop or worsen. If you become pregnant after having an ablation, there is a chance that the veins will return.
Is radiofrequency ablation safe?
There is always a risk of complications with any medical procedure, but radiofrequency ablation is generally considered safe. The most common complication is bruising or pain at the treatment site. More severe complications are rare but can include skin burns, blood clots, and nerve damage.
It's best to understand the safest exercises to perform if you are one of the many who have undergone radiofrequency ablation to treat your varicose veins. Knowing the appropriate activities to do and what to avoid after treatment will help to promote your healing and reduce swelling and pain.
Dr. Ryan Jones is a board-certified vascular surgeon with extensive experience performing radiofrequency ablation. Contact Vein Envy today to schedule a consult with Dr. Jones to help reduce your risk of complications and develop an individualized treatment plan that will help ensure a successful outcome.