Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a medical condition, where the veins cannot pump enough blood back to the heart, is a common problem, but there are many ways to treat it.

What is it about?
In addition to surgical procedures, there are more conservative measures such as compression stockings, weight loss, leg elevation, and local treatment of venous ulcers.

Since an individual’s gait (manner of walking) plays an important role in the function of leg veins, patients with painful venous ulcers should also be assessed to make sure that their gait pattern strikes a good balance between mobility and stability.

Causes
Some common causes of abnormal gait patterns include; weakness of different muscle groups, any condition that affects balance, and improper footwear such as open-backed sandals that cause the wearer to shuffle.

There have been no studies showing how extremely high heels affect varicose veins, but since they do affect the gait of the wearer, that would suggest a link between high heels and CVI. Gait testing can detect which of these are at the root of the problem, allowing for appropriate treatment.

Treatment
Treatment may include; gait training and strengthening of the lower extremities.
Providing a patient can participate in an exercise programme, exercise should be done with a compression garment in a place. This helps to improve venous return by assisting the calf muscle.

Comfortable, well-fitting shoes should be worn that will allow for a heel-to-toe walking pattern. The simple way to help a patient achieve this is to have them take the longest steps they can safely take.

Recommendations
Obviously this recommendation is for patients who can balance and have the ability to maintain single limb stance.
Some patients will require more exercise to strengthen muscles, improve their balance and increase their range of motion.

It is crucial that patients maintain proper form while walking and exercising.
Once the proper heel-to-toe gait is learnt, it is important that adequate walking occurs for at least 30 minutes a day to maximise the benefit.

As an added bonus, this will also improve overall health.

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