Protruding Veins

  1. Mentallic

    Mentallic 3,684
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    I went into an 800m running competition yesterday and after pushing myself much harder than I do in training as shown by my new personal best being 8 seconds faster now (it must be due to psychological effects, the crowd, idea of competition etc.) and just after the race I realized that two symmetrical veins (one on each leg) on the inner-sides of my calves have protruded which otherwise I had never been able to see before.
    So I'm going to have to conclude that it was from pushing myself in the event. But this sounds pretty ridiculous to me because I've competed before and trained aplenty and there hasn't been any sign of gradual protrusion. It was basically all of a sudden.

    Now, a day later, the veins have submerged themselves, possibly never to be seen again... or until the next event?

    I'm curious as to why these veins are popping up and what the cause/effects might be.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. HallsofIvy

    HallsofIvy 40,308
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Sounds to me like you had pushed you blood pressure up sharply. And, since these were in your legs, most likely it had to do with blood pressure increasing in your legs especially, perhaps from the extra work they were doing.
     
  4. Mentallic

    Mentallic 3,684
    Homework Helper

    Ahh this would be my first encounter with blood pressure issues in that case.
    I don't know much about it, but I'm guessing the pressure corresponds with the rate at which my heart is pumping? Would the protrusions be because of a sudden sharp increase because at some point in the race I might've pushed extra hard, or would it be because of the longer period of steadily high pressure over the entire race?

    This thought just occurred to me as I was trying to explain to myself why it would be in my legs only. Since I was running, which obviously takes a larger toll on my legs than any other part of my body, does my body react accordingly and redistribute more blood towards my legs? I didn't think this would be possible, as the heart can only pump outwards, without direction; but you never know, the human body is quite a magnificent creature :smile:

    Are there any benefits or consequences in the short/long term for these sudden bursts in blood pressure?
     
  5. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    I'd say it was just built up pressure/water retention, I wouldn't worry about it unless it becomes frequent and causes discomfort. The legs and veins tend to swell because of fluid retention, but ususally will go back to normal. See a doctor if the condition persists.
     
  6. Mentallic

    Mentallic 3,684
    Homework Helper

    Why does fluid build up in the legs during intense running?

    From what I've seen, high level runners have these visible veins in their legs consistently. During every day activity it is clearly visible, and these runners don't seen to be that kind of 'veiny people'. And no, there doesn't seem to be any discomfort accomodating with this peculiar condition.
     
  7. Mentallic

    Mentallic 3,684
    Homework Helper

    Ahh awesome thanks for that :smile:

    But now I'm curious as to how the heart pumps differently to be able to get more of the blood supply to the legs and sacrifice some of the blood from the other areas in the body. I do feel a bit light-headed and can't think very straight, so I'm assuming not as much blood is getting to my head.
     
  8. Being light headed may be because of your blood pressure being lower.
    When your vessels dilate that causes more space inside your blood vessels and with the same amount of blood in your body; the blood pressure will drop.
    I would guess that the solution to this would be to drink lots of water or Gatorade type drink. The more hydrated your body is the less likely your blood pressure will drop.
    I am not a medical person but I have had medical problems that made me aware of this.
     
  9. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,266
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Except veins don't supply blood, they drain it.

    In the extremities, the compression of the muscles against the deeper veins with each contraction helps to push the blood against gravity to return it to the heart. These deep veins have communicating veins with some of the more superficial veins, which will catch some of the "overflow" if the exertion is really pushing a lot of blood out of deeper veins.

    From the location described, you were probably seeing the great saphenous vein, which is one that has communications with deeper veins.

    I would advise caution, though, in that forcing blood into that vein to the point of it being so prominent is also the type of process that can damage the valves in the veins (basically, overloading them with back pressure), and leads to varicose veins.

    The other thing to be careful about is if you also experienced pain in your calves. That level of exertion can lead to mild or chronic compartment syndromes, in which the muscles are swelling and in addition to compressing the veins to shunt blood into the more superficial veins, can also compress nerves and arteries leading to the foot. If you get any sort of numbness or tingling in your feet, or your feet get very cold, when you feel pain in your calves, ice down your legs and see a doctor. This is probably not what you're experiencing, but if you're pushing yourself harder and starting to train harder, it's something to be aware of so you don't cause yourself long-term injury. (Edit: Just want to note that this probably wouldn't have even come to mind if I hadn't just posted yesterday about compartment syndrome in another thread. Since you describe the problem as going away by the next day, this is probably not the case in your situation, just something to know about since runners do have problems with this.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2009
  10. Mentallic

    Mentallic 3,684
    Homework Helper

    How so?


    Moonbear, thanks for the warnings, I'll try to avoid over-doing it :smile:
    I've been feeling pain in my calves since I started running 3 months ago because I never give them the chance to recover. So I don't think I should watch out for these pains, as I won't know what it's from - lactic acid or vein problems.
     
  11. leaning out and losing subcutaneous fat also makes veins more prominent
     
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