Skip to main content

Why Do My Legs Feel So Heavy in the Morning?

Aching legs, stiffness, and a heavy feeling aren't uncommon, especially as you age. But you shouldn't wake up every day feeling like your legs weigh 100 pounds each.

Leg heaviness is a symptom you shouldn't ignore, as it could indicate your veins aren't working correctly. Venous insufficiency is a real problem that leads to more complications than just leg heaviness.

If you're tired of feeling like your legs don't seem to work in the morning, our team at the Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute can help.

Dr. Hesham Fakhri and Dr. Octavio Cosme are two expert cardiologists offering vein therapies and heart treatments to correct venous insufficiency and peripheral artery disease.

What causes morning leg heaviness?

Your legs hold you up all day, and they take a lot of wear-and-tear over the years. Many people live with achy legs and painful joints, but it's not as common to wake up with heavy legs in the morning.

Leg heaviness isn't usually a sign of a hard workout the day before or an especially grueling day on your feet at work. It's often a symptom of a bigger problem with the circulatory system in the body.

Many things can lead to leg heaviness, but three of the most common conditions we suspect include:

Varicose veins

Varicose veins are enlarged, weakened veins that allow blood to pool. They occur for various reasons, including obesity, pregnancy, and standing for long periods.

The telltale signs of varicose veins are large, visible, bumpy veins you can see in your legs. They contribute to that heavy feeling in your legs at any time of the day, including the morning.

Venous insufficiency

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is another issue that leads to heavy, achy legs, especially in the morning. If you have CVI, the valves in your legs weaken, allowing blood to pool in your lower legs.

Standing for extended periods makes it difficult for the veins to push blood up against gravity and back to the heart. CVI occurs in people who stand all day for work, are overweight, or who live a sedentary lifestyle.

Peripheral artery disease

Another condition that affects blood flow in your legs is peripheral artery disease (PAD). It's a type of cardiovascular disease that restricts blood flow due to fatty deposits forming on the arterial walls.

Although PAD can affect any of the arteries in the body, it often affects the legs, leading to heaviness, aching, and cramping. You're at risk for PAD if you smoke, have high cholesterol, or are living with diabetes.

Symptoms related to heavy legs

Leg heaviness in the morning is one of the most significant signs of venous insufficiency, varicose veins, and PAD, but it's not the only symptom. If you're experiencing leg heaviness, you may have other symptoms as well, including:

The symptoms you experience depend on the condition's severity and lifestyle. For instance, your symptoms may be worse if you stand most of the day, live a sedentary lifestyle, or are overweight.

Sometimes, symptoms are temporary, especially in women experiencing pregnancy and menopause. The symptoms may subside after the baby is born or when your hormones regulate after perimenopause.

When to see a doctor for leg heaviness

It's not always easy to know when enough is enough with leg heaviness; if it starts to interfere with your lifestyle, though, it's time to seek treatment. It's also a good idea to make an appointment when you have leg heaviness and other venous insufficiency symptoms.

Our team carefully evaluates your legs and symptoms to determine the next steps in care. Vascular ultrasounds give us a look at the veins in your legs and help us diagnose venous insufficiency.

We also evaluate peripheral artery disease, which often occurs alongside chronic venous insufficiency. Depending on the results, we provide customized treatment plans to reduce symptoms and prevent further complications.

Lifestyle changes are one way we manage venous insufficiency. If you're overweight, losing excess fat helps relieve pressure on your legs. We also suggest keeping your feet up when seated, and we may ask you to wear compression stockings to improve blood flow.

Sometimes, lifestyle changes aren't enough to stop the symptoms of venous insufficiency. In that case, we offer medications, endovenous ablation, and sclerotherapy as nonsurgical options for relief.

Surgical treatment may be necessary if lifestyle changes and nonsurgical treatments aren't enough to improve symptoms.

Call us at the Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute today to schedule a consultation at one of our Florida offices — Tampa, Wesley Chapel, or Sun City Center. You may also request a consultation using our online booking tool.

You Might Also Enjoy...

How to Minimize Scarring After a Deep Wound

How to Minimize Scarring After a Deep Wound

Any kind of injury that breaks the skin can result in a deep wound and an unattractive scar. But is there anything you can do to prevent scarring? Read on to discover tips and tricks to minimize the chances of scarring after a deep skin wound.

The Worst Foods for Your Heart

You’ve probably heard the expression "you are what you eat." It's often true, especially regarding your heart and unhealthy choices. Keep reading to discover the worst foods for heart health so you can avoid heart disease and other complications.

Why Does My Heart Feel Like It Skips a Beat?

Have you ever felt your heart skip a beat? Heart palpitations are scary, even though they don't always spell danger. Keep reading to learn what causes heart palpitations and when to seek treatment.