Aching or heavy legs - Advice from experts
Normal blood circulation in the legs
In their normal state, arteries supply the body’s tissues and organs with essential substances for their healthy functioning, such as oxygen. Veins, on the other hand, return blood to the heart.
Blood pressure and the firmness of vein walls allow blood to flow from the lower to the upper portion of the legs. This blood flow through the veins and back up to the heart is called venous return. Valves, acting as small flaps, are positioned every 2 to 5 centimeters (0.8 to 2 inches) in the veins. These valves ensure that blood always flows in the same direction without ever “falling” back down the other way. The calf muscles and compression of the instep also play a role in blood flow, particularly when walking.