The relationships between occupational characteristics and symptoms of varicose veins and nocturnal leg cramps and their gender differences were explored in a Korean population. The study population was 2165 workers from various occupations (55.6% female). Multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted to reveal factors related to symptoms of varicose veins and nocturnal leg cramps. The prevalence of varicose veins and nocturnal leg cramps was higher among women than men. The characteristics of standing work were different according to gender. In gender stratified analysis, the odds ratio of varicose veins was significantly high for prolonged standing for male and female workers. However, the odds ratio of nocturnal leg cramps was only significant among prolonged standing male workers. The models including gender, prolonged standing and occupations in this order presented that gender is not significantly associated with varicose veins after occupations were added to the model. Prolonged standing at work may be a more important risk factor for varicose veins and nocturnal leg cramps than biological differences between women and men. Therefore, effective interventions to interrupt or reduce prolonged standing at work should be implemented for the prevention of varicose veins and nocturnal leg cramps.
Practitioner summary: This paper shows associations between occupational characteristics and symptoms of varicose veins and nocturnal leg cramps and their gender differences. These findings will contribute to knowledge of gender-specific occupational risk factors for symptoms in the distal lower extremities.