Blog

Posts for tag: compression socks

    For many people, swollen feet and ankles after a long day at work are nothing new, but for someone suffering from Venous Insufficiency, swelling can be painful and dangerous. Venous Insufficiency refers to a valve malfunction in the veins of the legs that inhibits upward movement of blood. If left untreated, it can lead to varicose veins and leg ulcers.

READ MORE: Venous Insufficiency

Treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms and revitalizing the circulatory system. For most people this will involve losing weight, quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. All of these actions help to strengthen your heart and keep your blood flowing properly. Avoid sitting or standing for too long so that blood does not pool in the legs. If you are sitting, elevate your calves, ankles, and feet above the level of your thighs; when lying down, keep them above the level of your heart.

There are no medications to treat venous insufficiency, but antibiotics may be needed to treat skin infections. Practicing good skin hygiene can help avoid additional complications. Compression stockings are considered the most effective treatment for relieving swelling and pain. Store bought compression socks may help many people, but those living with venous insufficiency require socks with higher compression strengths and graduated designs that start tightest at the ankle and lessen power as they go up the leg.

Do not use elastic bandages or wraps as these may block circulation rather than assisting it. Avoid stockings or socks that bunch up and cut off blood flow and be sure to wash and dry them after each use to keep skin healthy and infection free. Treating the secondary factors of this disease is key to continued health.

READ MORE: Two Sides of Circulation

If you have significant swelling in the feet and ankles, a feeling of heaviness in your legs, or see increasing numbers of varicose veins call the FAAWC today. Early diagnosis and treatment can help keep you healthy and active.

 

Let’s face it, our veins are really important and when they aren’t flowing quite right it can cause all sorts of problems. Today we’re going to look at venous insufficiency, venous stasis ulcers, and edema (swelling) of the legs. Venous insufficiency is a condition cause by weakened valves in the veins of the legs. Normally, our veins pump blood back up to the heart, miraculously fighting gravity. But when the valves that pump our blood are damaged, either from a simple malfunction or complications from blood clots, they can’t get the blood back up to where it needs to be.

Factors that can contribute to venous insufficiency include advanced age, being female, obesity, sitting or standing for long periods of time, and even simply being tall. The symptoms are much the same as when we talked about artery diseases last week: pain in the legs when standing, a feeling of heaviness or cramping, swelling and redness, and wounds on the legs that won’t heal.

One type of wound that may occur is a venous stasis ulcer. These manifest on the skin of the legs, typically above the ankle and below the calf muscle. Because the blood is not moving through your legs, it pools in your veins and some fluid may leak out into surrounding tissues. The skin in these areas will turn dark red or purple and may become dry, thick, and itchy. Finally, an ulcer will develop.

If you have any symptoms of a venous stasis ulcer, call your podiatrist immediately. They may be able to help prevent an ulcer from forming or treat it before it becomes too large or infected. Your podiatrist can also help determine if your ulcer is a venous, arterial, or neuropathic ulcer. Diagnosis is mostly based on asking questions about your health and simple examination of the legs. A Doppler ultrasound may also be necessary.

Even if your only symptom of venous insufficiency is swelling (edema) of the legs, this is still a serious condition that needs treated. Luckily, there is an easy treatment for swelling that also helps with healing ulcers. The first step is to avoid sitting or standing for too long without movement. If you work at a desk most of the day, take five minutes every hour or so to do some simple leg exercises like the ones here: http://goo.gl/YSR6wM. If you work standing, try elevating your legs on your lunch break and especially when you get home from work.

The other simple solution to leg swelling that can also help with the healing of ulcers is a CircAid. One of the best on the market is the Juxta-Lite legging. These thin compression sleeves can be worn under almost anything and feature adjustable straps that can target the best pressure needed for your particular condition. Features of this legging include: SILVERtech material to prevent odor and bacteria, built-in pressure system for easy compression targeting, inelastic compression (meaning they wont stretch out or lose compression over time), and they are machine washable. Available now from the FAAWC in any color (as long as it’s beige)!

If you have any symptoms of venous insufficiency, venous stasis ulcers, are just simple swelling in the legs, don’t wait to make an appointment. Early detection and treatment can save a lot of hassle, time, and healing down the road. If you have already been diagnosed with one of these conditions, drop by the office to try the Juxta-Lite compression aid. Every little step you can take toward bettering your foot and ankle health will give you the opportunity for many more (physical) steps in the future.

We have been talking about heel pain and while there are many causes, there are a few specific things that can help treat many of those causes. One of those things is R.I.C.E. It stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Let’s take these one at a time.

REST

If you injure yourself or start to feel pain, rest is the first things to start with. It’s very simple…Don’t use the part of your body that hurts! Stop all activity immediately and get your weight off the injured foot. The less stress you put on a recently injured foot, the better. Your podiatrists will probably recommend keeping any weight or stress off that foot for several days to a week after the injury. Rushing back into using a bad foot can cause recurrent problems.

 

ICE

Most people wonder whether to apply heat or ice after an injury. In the case of a foot, ankle, or heel injury, the answer is ice. Flexible ice packs are a great thing to keep around in case of accidental injury. The cold will reduce your pain and any swelling that may occur. You should only ice for about 10 to 20 minutes at a time, preferably three times daily. After two or three days, if there is no longer any swelling, you can switch to heat. Any heat or cold should not be applied directly to the body. Place a towel or protective layer between your skin and the ice pack.

 

COMPRESSION

This is an important part of the process that a lot of people will skip because they don’t exactly know what it means or how to achieve it. Compression means wrapping an area and putting slight pressure on an injury to help reduce swelling and keep the injured area immobile. Many people are unfamiliar with the proper use of an Ace Bandage for wrapping. If you don’t know how to properly wrap your foot, ask your podiatrist for a demonstration and advice. If you don’t want to mess with wrapping, try a pair of compression socks. They are as easy as slipping them on and letting them go to work. There are many brands and some different strengths of compression. You can find a great selection here at the Foot and Ankle Wellness Center.

 

ELEVATION

Elevation is the last step in the R.I.C.E. process. Prop that injured foot up on some pillows and try to get it comfortably above the level of your heart. Do this while icing to provide maximum efficiency. Elevation of this sort helps to reduce the buildup of excess fluid or swelling. It may be a good idea to elevate the injured area whenever you are sitting or lying down in the first few days after the injury.

 

R.I.C.E. is a simple process that works for almost any injury to any part of the body. It is particularly useful and effective for foot, ankle, and heel injuries. These simple at home practices can help reduce recovery time and stop further injury. If you aren’t sure exactly what to do or how to wrap your foot or when it might be something that needs a more serious treatment than R.I.C.E., ask your podiatrist. Don’t be shy. Remember, the FAAWC has walk-in appointment hours every Friday.