Defy Gravity

The condition of men’s legs are not something that they are concerned with; they don’t sit around and talk about varicose veins while drinking a beer and watching a game for the FIFA World Cup or their favorite sports program. Perhaps the condition of their legs is at least something they should think about and talk to their physician. About 10-15% of younger men have varicose veins whereas about 20-25%of the young women experience the problem. As I wrote about last week, it’s the women who will seek a physician’s advice about varicose veins and not the men. Most men think varicose veins are no big deal…a woman’s problem. Think again. By the time men are in their sixties between 50 and 60% have varicose veins.

Exercise regularly...It's important to involve your calves. It is the calves that act as a secondary pump to return the blood to the heart.

When sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time, blood pools in the lower extremity expanding the vein walls. Over time the veins loose their elasticity and do not return to their taut state. Some people (both men and women) have a genetic preponderance to varicose veins. If one of your parents has vein disease (venous insufficiency), you have about a 33% chance of developing it. If both of your parents have venous insufficiency, your chance jumps up to 90%.

  • Exercise regularly…It’s important to involve your calves. It is the calves that act as a secondary pump to return the blood to the heart.
  • Wear compression hose… Some physicians recommend everyone wear knee-length compression stockings—even if they don’t have signs of varicose veins. The compression of the stockings assists the calf muscle in pumping the blood from the ankle back to the heart. Usually a 15-20mmHg or 20-30mmHg compression is adequate.
  • Watch your diet… Foods high in sodium may cause your body to retain more fluids and swell.

Some people experience no symptoms with varicose veins, for others, the varicose veins hurt (throbbing, aching or burning). Other people experience itching or the vein feels hot, and many experience swelling in their legs. Symptoms are usually less severe in the early morning and worse at the end of the day (after standing or sitting for prolonged periods of time). The cause of the pain may be nerve irritation. As varicose veins dilate, they can begin to press against adjacent nerves.

Some athletes relate that their legs feel fine when training, but a short time later the legs that have varicose veins begin to ache, throb and feel heavy. If they lie down and elevate their legs, they feel better. While an athlete is exercising, their muscles required more oxygen. So the oxygen rich blood is transported through the arteries and the muscles helped the veins return the oxygen poor blood to the heart. When the exercise is completed, there is no calf pump action to help the veins return blood to the heart resulting in pooling of blood in the lower extremity. Elevating the leg helps the body defy gravity and return the blood to the heart (just as compression stockings and socks do).

Sports which add more weight to the legs such as weightlifting, skiing, backpacking and repetitive motion sports such as running, cycling and tennis put a lot of stress on the veins in the legs. These activities can damage the delicate valves of the venous system and exacerbate the venous insufficiency. There are positive and negative reasons to exercise or not, but they cancel each other out. So stay active and defy gravity by wearing compression socks!

Visit your primary care physician so he can make arrangements to have them checked out and defy gravity by wearing compression socks.

If your legs ache and swell, it could be a bigger problem than simply overdoing it at last week’s soccer game. And even if your legs aren’t in pain, if you’re seeing weird vein patterns, chances are there could be something wrong. Visit your primary care physician so he can make arrangements to have them checked out and defy gravity by wearing compression socks.


June Is Men’s Health Awareness Month

Father’s Day is past, but we are not forgetting the special men in our lives. What better way to show them how much we care, than by celebrating their health and encouraging them to seek regular medical check ups? This is the 20th anniversary of Men’s Health Awareness Month which is dedicated to enhance awareness of preventable health problems in men. According to the Department of Health and Human Services Men face unique health challenges, and one of the most dangerous is their reluctance to seek health care. In fact, according to Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), men are 24 percent less likely than women to have seen a doctor in the past year.

A look at men’s health issues shows they experience different, but no less serious, health problems than women. A secret weapon of millions of women for decades has been wearing support hosiery to keep the veins and valves inside the veins from weakening or becoming defective. Men are beginning to recognize the energizing effects a pair of support knee high, thigh high or even a waist high compression garment can provide to improve daily living. The length of the support hose or socks may be determined by the amount and location of the swelling you are experiencing.

There are many reasons men should choose to wear support socks or support stockings. Here are a few:

  • Tired achy legs at night
  • Heavy legs at night
  • Swollen legs
  • Leg pain from prolonged sitting or standing
  • Dull, aching pain in leg
  • Tingling, numbness burning or cramping in the legs and feet
  • Legs “fall asleep” often
  • Spider veins
  • Reddish Discoloration of the skin
  • Hardened skin on the lower leg
  • Patches of dry skin on the lower leg
  • Open sores on the lower leg that do not heal (see your doctor immediately)
  • Family history of venous disease
  • Travel (to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis)
  • Surgery (to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis)
  • Orthostatic Hypotension (A form of low blood pressure that happens when you stand up from sitting or lying down…head rush or dizzy spell)
  • Injury

There seems to be a stigma of people being able to recognize that a man is wearing a compression garment, but many young men are becoming staunch supporters of compression garments.

Professional Athlete

Think of the professional athlete…

  • As he travels long distances to compete, he wears compression socks. He definitely does not want to arrive at an event for which he has been training to be knocked out of competition by a blood clot (deep vein thrombosis).
  • During his competition he wants to be at his best. Sigvaris High-Tech Knee High (formerly known as Sigvaris Performance) increase arterial flow, reduce muscle strain, decreases exertion, and reduces skin temperature.
  • After he has completed his competition he wants a speedy recovery, so he wears his recovery socks to help get the lactic acid out of the muscle so there is less muscle soreness.
Happy Man Wearing His Compression Socks

The “week-end warrior” can also appreciate what support socks can do for their sporting activities as well as their everyday living. Why should the non-athlete not have the same advantages as the athlete? By taking action to wear an appropriate compression garment, our special men could prevent more serious problems which ultimately could affect his quality of life as well as his family.

Please have that special man, visit with his physician about compression and then call one of our Certified Fitters at 1-800-515-4271. Our Certified Fitters can assist him with the selection of a garment (dress sock, casual sock, athletic sock, thigh sock or waist high garment) appropriate for his life style as well as his legs.

Lets encourage the special men in our life to see their physician regularly and wear their support socks,


National Garden Exercise Day

June 6 is National Gardening Exercise Day…Well, I guess I missed that date, but while researching information on the internet I ran across the following. It was written by Jeffrey Restuccio. He is a nationally recognized author and speaker on the subject of gardening and exercise. (Just up my alley!)
Jeffrey has written books such as “Get Fit Through Gardening” and “Fitness the Dynamic Gardening Way”.

Now don’t feel that you have to “go for the burn” or exercise in the garden aerobically every time. Modify the program to meet your individual needs. At the very least, using these techniques will help reduce back strain and muscle soreness so often associated with gardening.

1) Warm up your muscles before you garden for five to ten minutes.

2) Stretch for five to ten minutes. Yes, stretch before you garden! Stretching will help relieve back strain and muscle soreness and avoid injury.

3) Garden using a variety of motions at a steady pace. Plan out your gardening exercise session to include a variety of movements such as raking, mowing, weeding, pruning and digging and alternate between them often, every fifteen minutes, for example.

lunge and weed side view2

Here are six different motions or techniques to rake, hoe and weed:

Don’t bend from the back as you rake or hoe. If you make just one change, this should be it. Bend from the knees and use your legs, shoulders and arms in a rocking motion. Also alternate your stance between right-handed and left-handed. Alternating stance balances the muscles used. These techniques require time and practice but after a period of seasons it will become a natural part of your gardening routine.

Get Fit Through Gardening is comparable to working out at the spa and before you leave, you’re handed a basket full of fresh strawberries, power-walking to the supermarket and receiving a ninety percent discount on fresh tomatoes, or cycling twelve miles and coming home each time to a fresh garden salad. It’s the ultimate cross-training activity!

4) Ideally, you should stretch again after you have thoroughly warmed up your muscles with fifteen to twenty minutes of steady raking, hoeing, weeding, planting or mowing.

5) Cool down after your gardening exercise session by walking, picking flowers or vegetables or just enjoying the fruits of your “exercise.”

Just remember these key points:

keep back streight
  1. Follow the Aerobic Model as often as possible.
  2. Avoid all-day marathon gardening sessions on weekends (space it out)
  3. Always bend from the knees and not your back.
  4. Alternate your stance and motion as often as possible.
  5. Use long-handled tools for raking or hoeing and kneel or sit while using hand tools.

For more information contact your Local or State Garden Club Chapter. Of course before you begin you should make sure you have your compression stocking or compression socks on. When you finish your “yard exercise”, you want to be happy that you choose to begin this endeavor.

Happy gardening,


Add Some Jazz To Your Step

Add Some Jazz To Your Step

We have some wonderful Juzo® products that we have not talked about for awhile. Some of you may not be familiar with these products. So I thought I would review their attributes. Juzo® offers high quality products for both men and women who suffer from venous disease or lymphedema. Julius Zorn founded the company in 1912 and dealt with personal medical problems similar to Juzo’s clients today. It was his belief that the medical garments should not hinder a person’s ability to enjoy life that led him to create compression products and to their motto “Juzo Freedom in Motion”.


Juzo Silver Sole Socks – Made with X-STATIC® Silver Fibers (Anti-microbial)

  • 12-16 mmHG unisex fit by shoe size
  • Available in – anklet, crew length, and knee high
  • Pillowed Sole adds cushion to reduce blisters and callous buildup
  • Mid-foot compression to prevent sock bunching
  • Athletic Sock, Diabetic Sock, or Trucker Sock (someone with no indications of swelling.

Why not add some jazz to your step or to the step of a special someone.