Why our feet swell
While most of us over 50 have occasional swelling in our feet and ankles, when the swelling becomes chronic it's a problem. Chronic swelling has two primary causes: fluid build-up and inflammation. Today let's talk about fluid build-up and why it happens.
As we age blood tends to pool around our feet. That's because the bridges that prevent blood from leaking back toward our feet no longer work as well. When blood pools in our legs we feel tired. We can also get skin changes including bread dough swelling (swelling that looks like bread dough when you poke it), color changes, scaly and shiny skin, and rashes. If you're diabetic poor blood flow can lead to ulcers.
What are compression stockings?
Compression stockings are specially designed to improve the circulation in your legs and feet. They are made of a lightweight material that creates more pressure from the bottom of the foot and less as it goes up the leg.
How do they work?
The most important effect of these stockings is to improve the flow of blood returning from your feet to your heart. In doing so, this will prevent swelling, or even worse, the development of sores in the legs or ankles known as venous stasis ulcers. In addition for those of you who stand all day, they will decrease the fatigue in your legs.
When are they worn?
They are best worn from the time you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night.
What is the difference between over-the-counter (OTC) and prescriptive stockings?
The difference between OTC and prescriptive stockings is that prescriptive stockings are of greater strength. Your physician is the only one who can decide what strength you will need to control swelling and prevent ulcerations.
When are prescriptive stockings required?
The truth is that all of us who stand, walk, work even a moderate amount of hours on our feet would benefit from wearing these stockings. It is an absolute necessity if you’re already experiencing chronic swelling of the legs due to venous insufficiency, or have had a history of developing venous stasis ulcerations of the ankle or leg.
OTC compression stockings we recommend
If you're experiencing the bread dough swelling and other symptoms above, talk to Dr. Berg about getting a prescription for support stockings. However, if you're experiencing fatigue and are on your feet a lot we recommend purchasing Sockwell compression socks.
You may think compression stockings are only for aging adults, when in fact, OTC stockings can bring significant relief to anyone who is experiencing fatigue in their legs after standing for a period of time.
If you have questions or concerns about pain or discomfort in your legs, please feel free to call our office at 206.368.7000 or request an appointment on-line.
Rion A. Berg, DPM
Podiatrist and Board Certified Foot Surgeon
Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City
2611 NE 125th St., Ste 130
Seattle, WA 98125