Are you getting spider veins, varicose veins, swelling in the feet or legs – or have been told that you may be at risk of a venous leg ulcer? If you have, this is for you. Today, the Sole Motion team are talking all about venous problems in your feet and legs and how compression is a powerful tool to help manage the problems and reduce your risks.
‘Venous’ simply refers to our veins. While our arteries transport blood away from the heart and to the rest of the body, our veins work to return the blood back to the heart against gravity. If this venous valve system begins to fail, then blood can pool in the legs, resulting in the development of spider veins, varicose veins, venous inflammation and, in severe and unmanaged cases, venous leg ulcers.
While some venous problems may result from a genetic disposition (varicosities run in the family), factors such as engaging in predominantly standing or sitting activities, being overweight and getting too little exercise also play a role. Risk factors include:
If the function of the venous valves decreases, e.g. due to old age or pregnancy hormones, then the blood flows back into the veins and settles there. The vein wall relaxes and dilates, leading to spider veins, varicose veins and – in the highly advanced stage – a lower leg ulcer.
Before you start to worry – chronic venous disorders are a common problem, and their severity (and hence consequences on your feet and legs) can vary greatly. Signs of early problems are often only cosmetically noticeable but do not cause any pain. You may experience:
Your GP may refer you to a specialist for venous diseases (phlebologist) as part of your care team. They’ll make a diagnosis through a detailed examination of your state of health and your medical history, as well as through visual and physical examinations or use of further imaging methods such as ultrasound.
In podiatry, one of the most important therapeutic options for venous problems is regularly wearing medical compression garments like specialised socks and stockings. When worn on a regular basis, they can help promote vein function while relieving leg discomfort and strain. They work by helping prevent blood pooling in the legs and supporting the transport of the blood back up to the heart with gradual pressure distribution from the ankle upwards. This means:
As podiatrists with specialist knowledge in compression therapy here at Sole Motion Podiatry, we can identify lower limb problems associated with venous insufficiency which are considered indications for compression garment therapy. We’ll then decide on the most appropriate type of compression sock or stocking given your symptoms and lifestyle, and then take measurements to prescribe compression garments accordingly. Compression garments can be ordered in ready-made sizes or as individually tailored, made-to-measure garments.
Compression can also be used in a sporting setting to aid performance in healthy individuals by:
Empirical research indicates that the best results associated with the use of compression for recovery is more than 24 hours after resistance exercise and strength training – so make sure you continue to wear your compression gear for the days following your training, too.
If you’re worried about your feet and legs but aren’t sure what to do, come in and see our team here at Sole Motion at Point Cook. Keeping people feeling comfortable on their feet is why we love what we do – and we’d love to help you too.