You may recall from last month’s WINC article that one of our Founding Fathers and Colonial American pharmacist, Ben Franklin, is credited for the phrase, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  The modern-day healthcare system is continually evolving, and more and more emphasis is being placed on that very principle.  That makes perfect sense because the prevention of a health problem is typically far less expensive than treating it once it occurs.  However, far too often we discover a good preventive practice after the damage to our bodies has been done.  For example, let’s talk about your poor aching feet and tired swollen legs.  Are you giving them the attention they deserve?

A mental image of the clothing that Franklin, Jefferson, Hancock, and the rest of the gang wore comes to mind.  If the paintings are accurate, they all have on knee-length breeches and tall stockings.  Sounds like a bunch of old guys today doesn’t it?  You know the ones I’m talking about – those wearing Bermuda shorts and tall black socks.  ☺  Seriously though, the right socks can make a world of difference in keeping your feet and legs healthy.  You may not think you are a good candidate for compression socks but consider some of the following facts.

The Vim&Vigr company defines compression socks as an ultra-strong elasticated sock that come in knee-high, thigh-high, or full-length from the waist styles.  They fit snugly around your foot and ankle and get a little bit looser the higher up your leg they go.  By squeezing your leg tissues in a graduated manner, these socks help the blood flow more freely and minimize the accumulation of fluid in your lower legs.  They come in varying degrees of compression and are indicated for different medical conditions.

People who already have circulation problems or are at risk for circulation problems would definitely benefit from wearing these socks.  If you have a DVT (deep vein thrombosis or blood clot), varicose veins, or diabetes, consider yourself to be in this group.  Compression socks are often used after surgery and by patients who can’t get out of bed or have a hard time moving their legs to prevent DVTs from developing.  Due to the significant hormonal changes during pregnancy and the increased coagulability of their blood, pregnant women are also at a greater risk of developing DVTs.  This is especially true during the later stages of pregnancy and even during the post-partum time period until hormone levels return to normal.

There are a number of non-medical reasons to consider them as well.  For instance, I’m a perfect example of one of those.  As a pharmacist, I stand up for ten to twelve hours a day and have for over forty-four years.  My legs have definitely paid the price!  I have swollen ankles, some pretty bad varicose veins, and enough spider veins to warrant calling an exterminator!  Fortunately, I discovered the benefits of compression socks about thirty years ago and started wearing them or I would really be in a mess.  The same principle applies to those of you who may sit behind a desk all day.  Unless you get up and move around a lot, blood flow is reduced, increasing your risk of developing blood clots. Pilots and people who have to fly a lot fit in this category as well.

You may have noticed that many athletes wear compression socks or compression sleeves on their legs and arms.  WebMD says: “The theory is that, during activity, better blood flow will help get oxygen to their muscles, and the support will help prevent tissue damage, help their muscles recover more quickly, reduce muscle cramps, and minimize soreness.

Most people have a negative mental image of how compression socks look and feel.  They visualize some ugly tan, rubbery-looking object that their grandmother used to wear.  But that’s totally wrong.  Today’s medical grade compression socks are actually quite fashionable and feel downright comfortable.  Color and style are the new normal with our new line by Vim&Vigr.  Medical grade compression socks may be the last thing on your mind when it comes to “an ounce of prevention,” but they just might be the first thing you should put on your feet when you get up in the morning.