Not Your Grandma’s Compression Socks | Why Nurses Need Them!
Varicose veins – those gnarly, bulging veins that are visible through the skin. They cause pain, leg fatigue, and swelling. The valves in those veins stop functioning and pushing blood back to the heart like they are supposed to do. The blood pools in the veins causing more and more symptoms over time.
Did you know that nurses are among the professions most likely to have varicose veins? Workers who stand on their feet for long periods of time often end up with them, and associated conditions, such as swelling, pain, and well, veiny legs. Nurses work some of the longest shifts and spend most of that time on their feet. Once the vein damage is done – there is no way to reverse it. The only way is to prevent them before they happen.
A Sneaky Disease
I have fallen victim to varicose vein statistic myself – strangely more in my left leg than my right. At first, when I was in my 20’s, I didn’t think a whole lot about it unless it was swimsuit season. A tan usually covered them, and I didn’t have any other ill effects. Enter my 30’s. Still not as much problem – through two pregnancies, working the nursing floors on my feet, I did experience a fair amount of swelling. I would put my feet up and try to lay off the salt. It would go away on my days off.
Now – in my 40’s (yep, I admitted it!) I have entered a new world of varicose veins. They HURT. A LOT. I work mostly at a desk these days, and the swelling remains. It doesn’t often go away. My left leg is still worse than my right, to the extent that the difference in circumference is quite visible. I am looking at surgery options and treatments. I take NSAIDS more often than not for the dull aching pain. Why am I sharing all my aches and pains with ya’ll? I don’t want you to end up like me!
New Styles and Colors
Compression socks are not the same as they used to be – they are CUTE! They come in every print and color under the sun, and they feel good on. You will see runners and sports players wearing them now. By the way – nursing is definitely a sport, too!
They are not as difficult to put on as TED hose, and they come in a variety of sizes, lengths, and styles for men and women. You feel better at the end of the day and have less leg pain. I now wear them for my desk job, and even to Wal-Mart.
Compression socks or stockings have a graduated compression. They compress veins and make it easier for the blood to circulate properly through the lower half of the body. It is a long way for the blood to travel from your feet back up to your heart, and you have put some miles on those feet! Those compression socks are the boost you need to help push blood up and reduce symptoms.
Now – the important part. Wear them when you don’t need them yet. You heard me. You young’uns that don’t have a vein care in the world, heed my advice. Save yourselves. Wear those support socks as soon as you start working long shifts. Think of them as insurance for your legs, which are part of your livelihood and your ability to keep working! Plus, don’t forget – they are CUTE.
Still don’t believe me? If you are female and reading this – think really hard about why you wear a bra. Then think about compression socks again. See the connection? Preventative. You got it!
Now go out there and find some great deals on new socks and wear them with pride! Your 42-year old legs will thank you tremendously!