Poor Circulation & Leg Health
Many factors contribute to the overall health of our legs: heredity, weight, age, diet and activity level. But it’s the internal function of the legs that also plays an important role: calf muscles, arteries, veins and vein valves – the internal highway of blood and oxygen flow.
A series of one-way valves assists the flow of blood in the veins. The valves remain open when the blood flows toward the heart, and then close after blood passes through. Over time, an increase in pressure can stretch the vein walls. If a vein becomes enlarged and over-stretched, the valves cannot close properly, causing blood to leak back down into the lower legs. The damaged valves can lead to even higher pressures and worsen vein function resulting in Chronic Venous Insufficiency, commonly known as poor circulation.
If this happens you may begin to develop symptoms, such as:
- Heavy, tired, aching legs
- Swollen legs and/or ankles
- Sensation of warmth in the legs
- Tingling or cramping of the legs
- Dull or sharp pain in the calf
- Varicose veins and spider veins
- Ulcers / wounds on the legs
- Deep Vein Thrombosis
Managing Poor Circulation
The following activities can help alleviate some of the symptoms above and improve blood circulation:
- Quitting smoking
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Getting up to move if confined to sitting or standing for long periods of time
- Vein ablation, which is a minimally invasive procedure that uses heat or a liquid solution to treat targeted veins
- Compression Therapy
Therapy Graduated compression stockings and socks are important to leg health. They help minimize muscle aches, swelling and symptoms of fatigue. Exercise and a healthy lifestyle will strengthen your legs, but wearing graduated compression stockings or socks will support the internal function of your veins. Compression can also improve weak calf muscles by increasing circulation when you’re active through pressure on the muscles. Make sure you buy a quality compression garment to ensure the best therapeutic results. For more information on high quality compression garments, visit our Steps to Better Health blog.
If you notice one or more of the symptoms mentioned above, we recommend you consult with your primary care provider and ask about a high quality graduated medical compression stocking or sock. You’ll be glad that you did—and so will your legs!