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MOTHER LOVES HIGH HEELS

Why do doctors advise against high heels?  And will a job requiring standing make me get varicose veins?

You know that your heart is a pump, pumping blood 24/7 throughout your body.  But did you know that you have a calf muscle pump?  This calf muscle pump is important in returning blood from your legs back up to your heart.  But it is not an automatic, like the heart.

Two things are essential in circulating blood back to the heart:

  1. Normal calf muscle pump
  2. A normal vein with intact valves

Walking activates the calf muscle pump.  When the calf muscle contracts, this squeezing action forces blood upward against gravity and back towards the heart.

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The second part of the process is the valves in the leg vein.    The valves in a normal vein act like steps on a ladder, supporting the column of blood until it reaches the right side of the heart.  If the valves are worn out (are incompetent),  they will not support the column of blood and cause more pressure in the veins.  This is called reflux.  The weight of the blood pushing down in the veins causes increased pressure and can push fluid out of the veins into the tissues.  This is one cause of swelling, a symptom of abnormal venous function.

Do your legs a favor by not wearing high heels too often. When a women wears high heels, her foot, ankle and calf don’t contract and bend normally.  So the calf muscle pump doesn’t work as well, causing greater stress on the veins.

If you are routinely required to be on your feet all day, wearing support stockings can alleviate strain on the venous system.  Standing isn’t the worst thing:  think about it—when you are standing, you usually do take steps, which activates your calf muscle pump.  Sitting all day is a poor option for leg and vein health because the calf muscle pump is not activated.  Try to incorporate walking each day, without high heels.