Legs suffer with too much standing or sitting, as gravity decreases blood flow, resulting in swelling and fatigue. The decreased blood flow could lead to aches, pain and complicated vein disease. Compression socks decrease occupational hazards for mail carriers resulting in better overall health. Weight maintenance, general fitness, low-salt diet, avoiding alcohol and refraining from smoking are also beneficial.
Reduce Swelling and Fatigue
To reduce swelling and fatigue, feet should be elevated to promote blood flow. Carriers should elevate feet on breaks and flex the muscles in their legs from time to time to pump oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart. However, other than a short 15-minute break, elevating tired feet is out of the question until after working hours. The mail carriers that wear these support socks on a routine basis often find symptom improvements.
Varicose and Spider Veins
Enlarged visible veins emerging as twisted and bulging cords, either blue, red or flesh-colored in appearance are known as varicose veins. These are sometimes raised and may appear on the backs of calves, on the inside of the legs or on thighs. Spider veins are smaller in appearance and closer to the surface of the skin. Perhaps red or blue in appearance, they resemble tree branches or spider webs, appearing on the legs or face. Blood pooling, too much sun exposure, injuries or hormone changes may cause spider veins. Compression socks force the blood out of the legs, decreasing the chance of pooling.
Symptoms of Vein Disease
Symptoms may vary, but even slight symptoms can affect overall health, job performance and lead to further complicated disease processes. The symptoms may include:
• Aches that worsen after a few hours on the job sitting or standing
• Cramping and throbbing pain in the thighs or calves
• Darkening of the skin in the area
• Heavy feeling in the legs
• Itchy or irritated rash
• Restless legs
Complicated Disease Processes
Pain, warmth, redness, swelling and a pulling feeling in the calf are often caused by deep vein thrombosis in mail carriers. This could prove fatal if the clot travels to the lungs. Varicose veins may lead to thin skin that is prone to injury resulting in significant blood loss. The chronic pooling of blood may lead to sores and skin ulcers, which are painful and difficult to heal. Clots that form just below the skin, producing redness, pain and swelling is known as superficial thrombophlebitis. Compression socks are a wardrobe staple for mail carriers to reduce the probability of complicated disease.