This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in January of 2023. For the original video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZ_4X9hiSm4
Brad: If you want to improve blood flow in your feet and your legs, we're going to show you three options that are going to make this very easy to do. No exercise, no medication. As a matter of fact, if you do not do a couple of these, your blood circulation will not get better. Very simple.
Brad: All right, Bob, you know my mother. She has some issues with her leg circulation.
Bob: I do.
Brad: As a matter of fact, I've been dealing with that right now. So I thought I'm going to make a video because I know there are other people that are having similar circulation problems.
Bob: It’s very common.
Brad: So the first thing that you have to address is the footwear. If your footwear is not loose enough, particularly in the forefoot, you can do all the exercises you want, and your circulation in your feet will not get better.
Brad: So, let's look at the biggest thing, we searched for quite a while with my mother to find footwear that had a wide enough toe box. We're going to back up, and I'll talk to you a little about what I found with her. You look at a walking shoe or running shoe, but you know typically it's going to be a walking shoe with this population, they come to a point, and that point jams the toes together, taking the circulation and limiting it.
Bob: What do they think we're elves?
Brad: Yeah. It's a style. It's a fashion and that's why they're doing it. You can get shoes now that have a wider toe box. Let's compare these two.
Brad: The black pair has a wider toe and that's the natural shape of the feet. Now, the cheapest way that you can buy shoes shaped like this, is to simply get a pair of Crocs. They're loose-fitting. Make sure they're loose-fitting. I didn't realize how useful and how healthy these are for your feet regarding circulation. Plus they don't have a lot of support which can be, depending on your feet, some people might need support if their feet are really in bad shape, but for the average person, you want less support in the feet, they're finding out, now.
Bob: How much do they cost?
Brad: I think they're around $50 or $60.
Bob: Oh, they are?
Brad: Yeah. They were a little more expensive than I thought. But the benefits are, they last a long time. When they get dirty, you throw them right in the slap sink and scrub them down with a little Spic and Span. They work well. Seriously.
Bob: And they're comfy. Right.
Brad: Relatively cheap, compared to the shoes I had to buy for my mom, which are extra wide. They were Velcro and we spent about $190 on them. But it was hard to find a pair because she has edema, and she has a lot of swelling.
Brad: So, you do what you have to do when it's for your mom.
Brad: This is a shoe that I bought. I just want to show it, this is a hiking shoe. It's got a wide-toe box. So there are more manufacturers starting to make wide-toe shoes. I think Merrill, I heard, is going to start making a wide-toe box, a weird shape.
Bob: Come on Merrill.
Brad: Yeah. I have a feeling that this is one of those things, that in another five years, it's going to be cool to wear wide-toe shoes. So anyways, let's go on to the next point. All right. The next thing you want to address, and this is very simple but very helpful, is simply elevate the feet. So if you're lying in bed, on the couch, on the floor, just, simply, get some pillows out. Put them underneath your legs. The rule of thumb is so that your feet are higher than your heart. Just do it so it's comfortable. This is two pillows; I could easily put another one under there.
Bob: Right. Yep.
Brad: The next thing, if you do want to find something that's even more comfortable, is one of these leg wedges. Bob and I have used these for years, with thousands of patients, I'd imagine.
Bob: They work great.
Brad: And I would say 95% of the people are very happy with it. And it's better than a pillow.
Bob: It’s also good for back pain.
Brad: Yep. They're good for back pain. Everyone says knees, hips, and back. It's just a comfortable wedge. They are not very expensive. I think they're around $30. All right, let's go on. If you're sitting, this is a thing I have with my mother, is she has to get her recliner up. She doesn't like to; she just doesn't like it. But anyways, we're working with her. Otherwise have an ottoman, and get your feet up so that your feet are not dangling. That's really important. Take the time, get the pillows, and get your feet up.
Brad: We got one more important thing to go through. The last thing, which is very easy to do as well, is to get yourself a pair of compressive socks. They should be, graduated. In other words, they're tighter around the foot, and as it goes up toward the calf, there's not as much compression. Typically, if you look at how they're rated, it should be 15 to 20 millimeters of mercury. The tight ones are closer to 30 millimeters of mercury. Or right at that point.
Bob: You can ask your doctor.
Brad: Yeah. Talk to your doctor or your therapist that's familiar with compressive garments. They will know. If you don't want to go to a doctor because you don't have a serious problem, just get the lighter ones. You're safe with that. These are iReliev, we like their product, but there are a lot of different products that are good. I have a pair on right here. One thing you have to avoid at all costs, like these are a little long for me because I can pull them up past my knee, and that's no good. I wore these on a plane to Alaska over the summer and I left them there. And what happened was, they rolled down and we call that a tourniquet syndrome. And so what happens is, it gets really tight, right around that roll, and it was very uncomfortable, and it actually cuts off the circulation, particularly with the lymph, but also with the blood flow.
Brad: So if you have socks and they're too long, make sure you double them up and spread that out. I have about three or four inches there, that'll be okay. The best thing is to get the right length to start with.
Bob: Or way above the knee.
Brad: Yeah. Or way up so they don't roll down. With my mother and for some people, these are hard to get on.
Bob They can be very hard to get on.
Brad: My mother is not going to put these on. Even five years ago I said, "Can you try these on?" and both she and my dad, were having the problem and they said, "Take them back."
Bob: They're terrible.
Brad: But if you use Tubigrip, this is a nice product. It comes in rolls, and you measure it to the right length, so that goes just below the knee, and so the toes are exposed.
Bob: It's inexpensive, right?
Brad: Yeah. This is 10 yards, and I don't remember what I bought. But anyways, it's not cheap, but it's not really expensive. I think it's cheaper than buying compression socks. Then you wash them and you can have two sets. So that one pair you're wearing and the other ones you're washing.
Brad: You need to air dry them, and hand washing them is a good idea. This also has a real problem with tourniqueting. The person must be attentive to it and pull them up and keep it from tourniqueting. Sometimes they'll stay. If it's a real problem, you can get something called Coban, which is a tape. I've got that on another video. But it's a simple tape that stretches, and you wrap it around. It doesn't get tight.
Bob: That holds it in place.
Brad: Yep. Coban. So anyways, that's important. If you're really having problems with circulation and you're trying these things, or if you have so much edema or circulation problems where you're turning red, talk with your doctor. Like my mom was starting to seep or weep the other day. Which the fluid's going through the skin. It's a problem. You must get after it.
Bob: Yeah. And then I would see a doctor for sure.
Brad: Yep. But these things all work well, and they will help. Bob, what say you?
Bob: I Agree.
Brad: Bob concurs. Say no more. We have spoken.
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