Current Pedorthics September-October 2017 - Vol.49, Issue 5 - Page 26

STANDING ON THE JOB These jobs often take a physical toll, especially on the legs and feet, but legs aren’t supposed to hurt, even at the end of a long workday. One reason for discomfort in the lower extremities is poor circulation. Let’s review what that means. The major parts of the cardiovascular system are the heart, arteries and veins. The heart pumps blood to the arteries, which take the oxygenated blood to all parts of the body. Healthy veins carry deoxygenated blood back up to the heart, the “muscle pumps” in our feet and calves helping the blood to travel against gravity. If you are standing on your feet all day, your circulatory system isn’t working as efficiently as it should. And if you have venous (vein) issues, the problem can be exacerbated. In leg veins, there are valves that open to allow the blood to flow one way: up. If the valves in the veins become damaged, some "If the valves in the veins become damaged, some blood will flow back into the legs or feet and “pool” there resulting in a feeling of heaviness, leg pain, varicose veins, or other symptoms." 24 Pedorthic Footcare Association www.pedorthics.org blood will flow back into the legs or feet and “pool” there resulting in a feeling of heaviness, leg pain, varicose veins, or other symptoms. This is sometimes referred to as venous reflux. RECOGNIZING THE SYMPTOMS Karen Bragdon, 53, is a Physical Therapist and Orthopedic Certified Specialist at York Hospital in Wells, Maine. Her tasks vary depending on her caseload, but on average she’s on her feet 80% of the day. At first Bragdon noticed “very unsightly bulging veins” in her legs, behind the knees and at the ankles. But there were other symptoms showing up that she did not realize were warning signs of venous disease. By the end of the workday her feet and legs would be extremely tired and, many times, swollen. She also began having leg cramps at night. A runner, she NORMAL VEIN VARICOSE VEIN