Culinary school didn’t prepare me for the hardest parts of being a chef. I knew that there’d be long hours and late nights. I knew that kitchens were pressure cookers filled with stress or that some head chefs can be jerks.
What I didn’t know was how bad standing for 10 hours straight would feel. Standing all day kills my feet. They get tender to the touch and sometimes my legs even swell up. It’s just awful.
What Happens When You Stand All Day
Some people say that sitting is the new smoking. They invented all kinds of silly ways to get office workers to stand. Suddenly standing desks popped up in every office, and workers thought they were saving themselves from awful health problems.
But anyone who stands all day can tell you that standing all day is bad for you, even without spending a thousand dollars a pop on a treadmill desk (Really, They exist).
A peer reviewed study showed that prolonged standing contributes to some terrible health problems.
- Lower back pain
- Leg pain
- Cardiovascular problems, especially chronic venous insufficiency
And I felt it all. My legs hurt. My back hurt. My feet were killing me. But I was most concerned about my leg swelling, a symptom of chronic venous insufficiency. I knew I needed to get this under control.
If you have major problems with swelling, though, don’t try compression socks on your own. Go straight to your doctor, instead. He or she may prescribe a certain kind of compression stocking, but you might need a different treatment.
What Helps Me Feel Better
I’ve tried a ton of things to make me feel better, but not all of them worked. I’ve tried pain killers. They make my feet feel a little better, but the main problem doesn’t go away. I tried spending more time with my legs up after work, but no dice.
Then I stumbled on compression socks. As soon as I started wearing them at work, my feet started to feel better. My muscles weren’t as tired, my feet didn’t hurt as much, and even the swelling went down.
How Compression Helps
You can find lots of compression gear. There are compression socks, calf sleeves, or stockings that go up past the knee. But what do they do?
Compression works by (you guessed it) compressing the muscles in your feet. Doctors find that compression makes you feel less fatigued, less sore, and less swollen. The same study on the problems with prolonged standing identified compression gear as one of the most effective ways to relieve the pain. Compression helps by supporting blood flow. Compression socks help support veins in your legs, and they promote blood flow. Increased blood flow means that your muscles get more oxygen and they stay more refreshed. It keeps you less sore and less swollen.
Compression can even help athletes perform better or recover faster. Lots of triathletes and runners wear them while they race or after to help with recovery. It helps for the same reasons that it it makes my feet feel better. Increased oxygen flow means faster recovery for my muscles.
It was a godsend when I discovered compression socks. I was worried that my feet would only get worse, that I might even have to find a new career. Compression socks made my feet feel better and they help me do my job better, too.