Pete

About Pete

Pete is a VP at BrightLife Direct, with over 15 years of experience in the compression hosiery business.

Alternatives to Wearing Compression Stockings

Juzo Calf WrapCustomers often tell us, “I’ve tried everything, but I can’t get my compression socks on. What else can I try?”

If you have sensitive skin, weak hands, or severe swelling, getting compression socks on and comfortably in place can be a struggle. Luckily, more and more companies are offering alternatives to traditional compression socks – compression wraps. These products wrap easily around the leg and attach with velcro straps.

CircAid, Farrow Medical, Solaris, BiaCare and Juzo all make ready-to-wear wraps that can be easily donned by most anyone.

Circaid Juxta Lite provides dynamic compression, is inelastic, and can be worn day and night.  Compression increases when you are active and decreases when you’re at rest.  A Built-In Pressure System (BPS) can be adjusted to provide 20-30, 30-40, or 40-50mmHg. CircAid JuxtaFit Essentials and Premium are are more durable and long-lasting option. Made with a thicker fabric, these wraps are easy to maintain and adjust. All of the CircAid products fit a calf up to 25″.

“I bought this because my 93 yr old mother had started having leg edema 6 months ago and could not tolerate putting on or leaving on regular compression stockings (even the lightest compression). These have been easy to put on her and so comfortable that she is willing to wear them even when asleep. Love that the compression is adjustable with the little card.” – Vancouver, WA

FarrowWrap for the calf and foot, is made out of strips of short-stretch fabric, with velcro closures.  A liner stocking is typically donned first, then the strips are folded over in sequence starting at the ankle.  A  wrap for the foot, and hybrid liner with compression in the foot only are also available.  FarrowWrap is available in two compression levels, Lite (20-30mmHg) and Classic (30-40mmHg). Fits up to 67cm calf (~26.3″).

“The leg wraps are easy to apply, comfortable to wear, very effective, and are easily removed.” – Mount Vernon, OH

ReadyWrap Quick-Fit by Solaris mimics traditional bandaging and is made using non-elastic Velcro straps.  ReadyWrap is available for the foot, calf, knee and thigh.  Pieces can be worn individually or together to provide compression from the toes to the groin. Fits a calf up to 68 cm (~26.7″). Extender tabs can add another 10 cm (4″) to the wrap, allowing it to fit up to 78 cm (30.7″)

“These ReadyWrap Calf Units are awesome. no more pulling up and at the same time pulling your muscles. As long as they are on correctly, they hold your leg together. A big plus in my world.” – Plymouth Meeting, PA

BiaCare has CompreFit and CompreFlex options which are incredibly easy to don. Just slip the wrap over your foot and adjust the velcro straps. CompreFlex Lite contains just the calf wrap, while the CompreFit and CompreFlex wraps include a foot/ankle wrap. These wraps can be purchased with extender straps to fit a calf up to 74 cm (30″). Upper leg wraps are also available in this line.

“I really am loving my new “stocking”. When my leg was being wrapped by the “OT” staff the wrapping lasted 1 day and then was too loose. This can be adjusted as needed…A super invention!” – Port Orchard, WA

Juzo has just launched their own wrap and it’s already getting rave reviews. While this wrap functions similarly to the options above, it is unique because it offers customers two color options in one wrap – it’s fully reversible. Currently the Juzo Compression Wraps are only available for the foot and calf, but the upper leg wraps will be added soon. Fits a calf up to 23.5″.

Want to see all the pieces laid out together and easy to browse? Check our page that features full-leg compression wraps.

If one of these ready-to-wear options won’t work for you, custom wraps are available for every part of the body.  Give us a call at 1-877-545-8585.

Pete@BrightLife Direct
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Compression Socks for Athletes

TheraSport Athletic Compression Socks

A growing trend among competitive athletes is the use of compression socks to help improve performance. Compression therapy is a hot topic in sports media right now as a growing number of triathletes, marathon runners and professional sport athletes are trying compression socks to improve their performance and recovery.

However, compression socks aren’t just for the professionals. Tons of weekend warriors and gym-goers swear by them. Whether you wear compression during your workout to keep your legs energized, afterwards to promote muscle recovery, or even while traveling, athletes are making graduated compression socks part of their everyday attire.

A number of sock manufacturers are claiming to offer “compression” socks for athletic use. Unfortunately, many of these so-called “compression” socks do not have true graduated compression. Instead, they may feature a tight foot band, bright colors or vertical stripes, plus a wide variety of other useless features meant to imply foot or leg support. Make sure to look for a compression level, measured in mmHg (millimeters of mercury) when you’re buying compression socks. Compression socks should also be knee high length to get full benefits of compression.

Compression Socks For Performance

Athletic compression socks are designed to improve circulation, reduce fatigue and prevent injury like shin splints. For performance, athletes tend to wear 20-30 mmHg compression socks for longer endurance and to support muscles and ligaments. Many athletic performance socks are made from moisture-wicking fabric to keep your feet cool and dry. Socks that are woven with copper or silver are anti-microbial to prevent odor and bacteria so your feet smell fresh after your workout.

Here are some of our favorite athletic performance socks:

Sigvaris Merino Outdoor Compression SocksThe Sigvaris Outdoor Performance Sock is made with Australian Merino wool, which is anti-microbial, itch-free and absorbs moisture to keep your feet dry while exercising. Despite popular belief, compression socks made with wool are very soft and not only keep your legs warm in the colder months, but will also keep your legs cool in the summer too!

 

Jobst Sport Compression SocksJobst Sport Compression Socks for men and women are lightweight, breathable and soft. These socks also provide moisture control and help to prevent odor to keep your legs fresh and comfortable. Made with a padded foot to absorb impact, these socks are especially great for runners.

 

 

TheraSport Compression Leg SleevesIf you’re looking for lots of color options, the TheraSport Performance Compression Socks are designed with moisture-wicking, anti-microbial fabric and features a cushioned heel and foot to reduce impact. These socks are made for men and women for maximum endurance and energy. TheraSport Compression is also available in calf sleeves.

 

Compression Socks For Recovery

After a grueling workout, put on a pair of 15-20 mmHg compression socks to flush out lactic acid from your muscles. This speeds up muscle recovery and helps to reduce fatigue and swelling. After a marathon or tough gym workout, compression socks will have your legs feeling great the very next day. Wear compression socks for at least a couple of hours after physical activity, but do not sleep in compression socks unless your doctor tells you otherwise – not all compression garments are safe to sleep in.

Here are some of our favorite compression socks for recovery:

Allegro Recovery Compression Socks in BlackThe Allegro Athletic Recovery Sock is one of our best selling athletic socks. Designed for men and women in 4 colors from a super soft material that will sooth your legs and make them feel better in no time – even after a tough workout! These socks feature a ribbed pattern so you can wear them to work or while running errands for continued recovery.

 

 

TheraSport Athletic Compression SocksTheraSport also makes an Athletic Recovery Sock and Recovery Leg Sleeves for men and women. These come in a variety of colors and provide graduated compression to increase circulation and reduce inflammation to help your muscles heal faster.

 

Sigvaris Recovery Compression Socks
Sigvaris Athletic Recovery Socks are made with DriRelease and FreshGuard to eliminate odor and moisture. These compression socks are great to wear during your workout or afterwards to relieve delayed muscle soreness. Designed for men and and women to flush out lactic acid to reduce fatigue and swelling.

 

 

Athletic Leg Sleeves

Sigvaris Performance Leg SleevesCalf sleeves are also great to wear while exercising if you want to wear your favorite pair of ankle socks or shoes. Compression leg sleeves come in a variety of colors and patterns in 15-20 and 20-30 mmHg. These are also great to wear everyday with a pair of open toe shoes or flip flops for continued recovery. Many athletes wear calf sleeves while working out to stabilize and support muscles and to prevent shin splints.

Who can benefit from athletic compression socks?

Performance socks and sleeves are great for marathons, triathlons, biking, golfing, crossfit, and working out at the gym. Compression socks also benefit skiers and snowboarders who are on the slopes for long days. A study in the Journal of Sports Sciences found that 86% of participants reported NO muscle fatigue and soreness after extended strenuous activity when they wore compression socks, compared to only 7% that felt no muscle fatigue after wearing regular socks.

Athletic compression socks are the new fitness essential for everyone from dedicated competitors to the occasional exerciser. Whether you want to get in shape or are looking to gain a competitive edge, compression will help you surpass your fitness goals in no time.

Check out BrightLife Go for more athletic compression socks and sleeves.

Pete@BrightLife Direct
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Compression Socks For Men With Big Feet

It wasn’t all that long ago, when a 6’ tall man with a size 14 shoe had a hard time finding compression stockings that provided a comfortable fit.  Times have changed.  Now most brands have sizes to fit big feet and tall men.

big-feet-blogThe latest option is from Sigvaris.  They recently launched Midtown Microfiber as a replacement for Men’s Select Comfort.  Available in knee highs and thigh highs, Midtown is made from a great fabric that’s really soft and elastic.  Midtown is available in extended foot sizes in the 15-20 and 20-30mmHg knee highs.  Sizes MX, LX, and XX will will fit a men’s shoe size of 12.5-17.5.  This is the largest foot size available in any ready-to-wear support sock.  The rest of the Midtown line fits a shoe size up to 14.

Jobst has offered Tall sizes in their Jobst for Men and for Men Casual lines for some time.  These sizes fit a men’s shoe over 12, and a lower leg length over 19.75”.  Their newer Ambition line, which we’ve heard will eventually replace Jobst for Men, is available in long lengths to fit a lower leg up to 20”, but no foot size is given.

Other options that will fit a men’s size 14 foot include Mediven for Men Select, Jobst SensiFoot, and Juzo Ribbed Silver Sole.

If your feet are larger than your budget, and you don’t want to spend $50 or more on a pair of socks, check out Allegro’s Premium Italian socks.  The Italian Cotton is available in 15-20 and 20-25 mmHg compressions.   The Italian Wool is 15-20mmHg only.  Both will fit a men’s size 14 foot.  Priced at $20.96 for the 15-20 cotton, and $24.94 for the wool and higher compression cotton.

Best Rated Compression Socks for Men and Women

Allegro Italian Cotton Compression Socks

Allegro Italian Cotton Compression Socks

Our customers are very vocal about what they like and don’t like in their compression socks. We have thousands of reviews on our site for hundreds of products, so we understand that it can take some time to sift through all of them to find the perfect sock. Today, we put together a list of our best rated knee high compression socks for men and women.  Check out the products below and let us know if you have a favorite sock that wasn’t included!

All socks are rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest rating. We’ve selected the most popular socks in different compression levels for three categories: unisex, men’s and women’s compression socks.

Best Unisex Knee High Socks

Therafirm Core-Spun Support Socks 10-15 mmHg

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

“Are you under attack by compression socks that squeeze the life out of you? Try these soft, easy to apply compession socks . Finally a comfy fit, that gives you the support you need.” – Dearborn, MI

 

Jobst Sport Sock 15-20mmHg

Rating: 4.9 out of 5

“These are extremely comfortable and different than your traditional compression knee high stockings. They are great to wear to work, class, and the gym! I highly recommend these!” LOUISVILLE, KY

 

Allegro Premium Milk Socks 15-20mmHg

Rating: 4.9 out of 5

“I recently bought 3 different brands of knee high compression socks. I liked 2 brands just fine, but I LOVE MY ALLEGRO PREMIUM MILK SOCKS! They are super soft and stay in place all day without hurting my legs. I highly recommend them to anyone after surgery.”

 

Allegro Premium Italian Cotton Knee Highs 20-25mmHg

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

“I absolutely love these knee highs. The compression is just perfect, particularly around the ankles and the wide band at the top allows for maximum comfort. They do not bind and I have tried many knee highs but they are all too tight in the binding. These are perfect. I would recommend them and will be ordering more. They are also a nice weight and can be worn for most occasions. They also have retained their shape and compression through many washings.” Las Vegas, NV

 

Juzo Soft 2001 Compression Knee High 20-30mmHg

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

“I love these stockings. They are easy to put on and give me wonderful support. They are firm and yet soft on my legs making them the ideal leg wear. I would recommend them to anyone.” – Atlantic, IA

 

Allegro Women's Dress SocksBest Women’s Knee Highs

Allegro Premium Women’s Dress Sock 8-15 mmHg

Rating: 4.8 out of 5

“I love these support socks! I’ve purchased them in both the white and black. I spend the majority of the day on my feet and they keep your legs from becoming tired and just feel great. Pricing is great and shipping is unbelievably fast” Kannapolis, NC

 

Medi Sheer & Soft 15-20mmHg  

Rating: 4.9 out of 5

“These compression hose keep my ankles from swelling, even though they are low compression. They feel and look great and wear well. Thanks Mediven for great Sheer & Soft knee highs.” Waxhaw, NC

 

Jobst SoftFit UltraSheer Knee Highs 15-20mmHg

Rating: 5 out of 5

“Love the texture and feel of these hose – also they stay up instead of rolling down like the old knee highs!” Plymouth, MI

 

Sockwell Women’s Twister Sock 20-30mmHg

Rating: 5 out of 5

“I Love my new Sockwell Twister socks, purchased in 3 colors. They are comfortable, definitely not as hot as my previous support hose, are long enough to go all the way to my knees and don’t fall down. All this and style!” Mora, MN

 

Sigvaris Men's Midtown Microfiber SocksBest Men’s Knee Highs

Allegro Essential – Mens Ribbed Support Socks 8-15mmHg

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

“This is my 3rd order of the mild compression knee socks. I really like the feel and durability. Basically I am sold on this product.” Wellsville, KS

 

Mediven for Men Select 15-20 mmHg

Rating: 5 out of 5

“Quality socks that feel great. Fabric is super soft. Easy to get on and off. Right and left design and labelling is nice and seems to improve fit at front of foot. Tall size option can be helpful. These socks are bound to be among market leaders.” Midland, TX

 

Sigvaris Midtown Microfiber for Men 20-30mmHg

Rating: 5 out of 5

“Love them. The fit is perfect and love the microfiber. Much easier to put on.” San Jose, CA

 

Allegro Essential – Mens Ribbed Support Socks 20-30mmHg

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

“Amazing! This is the first time my husband has used compression socks. He wears them to work, standing all day long. After the first try, there is immediate pain relief in the legs and feet. He is 6’3 with shoe size 13, XL fits perfectly. He is very happy with the purchase.” Henderson, NV

A Comparison of Sheer Compression Stockings

In this update we compare Therafirm Sheer Ease, Allegro Premium Italian Sheers, Allegro Essential Sheers, Juzo Attractive Sheers, Mediven Sheer & Soft, Sigvaris EverSheer and Jobst UltraSheer; the main lines of sheer compression hosiery we sell.  We compare sheerness, knit, construction, color and top band.  To do this, we took a size medium thigh high in a 15-20mmHg compression from each brand in the most skin neutral shade, and put it on a clear leg form in front of a window.  Here’s what we found…..

more-sheers-003Knit and construction were almost identical across the seven brands.  There was no major difference in the construction or size of the foot portion, with the exception of the Allegro Essential Sheers.  This brand has a roomier balloon toe with a seam that runs under the foot between the toes and ball of the foot.  All of the others have a seam running across the end of the toes.  All have a reciprocated heel.  Under a magnifying glass there are differences in the knit, but to the naked eye they look the same, with the exception of the Therafirm which has a less open weave.

We did find a definite difference in the visual sheerness of the stockings.  Sigvaris EverSheer and Allegro Essential Sheers were the clear winners, followed closely by Mediven Sheer & Soft and Allegro Premium Italian Sheers.  Next came Jobst UltraSheer and Juzo Attractive SheersSheer Ease was the least sheer of the group.  For many women, having the sheerest stocking isn’t necessarily an advantage.  The slightly opaque sheers hide skin discolorations, spider veins, and other blemishes while giving the appearance of a sheer stocking.

There wasn’t a huge difference in color.  Again, we chose the nude or natural shade from each brand and placed them in order from lightest to darkest in the photos.  Therafirm nude was the lightest, followed by Allegro Premium nude, Allegro Essential nude, Jobst natural and Sigvaris natural.  Mediven natural was a little darker, and Juzo beige was the darkest.

more-sheer-bands-003

Where these stockings varied the most, aside from sheerness, was in the design of the top band.  All seven have a lace exterior.  The difference was in the design of the silicone on the inside of the band.  Therafirm and both Allegro’s have two strips of silicone.  Jobst gives you the option of traditional strips of silicone, there are two, or silicone dots.  Juzo and Mediven use a low profile honeycomb design.  Sigvaris uses the Sensinnov band, which is a solid sheet of silicone.  They claim this band won’t slip or roll, is very skin friendly, and won’t cause thigh bulge.

By: Pete@BrightLife Direct
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Do Compression Stockings Make Your Legs Itch?

Itching is universal.  Everyone, at some point, has to scratch an itch.

There are so many things that make us itch, besides wearing compression stockings, that determining and eliminating the cause is almost impossible.  Xerosis or dry skin makes us itch.  Allergies, fungal infections, and insect bites can make us itch.  Skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema can cause severe itching.  Even scratching can make us itch more.  Repetitive scratching produces a thick, often slightly darker area of skin, that itches even more.  A topical cream with capsaicin or corticosteroid may be required to break the itch-scratch-itch cycle.

Completely eliminating the itch from compression stockings may not be possible, but you may be able to reduce the severity by moisturizing.  We sell several creams and gels that do a great job of moisturizing your skin, and there are many dermatologist recommended pharmacy brand lotions that do a good job too.  I have very dry and sensitive skin, plus eczema and psoriasis, and have found Cerave lotion does the best job of keeping my skin type moisturized.  I slather it on from head to toe in the morning after I shower, and at night before bed.  In the morning, I try to moisture at least 15-20 minutes before donning my stockings so the lotion has time to be absorbed.  Consistency is important.  If I miss a day or two, my skin starts to itch again, with or without compression stockings.

This regimen won’t work for everyone, but if your legs itch when you wear compression socks, give it a try for a few days to see if it helps you.

More Than A Beautiful Sock

I met the guys behind Top & Derby about a year ago at a medical trade show in Atlanta.  They were displaying the most beautiful canes, made from walnut with a simple silicone handle.  As we talked they mentioned that their next project would be compression stockings.  Based on the design of their canes, I was expecting a beautifully made sock, and they didn’t disappoint.  BrightLife Direct is the first US retailer to sell the new Trig Compression Sock from Top & Derby.

Designed for men and women, the Trig is more than a beautiful geometric pattern.  This stocking is really well made.  The nylon, Lycra blend is substantial without being too thick, and is extremely soft.  There’s a reciprocated heel, so it fits perfectly, and an invisible toe seam for comfort.  The top-band is part of the sock so there’s no binding.  I did a wash and wear test, three times in the washer and dryer, and the stocking stayed up all day.  (Top & Derby recommends you air dry this sock.  It will retain its compression and color longer if you do.)

Trig provides a moderate level of compression, 15-20mmHg, which makes it a perfect choice for travel and everyday wear.  This stocking is sized by ankle and calf circumference, so be sure to measure your leg.  Measure first thing in the morning, around the narrowest part of your ankle and heaviest part of your calf.  Also measure the length of your leg from the floor to bend of knee.

trig-for-blog

The most difficult part of ordering this sock will be deciding what color to buy.  Your choices are “Not your Granny’s Smith”, a combination of yellow, gold, gray and light blue.  “Coral of the Story”, features triangles of deep coral, light coral, brown, blue and beige, and “Going Bare Black” a geometric mixture of blacks and grays.  I couldn’t decide, so I got all three.

Allegro is getting a new look!

Your favorite Allegro compression products are getting a new look.  The stockings will NOT change, but we are very excited to announce redesigned packaging for Allegro. The new packages include illustrated donning instructions, a size chart, care instructions and some easy to understand icons on the front, that tell you a little about the stockings inside.  We’re also reorganizing the products into two groups, Essential and Premium, and making a few name changes so the products are easier to find online.  Product item numbers will remain the same.  Our new packaging will roll-out slowly over the next few months, and you’ll also see a few new products being added.

Here are a few more details on the changes:

  • New organization! With the addition of so many new socks, we’ve organized the Allegro lines into “Essential” and “Premium”.  Essential socks are your favorite everyday, low-cost socks. They’re durable, comfortable and won’t strain your wallet. Allegro Premium Socks are made from more luxurious materials, like Italian Cotton, and are priced a bit higher.
  • The dance names sadly, are dancing away.  The Jig, Swing, Samba, Jazz, and Paso Doble were fun, but they didn’t describe the products very well.  New product names will now be more descriptive.  For example, the Allegro Jig Cotton Sock will now be called the Allegro Essential – Unisex Cotton Compression Sock.
  • The item numbers will NOT change.  If your favorite sock is the #100 – it will still be the #100 on the new packaging and online.
  • New products! We listened to your feedback, and went on a hunt to find the best compression products available.  We found premium sheer stockings, wool knee highs, an open toe cotton sock, and a super soft sock made with milk fibers.  Details on these exciting new products will be coming soon.

Check out some of our new packaging artwork below and let us know what you think!

new allegro package blog

The Healing Power of Silver

Many of you already know Oslo the Schnauzer, our company Mascot and unofficial “Director of Security”.  I took Oslo to the dog park last Sunday.  Oslo was romping and rolling with her best girlfriends, Eloise and Ramona.  Their “play” is always friendly but they do sometimes get overly exuberant.  As the dogs were running circles around me I received an accidental but nasty scratch on my calf from one of their paws.

dogs-for-blogWhen I got home I cleaned and disinfected the scratch and didn’t really think about it again until Monday morning.  Both my socks and jeans rubbed on my calf, and although it wasn’t painful, it was very irritating.  Earlier that morning I had read an article in the Washington Post about how hospitals are starting to install copper handles, switches, and fixtures to fight the spread of viruses and bacteria.  Both copper and silver have been used for centuries to clean wounds and fight infections.  What luck that BrightLife sells a soft tubular bandage with X-Static silver threads.  We sell it to patients and medical facilities for use in the treatment of lymphedema, dermatological infections, and wounds.  Unlike other bandages, this slightly elastic tubular bandage slips on arms and legs without adhesive.  There is no screaming and crying like the kind that occurs when you yank an off adhesive bandage.  I cut a piece off a 3” roll, slipped it on my leg, and the irritation was gone instantly.

petes-leg-for-blogIt’s Tuesday morning and I’m still wearing the Silverseal X-Static Tubular Bandage on my leg.  There’s no pain or irritation, and the scratch is healing nicely.  Both my leg and I should be ready to take Oslo to the dog park this coming weekend.

Healing and Preventing Leg Ulcers

Every year in the US, 2.5 million individuals develop leg ulcers, the majority of these are due to severe venous insufficiency, or poor circulation.   Healing a leg ulcer is a long, slow process that requires compliance and perseverance.  Swelling in the leg needs to be reduced, and blood flow to the affected area needs to be reestablished.  This is typically accomplished with a combination of compression bandages and compression stockings.  Once healed, it’s imperative that compression be used on a regular basis to prevent the ulcer from reoccurring.

Mediven recently introduced a new double sock combination for the treatment and prevention of venous ulcers.   Consisting of a low compression closed toe stocking liner, with a higher compression outer stocking, the Dual Sock System is available in 30-40 mmHg and 40-50mmHg.  Layering socks makes wearing a higher compressions much more comfortable, and comfort along with ease of donning increases compliance.

Mediven Dual Layer Sock

Wearing two socks together has a number of advantages.  The inner liner sock has a light compression, which makes it much easier to put on.  It can be donned without disturbing a wound or wound dressing.  Treated with ClimaFresh Odor Protection, the inner sock also helps inhibit bacterial growth.  The liner can be worn alone at night, if prescribed by your doctor, although care needs to be taken that it doesn’t roll-down.  Studies have shown that wearing two socks in combination, offers better containment than a single stocking.  And finally, the inner sock makes it MUCH easier to put on the higher compression outer sock.

Mediven’s Dual Layer Sock System is sold in pairs, 2-liners and 2-outer stockings, along with a foot slippie to make donning even easier.  Both compression levels are Medicare approved, if you have an active venous ulcer on your leg.