Why do your feet and ankles swell?

Peripheral edema, swelling in your feet and ankles, is the result of edema fluid seeping out of your veins.  Edema fluid is the liquid your blood cells float around in.

To prevent this from happening all the time, your body maintains a very delicate balance of pressure inside your veins.  Hydrostatic pressure is exerted by the weight of the fluid, in this case, your blood on the walls of your veins.  The second type of pressure is osmotic.  Osmotic pressure is created by large proteins in the blood, mainly albumin, that prevents leakage from the veins.  Disruption of these two opposing pressures can result in fluid escaping and swelling.

Varicose veins, congestive heart failure, medications, protein depletion, kidney and liver disease, pregnancy and sitting for long periods of time are just a few of the things that can disturb the delicate balance of pressure in your veins.

Finding the exact cause of swelling (edema) can be very difficult.  Thankfully finding a treatment is much easier…compression stockings.

To read more, see the full article from The Washington Post and Consumer Reports Health.

Pete@BrightLife Direct

Why do these compression socks cost $12.95 and those cost $62.74?

First, compression stockings in general are more expensive than regular stockings because they are considered a medical device.  As such, they are subject to rigorous testing and must meet strict standards of performance.  In order for socks to be medically effective they must have true graduated compression, which means a higher amount of compression at the ankle that decreases up the leg.

Within the category of  graduated compression hosiery you can still find enormous price differences.  The low priced options are private label brands like Allegro and economy lines from the major manufacturers like Jobst Relief.  On the high end are premium lines like Jobst UltraSheerMediven Plus, and Juzo Soft.

All of the major compression garment manufacturers offer a line of hosiery at a lower price point. Jobst’s economy line is called Relief, Mediven Assure, Sigvaris is Access and Basic is the Juzo low-price option.  They are cheaper because they are made with less expensive fibers which may not have as much “strechiness” and may not be as pliable making them harder to don, and often don’t have the soft, smooth touch of the premium stockings.  Sizing options and colors are often limited.  It is important to note that the economical stockings still offer the same compression level, medical efficacy, and are generally as durable.

The premium lines, like Jobst UltraSheer and Medi’s Sheer & Soft, can be very sheer and quite durable because of the quality, strength, and thinness of the fibers.  The premium men’s socks may have a better grade of cotton or use more expensive synthetics that improve comfort and temperature control.  They may also have additives such as lanolin or silver for anti-microbial properties.  The silicone bands on the thigh highs are usually of better quality which improves the garment’s ability to stay in place.  Premium products are also available in a greater selection of colors and styles.

There is no question that you will pay more for the premium brand label.  These companies invest quite a lot of money in research and development, testing, and quality control.   They also maintain a huge sales force to call on medical professionals and their marketing expenses are quite high.

Private label products such as BrightLife Direct’s Allegro are generally the best value.  One way to think of Allegro is as a generic version of a name brand alternative.  Private label stockings are usually made with the same knitting equipment and also have the same medical efficacy and durability.  We buy Allegro in very large quantities from a hosiery mill that also makes product for the name brand manufacturers.  Since BrightLife Direct has no outside sales force, uses inexpensive packaging, and buys directly from the factories, we are able to offer similar quality product at a greatly reduced price.

Pete@BrightLife Direct

Should A Gauntlet Be Worn With A Compression Sleeve… Continued

Several weeks ago we did a blog about compression gauntlets.   Are they necessary if there’s no sign of lymphedema in the hand?  Based on the responses of the lymphedema therapists in the workshop we wrote about, the answer is a definite yes.

Our friend Josh Levin at LympheDivas read our blog and sent a link to a white paper on their website that covers the same subject matter.  The paper was written by Dr. Andrea Cheville, Associate Professor of Physical Medicine at the Mayo Clinic.  Dr. Cheville treated Josh’s sister Rachel, one of the founders of LympheDivas.

Like our lymphedema therapists, Dr. Cheville recommends the use of a glove or gauntlet with a sleeve.  This is especially true when taking part in activities that increase lymph production, like airplane travel, exercise, and repetitive activities.  Dr. Ceville likens a gauntlet to buying insurance.  The risk of getting lymphedema in the hand is present for all with lymphedema in the arm.  Using a gauntlet offers protection against that risk.


Pete@BrightLife Direct