What to Wear Under a Splint or Cast

BiaCare Cotton Tubular Stockinette

We recently had a customer looking for fabric to wear under her soft cast after breaking her arm.  Many doctors and hospitals will recommend purchasing a long sock, cutting off the end and pulling that over your arm or leg, but this can actually irritate the skin, and cause swelling if the sock band is too constricting. The best thing to wear under a splint or cast is a stockinette. These products are thin and stretchy, and can be cut to fit any size arm, leg, foot, wrist or finger. They are also designed to be cut, so there will be no fraying or running in the fabric. Here are two popular products:

  • Silverseal X-Static Tubular Component – This product is especially useful if you’ve had surgery on your arm/leg, or if you have injuries or abrasions on your skin. Silver, which is woven into the fabric, is naturally anti-microbial. That means that it will kill any bacteria on your skin, protecting your skin from infection. It also means that it won’t get stinky. This product can be machine washed and dried.
  • BiaCare Cotton Tubular Stockinette  – This is a great product for anyone with sensitive skin. It’s made with 100% cotton and can be machine washed and dried.

Hiking – How to Prevent Swollen Legs and Ankles

6924462211_1731888c3b_zI recently saw an interesting question related to hiking on Backpacker.com:

Q.} Just had a wonderful time hiking the Grand Canyon. But after 28 miles, I have swollen, painful legs from the knee through the ankle. Any tips for recovery?

Buck Tilton, who answers medical related questions in the Ask the Expert section of Backpackers.com, responded by suggesting hikers stay hydrated and consider wearing compression socks.

We couldn’t agree more – hikers should wear compression socks! Hiking long distances can put a great deal of pressure on your vascular system. When you’re on your feet all day long, your veins have trouble working against gravity to move blood from your feet to your heart.  This pressure on your veins can cause aching pains, a heavy feeling, and swelling in the ankles and feet The best way to take pressure off of your veins is to do exactly what Buck suggested – wear support hosiery. Compression socks enhance the body’s ability to move blood from your legs to your hearts, so fresh oxygenated blood is able to get to the muscles and tissue in your legs.

In addition to preventing swelling and pain, you may find that you’re able to hike for longer distances in your compression socks and have an easier start the next morning. Studies have shown that wearing compression during and after physical activity improves performance and reduces recovery time – all due to that improved circulation of blood.

There are tons of athletic compression socks on the market now that will fit in perfectly with your more traditional hiking outfits and look great too. You should always look for socks that promise to wick away moisture, provide arch support, and are well padded. We recommend the Sigvaris Performance Series Socks as well as the VitalSox Outdoor and VitalSox Athletic compression socks.

Sigvaris Graduated Compression Image

To be clear – in Buck’s post on Backpacker.com, he suggests that support hosiery applies pressure from the toes up, but this is not the case. Proper compression hosiery applies graduated compression from the ankles up. This image from Sigvaris explains exactly how compression is applied to the leg. As you can see, the total percentage of pressure on the leg decreases from the ankle up. Many brands of compression socks will fit snugly around your feet, providing great arch support, but not applying pressure.

Best Socks for Chefs

chef-cooking-mr-gallery-xAs a chef, you rarely get a chance to sit down and rest.  And – last time I checked – there aren’t many commercial kitchens that even have a chair for chefs to have a moment off their feet. You’re literally standing or on the move the whole time you’re working! While I often find chefs discussing the best shoes to wear to work, I rarely hear chefs discussing the virtues of a particular sock. But, socks are integral to keeping your feet and legs pain free, and preventing varicose and spider veins.

Today we’re listing our top socks for chefs. These socks feature two key qualities: graduated compression and temperature-control fabric.

Compression: Why would a chef need to wear compression socks? When you’re standing all day in the kitchen, gravity has an enormous effect on the circulation of your blood.  As you probably remember from anatomy, blood pumps from your heart into arteries, which carries the fresh, oxygenated blood to all of your extremities. Veins are then supposed to bring the blood back to your heart for fresh oxygen. When we stand, our veins have to work a great deal harder to pump that blood from our feet back to our heart. So, as the day wears on, our feet and ankles start to swell and our legs begin to feel tired, heavy and sometimes achy. You feel this way because all of the blood isn’t making it back up to your heart – instead it’s pooling at your ankles (thus the swelling). Graduated compression socks help those veins push blood back up to your heart. These socks gently encourage blood back up the leg, increasing blood circulation and reducing pressure on your veins. It may sound foreign to many chefs to put on compression socks (something we associate with the elderly), but nurses have been wearing them for years.

Temperature Control: Kitchens can be HOT. With people running every direction and all the ovens on in one room, you’re probably breaking out in a sweat. Are you socks helping to cool you down? They should be. When shopping for socks for work, chefs should consider fabrics that wick away sweat and keep legs and feet cool. Merino wool, microfiber and cotton are great moisture-wicking fabrics. Additionally, if you tend to have smelly feet issues, you should only consider socks that have silver and copper woven into the fabric. These metals kill the bacteria that cause odor on our feet, so at the end of your shift there’s no embarrassing smell when you take those socks off.

Here’s our list of recommended socks for chefs:

Sigvaris Merino Wool Performance Socks – For men & women, these socks are made with soft, thermo-regulating merino wool and feature a cushioned foot bed for maximum comfort.

Allegro Athletic Copper Support Socks – For both men & women, these socks are infused with copper to kill 99.9% of bacteria on your foot. They also feature a heavily padded foot bed and CoolMax polyester to keep feet and legs cool.

Jobst Active – Guaranteed to provide 360 degree comfort on your feet, these socks are made with Dri-Release yarn to keep feet cool and come in wide-calf sizes to fit any leg.

Sigvaris Cushioned Cotton Socks – These cotton socks will not only keep your legs cool, but are also great for sensitive skin. They contain built in arch support to ensure your feet are pain free by the end of the day.

Are you a chef? What socks do you wear regularly to keep your feet and legs feeling energized?