Best Socks for Mail Carriers & Postmen

As a postman or postwoman, you’re on your feet all day long! Monday through Saturday you’re walking block after block, carrying a hefty bag, and delivering letters, packages and postcards to houses, apartments, businesses, and more. With little to no rest, except maybe a quick drive to the next part of the city, post office workers often complain of tired, aching, painful feet and legs. Leg and foot pain, varicose veins, spider veins, swollen ankles and feet are all pretty much occupational hazards for postmen. If you’ve already invested in comfortable walking shoes, what more can you do to prevent these symptoms? The answer is simple, but not often known – compression socks!

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So – what’s happening with your legs and why do compression socks help?

When you’re on your feet all day, 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’re standing, 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 and your delivery route continues, your feet and ankles start to swell and your legs begin to feel tired, heavy and sometimes throb with pain. You feel this way because all of the blood pumping through your legs isn’t making it back up to your heart – instead it’s pooling in your veins (thus the spider and varicose veins) and 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. So – no more spider and varicose veins, more energy, and less pain.

When choosing a list of recommended socks for mail carriers, we looked for a padded foot bed, breathable fabric, and moisture-wicking qualities.  We’re recommending socks with 15-20 mmHg of compression, which is a safe level to start with. If you have very painful varicose veins or sever swelling, consult your doctor to see if a stronger compression level is needed. All of these socks look like socks (surprised?) – they don’t resemble the compression socks you may envision your grandmother wearing.

  1. Allegro Athletic Copper Sole Sock – This sock works well for men and women. The copper woven into this sock actually kills bacteria on your feet. This actually prevents smelly feet at the end of the day and athlete’s foot.
  2. Sigvaris Merino Outdoor Sock – Wool sounds like a winter fabric, but it’s actually thermo-regulating – meaning it will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. This is a really high quality, durable product that’s great for both men and women.
  3. Mediven Active Sock – A truly indestructible sock, meant for all day, every day use. Incredibly soft and comfortable – made with a fabric that’s wonderful for sensitive skin.

Affordable Compression Stockings

A pair of 15-20mmHg Jobst UltraSheer pantyhose currently costs $59.92.  A pair of Jobst for Men knee highs in the same compression are $35.92.  Both are very nice stockings, but many people can’t or don’t want to spend $60 on a pair of stockings…. even if they do make your legs feel better.  There are other options.

Allegro Compression Stockings are knit on the same machines (Merz and Lonati) as Jobst and the other major brands.   A pair of 15-20mmHg Allegro Sheer pantyhose are $21.94, with an open or closed toe.  Allegro Men’s Nylon Dress socks are $14.12.  For $16.94 you can get a men’s knee high knit from a combination of microfiber and cotton, very similar to Jobst Casual for Men.  And these are our everyday Allegro prices.   When we have a buy 3 get 1 free sale, you can save an additional 25%.

allegro-blogSo what is the difference?   A big part of the price difference is marketing.  Unlike Jobst, Allegro doesn’t have an army of salespeople making calls to convince doctors to recommend their brand.  Allegro is packaged in a simple poly-bag with a paper insert… no fancy box.  The fibers and fabric used by Jobst are perhaps a bit more expensive, but both stockings provide the same degree of graduated compression that will reduce swelling, increase blood flow, and make your legs feel better.

If you wear compression stockings, give Allegro a try.  BrightLife offers a 30-day money back guarantee if you aren’t completely satisfied.  And don’t miss out on our amazing sales.  Because Allegro isn’t covered under minimum advertised pricing (MAP) like the major brands, we offer discounts throughout the year.  Be sure to sign-up for our emails so you don’t miss out on these great opportunities to save some money…. one is coming up very soon.

Pete@BrightLife Direct

Foot Care Not a Priority for Most Americans

The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) just released a fascinating new national opinion survey on American foot health. The most interesting factoid? Americans have a lot of foot problems, and yet they don’t do much to improve their foot health.

APMA reports:

  • 8 in 10 Americans have experienced a foot problem, and half report that it has impacted their quality of life.
  • Despite pain and problems, only 25% of Americans say they care for their feet all of the time (foot care includes clipping toe nails, applying foot lotions, wearing foot insoles, purchasing foot friendly shoes, etc.)

Foot problems that Americans admitted to having included:

  • Sweaty, smelly feet
  • Toe nail problems
  • Heel pain/plantar fasciitis
  • Pain in the ball of foot
  • Pain from high heels
  • Bunions
  • Bone spurs
  • Tendinitis
  • Stress Fractures
  • Hammertoes
  • Pinched nerve

And, researchers have also found that those that have foot problems are more likely to have health issues with other parts of their body, including back pain, knee pain, weight issues and more. These side effects make sense. Foot pain will keep people off of their feet, which limits exercise and activity.

Even though using our feet is SO important to our daily activities and movement – caring for them seems to be the last thing on our minds. We’re going to add “better foot care” to our mid-year resolutions and here are a few things we’ll be trying:

  • Wear socks infused with silver or copper to kill odor causing bacteria. Not sure what I’m talking about? See our post on smelly feet!
  • Take care of your toe nails: Eat food rich in protein, vitamin B7 and calcium for healthy nails. Make sure you trim hangnails immediately and keep nails at a short length. Avoid using nail polish remover with Acetone – it dries nails out.
  • Wear shoe inserts to prevent and ease foot pain. Plantar Fascitis is a common and incredibly painful foot condition that occurs in the heel of the foot. Wearing over the counter shoe supports are an easy and inexpensive way to improve the way your foot feels.
  • Wear shoes that fit. I know personally how tempting it is to buy clearance shoes that are half a size, or sometimes an entire size off. For me, this usually ends in blisters and heel/arch pain after one wearing. Think of buying the correct shoe size as an investment in your feet!
  • Compression socks! If you’re on your feet all day, wearing a light compression sock can make a world of difference. They improve circulation, prevent swelling and can even provide arch support. If you’ve never worn compression before, try a 15-20 mmHg sock and see what I’m talking about.

Do you have any other foot health tips?

New imaging technology for the lymphatic system will provide earlier detection and better treatment options

The lymphatic system in our bodies is a circulatory system, similar to veins and arteries that transport our blood.  It works like a drainage system, removing cellular waste and fluid from the surrounding tissue and helping our body fight infections.

When the lymphatic system isn’t working properly due to a blockage, trauma, or surgery, it can be difficult for doctors to see exactly where the problem is.  Lymph vessels are very tiny, and they’re filled with a clear fluid that lacks natural contrast that would make it visible on a CT scan or MRI.  Current Imaging technology, called lymphoscintigraphy, relies on a radioactive compound being injected into the skin.  It can take 20-45 minutes for one scan, and the resulting image is small and grainy.  The smallest vessels, which make up the bulk of the lymphatic system, aren’t visible at all using this technology.  Another drawback of lymphoscintigraphy is it can’t capture the flow of fluid within the lymphatic vessels.

At the Conference of Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO), taking place this week in San Jose, CA, a team of researchers from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School will demonstrate a new technology that can non-invasively image the human lymphatic system.  The procedure is called near-infrared fluorescence lymphatic imaging (NIRFLI).  A fluorescent dye and commercially-available laser diode, along with military-grade night vision devices are used to visualize the lymphatic capillaries.  By taking multiple images, a movie of the lymphatics can be created.

This new imaging technology promises dramatic improvements in patient care.  It will allow even the tiniest lymph vessels to be imaged, and it can measure fluid flow throughout the lymphatic system—two types of measurements that are impossible with currently available technology.

Scientist John Rasmussen, part of the UTHealth research team said, “We feel that the ability to see the lymphatics will provide opportunities to revolutionize lymphatic care.”  This should offer hope to breast cancer survivors, who are at high risk for developing lymphedema.  The lack of high-resolution images was a major barrier to early diagnosis for this disease.  By detecting lymphedema early, before swelling occurs, doctors will be able to offer treatment options that will lead to better outcomes for their patients.

NIRFLI was developed with funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and in collaboration with Eva Sevick-Muraca and other scientists and engineers at UTHealth. UTHealth has licensed the technology to NIRF Imaging, Inc. for commercialization.

Pete@BrightLife Direct