Get Dirty

What does dirt have to do with compression…nothing specifically, but it turns out that like compression socks, it can be beneficial to everyone’s overall health.

I grew up in a small town, in central Wisconsin.  As soon as I got home from school, I changed into my play clothes and headed outside until dinner.  I’ve always been very fastidious about cleanliness, but that didn’t stop me from exploring the pond behind our house , the creek across the street, and all the dirt in between.  I played with frogs, bugs, and worms, ate vegetables right from the garden, and my dog loved to lick my face.  Now that I’m closing in on 60, I give a lot of credit for my good health to all of the germs I met as a kid.  Now science is confirming the importance of the microbes and bacteria we are exposed to at a very early age.

Dirt Is GoodIn their new book “Dirt is Good”, scientists Jack Gilbert, PHD and Rob Knight, PHD, along with Sandra Blakeslee explain the importance of germs in the development of our immune system at a very early age.  And, how growing up in an over sterilized environment can actually be detrimental to our health in the long term and cause a lot of the new allergies we’ve seen in the last few years. It’s not just playing in the mud, though. The authors encourage a lot of behaviors that might make parents squirm, like letting a dog lick their child’s face, or eating something that’s been on the floor.

So, if you’re lucky enough to live in a place where nature is easily accessible, don’t be afraid to let your kids go outside and get a little dirty.   It’s great fun for them in the moment, and offers the possibility of significant health benefits years later.  

And to those of a younger generation, when your parents or grandparents complain of aching legs, or you notice spider or varicose veins on their ankles, encourage them to try a pair of compression stockings.   A mild or moderate compression is typically all that’s needed to treat these symptoms.  Both are easy to put on, comfortable to wear, and like a little dirt, can provide health benefits that last into old age.

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.


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.