I know it’s winter so you aren’t running around outside in your shorts or skirts, but as soon as January is over most folks around here make the change to spring and all that comes with it. It might be more of a mental change (hope?), but February brings the reminder that short and swimsuit season is just around the corner! So, how are those varicose veins treating you? For some of you they might be physically painful, but for the vast majority of you I would venture to guess that they are more painful to the eye than anything else. I’ve had clients who are embarrassed to wear shorts in the clinic because of what their legs look like due to their varicosities. If they aren’t comfortable in a one-on-one environment, think how self-conscious they must get in public.
I’m sure you’ve heard several reasons why you have them: prolonged standing, pregnancy, age, obesity, etc. But have you ever stopped to actually think through these ’causes’? And, have you ever thought about why you have them on one leg and not the other? Or, why they are worse on one ankle or knee than the other? Think back to the ’causes’ from above. Wouldn’t all of these ’causes’ result in the varicosities being equal on both sides of the body? Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re standing with two leg. Your varicose veins should be the same then. My wife has birthed one child and our second is one the way. Varicose veins? Nope. My sister has birthed two kids. Varicose veins? Yep. So, is pregnancy really to blame? I don’t think so. And, what about ‘age’ being a cause? If age is to blame, your varicosities should look exactly the same on both sides of the body. If one knee has more varicose veins than the other (and if age is the contributing factor), that would suggest that your knees are different ages…right? And, when age is used as a ’cause’, I always sit back and wonder when I’ll turn that magical age and be given the ‘gift’ of varicose veins! Is it 32, 47, 51, 65? And then there’s obesity. While agree that being overweight isn’t healthy, I don’t believe it’s a determining factor with varicose veins. If it is, and your varicosities aren’t equal on both sides of your body, that means that one side, or knee, or ankle, is ‘fatter’ than the other. That just doesn’t make sense.
So, enough about the actual veins. Let’s get to why I’m writing on this subject. I’m writing to give you hope that you don’t have to have them! No, I’m not talking about getting them injected with saline. And, I’m not talking about expensive and uncomfortable compression socks. I’m talking about actually getting rid of them: getting to the “WHY” behind having them in the first place.
For those of you who know about Egoscue or have read my articles before, you know we look at the body from a posture perspective. We look at ‘position’ of the body rather than ‘condition’ of the body. The good news is that your circulatory system and varicose veins are no different!
Take a look at this photo:
Does anything look ‘off’ to you? First of all, notice the difference between the varicosities when comparing her left and right legs. Her veins are much worse on the left leg than the right. Obviously there’s a huge difference in the before and after photos. It looks like the treatment worked, but expand your view. Look at her knee and foot/ankle position. Notice the different angles her femurs (big leg bone) are sitting at. Her left femur is at a much greater angle toward the knee joint, and as a result, the tibia and fibular are now traveling down at an angle toward the ankle joint/foot. Keep in mind that the femur should be sitting directly above the tibia in a straight line. Also take note of the direction her knee caps are pointing. They should be pointing straight back toward the camera. And, her feet should be pointing at the camera as well. Notice that her knee caps and feet not only turn out, but they turn out at different angles. Her left foot and knee cap are pointed to ‘11:00′ while her right foot and knee cap are pointed to ‘2:00′. This is a recipe for disaster!
The circulatory system can’t function properly in this environment. Think about your circulatory system in terms of a highway. Now, imagine that highway under construction. If you take four lanes of traffic and reroute everyone to a one-lane side road, things will slow down. Yes, things will be moving, but there will be a serious traffic jam! Your circulatory system is no different. With the ankle and knee joints in a compromised position (‘under construction’), you are now asking four lanes of traffic to take to the backroads. Yes, you’ll get to where you’re doing, but there will be a domino effect.
It’s not the fault of standing too long, being pregnant, ago or obesity (or even a faulty valve). It’s nothing more than a posture problem. Remember–position vs. condition. So, how do we correct the cause, rather than treating the effect? Honestly, it’s simple. The e-cise below, called Supine Groin Progressive or the “Tower”, will help reconnect the kinetic chain and get your ankle, knee, and hip functioning as a unit again. The Tower is THE key aspect of our therapy. It’s the most powerful e-cise we have. It’s designed to bring the ankle, knee, hip and shoulder joints back to their proper position while allowing the muscles of the body to return to their proper length and tension. If you don’t have the Tower, you can find it at www.therapyzone.com. For those of you struggling with any type of chronic pain, it will most definitely help that as well.
As always, don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions. Keep moving!