When you have vein disease, you may experience a wide range of symptoms, from tired heavy legs to changes in the appearance of your skin. One potential skin change you may experience is the development of a venous skin ulcer (a sore on your leg that’s hard to heal, usually because your circulation isn’t working well.) While ulcers can be difficult to treat, a new study is now suggesting that exercise, in combination with compression therapy, can help ulcers heal faster!
According to research published in JAMA Dermatology, ulcer patients who tried compression therapy and exercise healed quicker than those who only used compression therapy. Compression therapy, usually in the form of socks or stockings, helps heal leg ulcers by directing more blood flow to your legs. In this new study, researchers reviewed clinical information for 190 patients, and found that healing rates improved by 14% when patients were prescribed compression therapy and exercise, as compared to compression therapy alone. For the purposes of this review, the exercise included walking and ankle exercises, both of which improve blood flow and strengthen calf muscles. Strong calf muscles can help manage the symptoms of vein disease because, when they contract properly, those muscles can help give blood the push it needs to make its way back to your heart.
As Houston vein specialists, we are dedicated to improving vein health and helping people heal from vein disease. With that goal in mind, we dedicate frequent Monday blog posts to exercises that may help improve your vein health. Given the findings in this study, today’s post will highlight ankle exercises you can do from anywhere, and without any equipment. As always, consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise plan!
Five Ankle Strengthening Exercises for Improved Circulation
- Standing on one foot: Begin by just standing on one leg at a time, and holding the position for as long as you can. Once that becomes fairly easy to pull off, try doing the same thing, but with your eyes closed.
- Standing calf raises: Lift yourself up on your toes for 15 reps, taking a brief pause between sets. If you are ready for more of a challenge, do the exercise on one leg at a time, or hold a light set of weights while you do the raises
- Heel walks: Lift your toes and forefoot off the ground. Walk back and forth across the room, balancing on your heels.
- Hop Around: Stand on your right leg. Hop forward, sideways and backward up to 30 repetitions, if you are ready for that kind of challenge. Then switch legs and repeat the moves on your left foot.
- Skater jumps: Start in a standing position on your left leg. Propel yourself to the right using the muscles in your left glute, and land on your right leg with a bent knee. Jump back to the left side, using the muscles in your right glute to move you over.