Gladiator sandals are one of the most popular trends this Summer. However, these strappy sandals carry a hidden danger: they put extra stress on your feet, ankles and calves, which can have permanent consequences for your legs. Really tight straps put pressure on your vein walls and contribute to the swelling of your feet and legs, especially if worn for long periods of time. While the swelling goes away after you take off your shoes, the real problem is that constricting footwear can instigate or worsen spider veins, those fine blood vessels that are visible through the skin.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to choose between smooth legs and effortlessly chic sandals. There are ways to prevent spider veins from appearing or worsening.
Give your feet a rest – Don’t use tight sandals every day, give your veins a break by choosing comfortable, low heeled shoes a few times a week. Flats can look cute too and they might save your legs.
Sit down – Don’t stand for long periods of time, as that causes blood to pool in your legs and increase swelling. Sit periodically and get your feet off the ground, even for a bit. This is especially necessary if you are using high-heeled sandals, because the combined pressure of the heel and the straps will make your feet swell up even more.
Get the right fit – Sounds pretty obvious, but if you are not comfortable in a pair of sandals, don’t wear them. Even half a size too small can damage your legs. Use the “two-finger test” when buckling your sandals. Insert two fingers underneath each strap. If you can’t get them in there or it’s too tight, you need looser straps. If you can, undo the buckles for a couple of minutes every few hours to undo the compression.
Put your feet up – Whenever you can, prop your legs up, parallel to the ground for twenty minutes to reduce swelling. During your breaks, prop your feet 6 inches above your heart to drain your legs and aid blood flow. You will instantly feel better.
Promote circulation – Uncross your legs right this instant, as that constricts your veins and promotes swelling. While you are at it, get up and walk around at least once an hour and rotate your ankles, move your feet and flex your toes when you are sitting down. Moving as much as you can reactivates blood flow and helps prevent spider veins.
Change your diet – Eat less salt on your daily diet, since it makes your body retain water and promotes swelling. Another good change would be to add more fiber to your diet. It will prevent constipation, which can put extra pressure on the circulatory system and promotes spider veins.