Hello! My name is Dina. I’m a second-year Physician Assistant student in New England. Being a clinical year student completing clinical rotations, no two days are alike. Our schedules are constantly up in the air so being flexible is the name of the game. In some specialities like psychiatry, I am sitting for 9 hours straight. On other rotations like general surgery, I am on my feet either running to consults or standing and holding laparoscopes for hours on end. Sometimes I work weekends or overnights, other times I’m on call and can get called in at the drop of a hat. Some days I get to go home early, and others I’m working for hours past when I was scheduled.
How do I manage this unpredictability? I have learned to adapt and make the most of any breaks I get. I have come to rely on living out of my car and carrying snacks and extra changes of clothes with me! Is my car an absolute disaster 99% of the time? You bet! But…that way, eating healthy and getting my body moving become much easier when I take away the chance to come up with excuses! But hey, who am I kidding? There are still days when I give in and crave for takeout and a good Netflix binge.
Why do I put such an importance on things like nourishing and taking care of my body? I remember well the days of pulling all-nighters, going from sitting in one place to another, eating whatever was free or I felt like indulging in. I know that when I sit on the couch studying in the same position for 12hrs, my back is going to be in agony. I know that when I rely on coffee as my main food group, my digestion is probably going to be all out of whack. These seemingly small decisions are decisions that make an enormous cumulative impact on how you think, how you operate, and how you perform in whatever profession you pursue!
So what’s the solution and how did I start? I started to implement small changes. Start with something simple. Set a timer and walk around every hour or two to give yourself a mental and physical break to get the blood moving. Add in one high fibre food instead of cutting a bunch of carbs. Set a goal to make your bed even one day a week. For me, one such small step that made a huge difference was levelling up my sock game!
Initially, I had known about compression socks because we recommend them to patients with circulatory issues. I started wearing compression socks in my clinical year to help with standing on my feet for long hours. I had been in my second rotation on the ENT (ears, nose, throat) service, wearing completely worn out running sneakers and my regular socks wondering why my legs and back were in HORRIFIC pain. After the suggestions of my colleagues, that night I bought a pair of nursing clogs and a cheap set of 5 compression socks on Amazon. However even after they arrived, I couldn’t figure out why it didn’t help. Little did I know, buying generic “one size fits all” compression socks doesn’t work…ask anyone that relies on these every day. They dug into my calves and caused more problems than they helped. This defeated the entire purpose of compression socks, which is to promote proper circulation in your lower legs.
Normally our venous system pumps the deoxygenated blood from your feet alllll the way back to your heart to be reoxygenated and sent back to all of your body’s tissues. When you are on your feet for extended periods of time where gravity is exerting its effects, or you have a compromised venous return system due to underlying pathology, the blood return back to the heart is compromised. That’s when you may feel your legs get achy, heavy, and swollen.
Now enough of that biology lecture, let’s get back to why those socks didn’t work. I had honestly lost hope. Rotations are hard enough between the amount of information you’re responsible for knowing, the sheer number of patients, tough preceptors, difficult hours, etc. The last thing I wanted to worry about was the physical pain of being on my feet all day. So after the failed attempt with my compression socks, I just gave up on wearing them altogether. Womp, womp.
Fast forward to my surgery rotation when one of the OR nurses insisted I try again, but this time find a company that produces quality socks and more importantly, socks that are fitted to MY calf measurement instead of a generic one size fits all brand. That’s how I came across Alpha Sole and I can’t believe I hadn’t started sooner. Not having to deal with the end of the day heaviness and tightness in my legs is a lifesaver. In addition, I am heavily predisposed to developing varicose veins so ya girl is going to do whatever it takes to prevent that!
This was one of those small changes I made that ended up making an enormous positive impact, and now it’s part of my daily care routine. Alpha Sole socks have worked so well for me because I chose a company that makes socks fitted to the size of my calves. Not only that, but they’re uniquely formulated with graduated compression so that they squeeze tighter at the ankles than at the calves to promote the circulation back to the heart. If that’s not enough for ya, they have socks infused with copper ions, a feature that fights odor and has anti-microbial properties (read about it here!). All features my cheap pairs from Amazon certainly didn’t have!
I really cannot say enough good things about Alpha Sole’s compression socks and will continue wearing them and recommending them to my peers, colleagues, friends, etc. People from all walks of life can benefit from them, not just healthcare workers! Waiters, cashiers, flight attendants, chefs, pregnant moms, travelers, runners, the list goes on and on. So what are you waiting for?! Start making some changes for YOU today. Do something that your body will thank you for. Alpha Sole is the perfect way to start!
- Dina @pa_strong
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