How to Prevent the Thanksgiving Burn Out

Everyone is excited about Thanksgiving. Family in town, amazing food, and a time to give thanks. You are so excited in the festive mood, however by the time you get to a great festive feast your legs are tired and aching and you are purely exhausted from standing in the kitchen cooking. Hopefully, at least everyone tells you how good the food is. After standing in the kitchen for two days cooking you might be physically exhausted, but why do your legs ache so much and how can you prevent cooking burnout this thanksgiving?

When a person stands relatively still for long periods of time the circulation of blood in the body is less efficient. Arteries rely on the muscle-pumping action of the heart to circulate blood. The blood easily reaches the feet from the pump of the heart and the gravitational force of the flow of liquid. Imagine a straw standing vertically. If you add the liquid from the top of the straw, the liquid will move to the bottom. How can the liquid flow against gravity? That is what the blood flow in the veins needs to do in order to circulate through the body and back to the heart. There are two ways that blood circulates in veins against gravity up the column. The first is by using the muscle pump action of your calf and thigh muscles. As the muscle contracts, the fluid is squeezed along the vein.  The second is vein valves that ensure a one-way flow against gravity.

When you are standing still cooking you are not using your muscle pump action to move the liquid upstream. Thus, the blood flow pools in the foot, ankle, and lower leg. This starts the process of swelling.  As more liquid accumulates at the bottom of the foot and ankle it is difficult for the liquid to move upstream. The veins enlarge and the valves inside the veins, ensuring a one-way flow cannot close an approximate. This causes a cycle in which the blood flows to the foot, stays there and has a difficult time flowing upward in the veins back to the heart. As the liquid (blood) remains stagnant, fluid moves into spaces outside of vessels leading to tired, aching, and heaviness in the foot and leg.

By the time you’re ready to sit at Thanksgiving dinner, you are clearly exhausted. What is the best way to prevent the feeling of tiredness and cooking burnout by the time you sit down for your meal at the thanksgiving table? Compression stockings! They are difficult to put on, uncomfortable to wear, and difficult to remove, but they absolutely work to ensure circulation back to the heart. A graduated compression stocking has levels of mercury that cause compression along the vein milking the blood upward. This ensures the circulation back to the heart more efficiently. By ensuring better circulation, there is less leg swelling. By the time you sit down to eat you will not feel defeated.  If you are concerned about the appearance of the compression stockings, my recommendation is to wear the stockings while you cook and quickly remove them before your company arrives.  You can get compression stockings at any drug store or through Amazon and you want at least 15-20mmHg.


Dr. Jason Gold, DPM, FACFAS

Known for his expertise in thorough diagnostic testing and a steady surgical hand, Jason M. Gold, DPM, is a leader in modern foot and ankle care and sports medicine. He’s one of a handful of doctors who’s board certified in foot and ankle surgery in Palm Beach County. Dr. Jason Gold cares for patients at Foot, Ankle & Leg Vein Center, a state-of-the-art practice with locations in Boca Raton and Boynton, Florida.

Dr. Jodi Schoenhaus , DPM - Podiatrist in Boca Raton, FL

Dr. Jodi Schoenhaus DPM, RPhs, FACFAS

Dr. Jodi Schoenhaus is a foot, ankle, and leg vein specialist practicing in South Florida. She is considered a leader and innovator for various procedures in her field, including fat pad and vein care. Dr. Schoenhaus grew up in southern New Jersey and she considers herself a true Philly girl. After graduating from the University of Michigan, having studied kinesiology and human movement, she went to Temple University in Philadelphia where she got her doctorate.

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