Dr. Sonja Stiller, Center for Advanced Vein Care

It’s February, the month of Valentine’s Day, when our thoughts turn to love, romance and the symbol of the heart. It’s the perfect time to think more about caring for our hearts—both of them.

You are certainly aware of your primary heart, the one that beats in your chest delivering oxygen and essential nutrients to your cells, but what about your second heart? The “secondary heart” is how many vein specialists refer to the “calf pump” or simply the “calf muscle,” which pumps blood out of your lower leg below the knee—including your feet and ankles—and back to your heart, eliminating trash and toxins through the lungs, kidneys and liver along the way.

Few people realize it, but a strong, active calf muscle dramatically improves your circulation. Each time it contracts, it helps your blood fight the force of gravity and return to your heart. This is why our legs swell when we don’t move for extended periods. Blood, trash, and toxins collect in your lower leg because it cannot leave.

Compression socks can help, but so can simple exercises, such as walking, biking and doing standing calf raises, which involve standing on your tip toes, holding it for a moment, then lowering your heels. You can also strengthen your “second heart” by skipping the elevator and taking the stairs. The important thing is to get moving.

Regardless of your calf strength, varicose veins can create serious circulation problems. Please fill out the below form to contact us to find out more, especially if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

• chronic leg pain
• fatigue
• itching
• burning
• Restless Leg Syndrome
• leg cramps or swelling