Dr. Sonja Stiller, Center for Advanced Vein Care
You are certainly aware of your primary heart and how it pumps blood through your body. But did you know that your body has a second heart? It’s your calf muscles!
Many specialists refer to the calf muscle as “the secondary heart” because it plays a crucial role in our body’s circulatory system. Keep reading and learn more about what your second heart does, and how to take good care of it.
What Does Your Calf Muscle Do?
Your calf muscle, which is located at the back of your lower leg, pumps blood out of your leg and back to your heart, eliminating toxins through the lungs, kidneys, and liver along the way.
The heart, which is the main part of your circulatory system, delivers blood to every part of your body. This oxygen-rich blood flow contains oxygen and other nutrients that are essential to your brain and other vital organs.
One heart pump has enough power to send blood to every part of the body, reaching your lower legs in seconds. Once the blood has reached every part of the body, the veins have to carry the oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart, and through the lungs where it will receive a supply of oxygen.
However, since the blood is flowing against gravity, sending it towards the heart will take more than a single pump from the heart. For this reason, the body uses the calf muscles to pump blood from your lower legs back to the heart.
The best way to improve circulation is to get moving. Every time the calf muscles contract, it helps blood to flow against gravity. If you don’t move for long periods, blood and toxins will collect in your lower legs and cause swelling.
Deep vein thrombosis or DVT occurs when blood pools in one or more of the deep veins in your body, and forms a clot. This tends to occur in the lower legs and usually causes leg pain or swelling.
Deep vein thrombosis signs and symptoms can include:
- Swelling in the affected area
- Chronic leg pain
- Reddish or bluish discoloration on the leg
- A feeling of warmth and soreness in the affected leg
Compression socks are effective in preventing and relieving some of the symptoms of DVT.
They consist of stretchy stockings that gently squeeze the leg, push fluid up, and improve circulation.
Strengthen Your “Second Heart”
If you are at risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis, stay active! Walking, biking, and doing standing calf raises can help you prevent dangerous blood clots and DVT. The important thing is to get moving.
Non Invasive Treatments
If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, then you should visit the Center for Advanced Vein Care. We provide comprehensive care for preventing, diagnosing, and treating vein diseases. Fill out our online form, and book your appointment.