Solving the wobbly legs dilemma

I’m standing in the supermarket checkout line with three people in front of me. I’m thinking, “Hurry up everybody, don’t you realize my legs could give out at any time.”

Ever been there? Legs left so wobbly by Lyme that you’ve lost confidence they can hold you up for more than a few minutes. It feels like driving an old car that could quit on you at any moment. Not fun.

After going through this several times, I decided I had to do something. I bought a cane, but I hated using that. Vanity perhaps, but really, does anyone want to use a cane?

Then an idea came to mind. I used to cover Olympic sports as a journalist, and I remembered how athletes sometimes wore compression clothes on their legs to gain an edge.

Usually made of spandex or similar material, compression clothes come in upper and lower body varieties. I needed help with the lower. That could mean running pants, cycling pants, knee supports, knee braces and athletic socks among other items. The compression increases microcirculation in the body and thus increases strength and stability.

A bit of research told me that testing showed compression clothes could increase your leg strength by five to 10 percent. Not a lot, but maybe it could make a difference.

My web search started with compression cycling pants. I eagerly awaited their arrival, and when they came, I pulled them on quickly and headed outside. Then I just stood. I stood for five minutes, and it felt good. Then I stood for 10 minutes, and it felt just as good. Eureka!

I quickly found that the cycling pants solved my checkout line dilemma. I could now comfortably stand for a half hour or more instead of less than five minutes.

The experiment continued with online shopping for compression running pants, compression cycling shorts, compression knee supports, compression knee braces, compression running pants and compression athletic socks. 

The first thing I found out is that I needed a high-quality product for it to work. That meant cycling pants and shorts a serious cyclist would wear, running pants and knee supports fit for an Olympian.

Everything did work, but some things worked better than others. My fave combo is compression cycling shorts, compression knee supports and compression socks. I also found that the lowest grade of compression socks (high grades need a doctor’s prescription) felt best for me.

This combination can be counted on to hold me up for an hour, which is as long as I’m called to stand.

Another bonus is this can all be worn under your pants, so nobody knows. Not so in summer, though. At first, I felt a bit goofy, having the black knee supports stick out from underneath my shorts. But then I remembered that a lot of National Basketball Association players wear pretty much the same stuff, and they’re some of the coolest folks on the planet. Besides, it beats the heck out of carrying a cane, and it beats even more heck out of falling down at the supermarket.