A triangle pillow for legs serves one main purpose, to help you elevate your legs. There are two main types of leg pillows, contoured and triangular. Each is used for slightly different purposes. Keep reading to find out which type of triangle pillow is best for your legs!
A contoured, triangle wedge pillow for legs
There are several medical conditions that benefit from a contoured, triangle wedge pillow:
- Anyone with leg tenderness or pain
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Varicose veins
- Venous insufficiency
- Leg, ankle, or foot swelling
First off, this wedge pillow is especially designed for anyone with leg tenderness, pain, or swelling. The purpose and function of the contours is to maximize the surface area of the pillow on the legs. The increased surface area of the wedge pillow gets rid of any discomfort that would otherwise be caused by pressure points. This is because the force of gravity on your legs is spread out among the contours, instead of concentrated in any one spot.
Conditions like diabetic neuropathy and fibromyalgia are notorious for localized areas of pain. So much so that even brushing against a cotton sheet can bring about an increase in discomfort. A contoured, triangle wedge pillow for legs does a fantastic job of spreading out forces and enhancing comfort for these types of debilitating conditions.
Additionally, a contoured triangle pillow helps with vascular conditions such as varicose veins and venous insufficiency (swelling in the legs). When there is too much compression on the veins, they have trouble bringing blood back to the heart. Two examples of situations where there could be too much compression on your veins would be prolonged standing or prolonged sitting. This is due to the force of gravity pulling blood and fluid down towards your feet when you are in these positions.
The contoured nature of this triangle knee pillow counteracts the effects of gravity on your veins. Gravity makes it harder for blood to flow from your legs back to your heart. When you elevate your legs on a contoured, triangle pillow, blood flow back to your heart increases.
Additionally, the other added benefit of this wedge pillow is that when you lie flat with your feet elevated, your feet are at the highest point of your body. This allows gravity to help, not hinder, the return of blood to the heart. This is an important position to lie in each day because it’s often the only time of the day that our legs don’t have to work against gravity.
An angled, triangular knee pillow
There are several medical conditions that benefit from a triangular knee pillow:
- Lumbar radiculopathy
- Disc herniation
- SI joint dysfunction
A slight variation from the contoured wedge pillow, this triangular knee pillow has an incline area extending from the hip to the knee, and then is level from the knee to the feet. This is important for several physiological reasons.
First, the bend in the knee allows gravity to help unweight the legs in a way that also completely relaxes the lower back. You have muscles that connect from your knees, to your hips, to your lower back. Because of these muscle attachments, when you have a slight bend in your hip and knee, it takes tension off of these muscles. Relieving this tension lessens strain on the joints, muscles, and discs in your spine.
Second, for individuals that have nerve dysfunctions such as lumbar radiculopathy or sciatica, the knee bend helps with decreasing nerve tension in your hips, legs, and back. Whenever the knee is straight, it increases the nerve tension in your legs. A slight increase in knee flexion, like what you get when resting on a triangular knee pillow, can really help with any nerve related disorders.
When you sleep on a triangle knee pillow, either contoured or angled, you give yourself a foundation for improved sleep and better healing for your body!
-Bryan Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy