Are compression socks good for you? The short answer is, ‘yes.’
Compression socks, also called compression stockings, are specially designed therapeutic socks that stretch and help exert pressure on your leg to encourage blood flow. The socks are recommended for anyone whose daily routine or activities forces them to spend many hours sitting, standing or lying down.
So, if you are a writer or someone who sits all day working online; or a doctor, a nurse, a pilot or a passenger on a long flight, then you need these socks. Pregnant women, athletes, patients on bed-rest or people at risk of varicose veins need these stockings to help prevent the discomfort of swollen legs, pain and aching as well as potential blood clots.
Why compression socks? It has more to do with benefits as the socks’ design improves the way blood flows in the legs, especially up the body.
Why do you need to put one compression socks then? Partly, it’s because “prevention is better than cure,” and having these socks on might be the difference when it comes to avoiding potential health problems.
In many cases, people will go for compression socks after a recommendation from their healthcare provider. However, it doesn’t have to be medical reasons that make one wear the stockings.
The benefits of these socks can also extend to the average person. Apart from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and varicose veins, this type of socks is advisable for those using birth control pills; those with leg ulcers; or those whose family members have a history blood clot disorders.
If you are getting into any of the jobs or situations mentioned above, then it is paramount that you find yourself a good pair of compression socks. Because they can be worn by anyone, the socks also come in different makes and at varied costs. Read on to find out the different considerations you need to make before acquiring a pair for yourself.
But before we get there, let’s clear one question many people have bearing in mind that we have said anyone can wear compression socks.
We have noted that compression socks are mostly safe and can be worn by most people without running into any sort of complications or side effects. However, there are certain categories of people who might need to get professional advice before they use these stockings.
If you have a skin infection, pulmonary edema or peripheral neuropathy, then it is advisable to talk to your health care provider before you buy and use compression socks. Peripheral neuropathy may see the user fail to register how tight the compression is and thus affect blood circulation. Others likely to find compression stockings uncomfortable or could be affected by its use are people with peripheral artery disease. These people may face problems when the socks end up affecting oxygen flow in the legs due to poor blood flow.
In short, a person with any of the following should not wear compression socks unless they have been advised to do so by their doctors.
Note that some of the infections and conditions listed above could actually worsen when one uses compression socks, especially when the chosen socks are tighter than advised.
For someone who spends long hours sitting, standing or lying in bed, then getting the right compression socks is necessary. Here are a few considerations to make as you go out to purchase socks to help prevent challenges like leg swelling or DVT.
Get the right fit–
The key here is to avoid getting socks that are either too loose or too tight. But while you need to be keen, you don’t have to worry as compression socks usually come in sizes that correspond to shoe sizes.
While there may be up to 5 different types, knowing your shoe size should help you get the right fit. In determining the right fit for you, pay attention to measurements of your ankle and calf.
When picking the right length as shown below, it is important to then consider how long the sock can be to reach the knees or thigh. For better comfort, go for knee-high compression socks.
As mentioned earlier, compression socks have different pressure ratings and it’s good to pick one that is at the right level for your specific need. For those seeking comfort that spends long hours sitting or standing, and need comfort as well as prevent problems, then they would be advised to go for the 15-20mmHg pressure compression socks.
Those with some kind of swelling should buy compression stockings with a pressure level of 20-30mmHg. If you are affected by a condition like varicose veins, or DVT, (among other conditions), then go for socks that have a pressure level at 30-40mmHg.
What is the right length for you? –
This consideration might be due to your taste, which means one can go for a knee-high pair, or thigh-high stocking. You could also fancy a foot-less design, but this choice means you might need to consult a specialist to determine whether they are suitable for your specific condition.
Where do you buy the compression socks? –
Developments in e-commerce mean that it is much easier and even cheaper to get compression stockings online.
While this is good for the fast-paced world we live in, the general piece of advice is we buy our first pair at a physical medical facility or store. This is so because we then get to access the services of a professional who can help us pick the right fit as well as take us through the process of properly wearing the socks.
Other considerations include:
The market has compression socks that offer pressure based on 4-5 levels, which means that one would need to pick the level that best aids blood flow as well as relieves discomfort. We measure the level of compression in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), and pressure levels increase in line with the level of compression required.
A healthy individual seeking a compression sock for comfort will go for the lowest pressure levels of under 15 mmHg. This is ideal for people who are only concerned about impact standing or sitting for long hours. The other levels are 15-20 mmHg, 20-30 mmHg, 30-40 mmHg, and 40+ mmHg.
If you are planning to have a long international flight, then a compression sock with 15-20 mmHg will help you avoid leg swelling or DVT.
Pressure levels above 20mmHg are suitable for use by those affected by varicose veins and edema. Patients who have just had surgery and are likely to stay in bed for long hours also use such compression socks to help prevent potential blood clots.
There is a lot one would need to know about compression socks, but the basic idea is that it is advisable for those likely to sit or stand for long hours or due to medical reasons. Go on and find one pair of compression stockings and explore its benefits.
Many people who use compression socks do so following a doctor’s prescription. Also known as pressure stockings, compression socks mainly help in improving the overall circulation of blood up from the leg to the heart. They also work in helping reduce the swelling that can affect a person who sits or stands for long hours.
Whether you wear them on one leg or both legs will depend on the reason you need them. In most cases, you will need compression socks in the following situations:
Note: Not everyone who wears compression socks does so as a result of advice from a doctor or health care provider. Some athletes wear them as they help improve blood flow when working out, while pregnant women may don them to reduce swelling.
Varicose veins appear when blood pools within the small veins as a result of poor circulation. In such a case, blood collects in the veins and does not flow normally back to the heart. The varicose veins are often painful, and will mostly be visible in the legs.
Often, health care providers will recommend that you buy compression socks when you have varicose veins. The pressure socks help improve blood flow through the veins in the legs and thus reduce the swelling and pain.
Compression socks do not eliminate varicose veins by themselves. However, research has shown that they can be very helpful. A recent study showed that donning socks of between 15 mmHg and 20mHg was helpful to people with varicose veins.
In the study, a week’s use of the socks helped reduce swelling and the associated pain. Individual women affected by the varicose veins were also found to greatly benefit from the compression socks during pregnancy.
While the use of compression socks help reduce pain and swelling in people with varicose veins, studies have shown that better results have occurred when medication or surgical procedures are used.
Notably, doctors may recommend that a patient use compression socks after they undergo surgery to remove varicose veins. The advice is often made to avoid the prospect of the condition redeveloping, especially where the person sits or stands for an extended period.
Importantly though, using compression socks can greatly reduce the likelihood of developing varicose veins if your daily routine puts you at increased risk.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when an individual’s blood flow is affected and ends up clotting within veins. Unlike varicose veins, DVT occurs in veins that are deep in the body and are thus not visible.
An individual can suffer DVT in any part of the body, but they are most common in lower body- thighs, and legs. If you have the condition, you may indicate with symptoms such as leg swelling, aching or pain.
It is important to note that DVT can be dangerous to your health, especially as blood clots may find their way into the lungs and proceed to block an artery. As such, health care providers recommend that you use compression socks to improve blood circulation and reduce the swelling.
Most users will prefer the graduated compression stockings. These are snugly socks that are tighter beginning at the ankle and reduce their strength up the leg. The pressure in these socks help push blood up the leg and prevents the risk of having it pooled in the lower leg, a scenario that could lead to blood clots.
Research has shown that compression socks can play a big role in preventing the occurrence of DVT in patients. One such study sampled over 1,600, with results showing a correlation between wearing compression socks and the prevention of conditions like deep vein thrombosis.
The study revealed that wearing the socks reduces the risk of blood clots and thus DVT by as much as 60 percent. Of those not to use compression stockings, more than 21 percent developed deep vein thrombosis.
Doctors will often recommend compression socks after a surgical process or in case an individual has been diagnosed with DVT. You can, however, wear them in the aftermath of a leg trauma or if you are likely to sit for more than four hours in a less flexible posture.
A health care provider will also recommend compression socks for you if you have DVT for the sole reason of preventing the occurrence of post-thrombotic syndrome. PTS happens in the event of deep vein thrombosis and can be a cause of increased swelling and continuous pain.
Compression stockings come in various strength levels and the same knowledge should be used when choosing the socks. The choice will depend on whether the swelling is below the knee or above it. A doctor will thus recommend either you get knee-high or thigh-high pairs of compression socks.
It is recommended that you have your measurements taken properly, as these will help you compare with various brand charts as you pick the right fit. Other than the measurements, you will also need to pay attention to the tightness in the socks.
For DVT, health care professionals recommend pressure levels of between 30mmHg and 40 mmHg. That means that lower tightness levels of below 30mmHg may not be as effective.
Lymphoedema is a condition that leads to the swelling of body tissues as a result of an accumulation of lymphatic fluid. The swelling can be treated or greatly reduced by way of compression socks after therapy.
To have the best outcome when using compression socks, it is advisable that you wear them before beginning any exerting movements or exercises in the morning. You should only have them off when going for a shower or bath.
Putting the socks on in the morning helps prevent any swelling from occurring, a scenario that would make it challenging to don the socks.
Wear the compression socks in the right manner and ensure there is no wrinkling or bunching. You are also advised to wear stockings throughout the day.
Take good care of them and replace after about four months of use.
Compression socks do not present any serious side effects when used in the right manner. However, because they are designed to provide levels of firmness on the legs, they can be too tight and thus cause more problems related to poor blood flow.
In case you realize the stockings are too tight, inform your healthcare provider. Some of the likely effects of a tight stocking will be:
Compression socks are also not advised for individuals with certain conditions like dermatitis, pulmonary edema, peripheral artery disease, and peripheral neuropathy. Consult a healthcare professional before using compression socks in case you have any of these conditions.
Compression socks will primarily help you get better blood circulation in your legs as you work for long hours while sitting or standing.
It can also be recommended by a health care professional to help in cases like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or varicose veins. Other people like athletes may wear compression socks to help improve their performance.
Simply put, to get the best of the compression socks, choosing the correct type of socks and knowing how to use them is critical.
For most people, the first pair is likely to be a recommendation at a health facility, and thus choosing the correct fit may not be a problem. But if you are looking to buy them online or at a store, then there are considerations that one must take.
As such, choosing and using compression stockings is an important step in getting the best out of these socks.
Compression stockings are designed to snuggly-fit on your leg and apply pressure that gently squeezes on the leg and helps blood and oxygen flow.
The compression socks have more pressure at the ankle and will graduate and lessen up the leg to avoid countering the intention of blood flow by being too tight at one point.
Compression socks can be worn by anyone, but one needs to seek a doctor’s advice if they have certain medical conditions or skin infections
We have compression socks of different sizes, lengths and pressure strengths. The choice of a particular type will mostly depend on what part of the body it is to be worn and whether it has been recommended or not.
For the various lengths, you can get knee-high socks and thigh-high socks. There are also tights and footless socks (also called sleeves, as they have no foot).
When going for the socks, having the right measurements is paramount to avoid getting a very tight or small pair. It could be just as bad to get large ones that do not fit and thus end up not serving its purpose.
A healthy person will buy socks with the lowest pressure levels, while those advised to get there by a medical practitioner will choose a pressure level depending on the given advice.
In most cases, the specialist will pick one that fits your specific needs. Compression levels range from under 15mmHg to over 40mmHg, or from mild to strong compression.
Go for a mild compression when looking for socks that should give you comfort.
For DVT and other cases, go for stronger compression levels. If you have had surgery and need the socks, then go for anti-embolism socks. In all these cases, find specialist help if it is your first time to buy the stockings.
As stated earlier, you can purchase compression sock from various places or outlets. Most people now find it easier to buy the socks online, but the first place you should go to is ideally a medical facility or store where advice and other key details can be factored into the choice of a given length or strength of socks.
You can also access compression socks over the counter at a drugs store or pharmaceutical company. Importantly, however, you need to find out additional information before buying from places like online or drugs store.
Such information includes whether that store, online supplier or company provides for measurements or whether it allows your medical insurance to pay for the costs. This bit is important as although some socks will cost as little as $10, others may set you back almost $100 for one pair.
Compression socks prices vary mainly as a result of factors such as company/brand, fabric quality, length, pressure strength, and purpose. Footless or toeless socks will not be priced the same as a custom-fit knee or thigh-high pair.
Expectedly, a custom-fit pair is slightly pricier as is a pair that is aimed at aiding a medical condition.
The general agreement is that compression socks are beneficial and many users get the best out of them when they wear them all day.
However, research has shown that more than a quarter of the people using the stockings do not get the optimum benefit. And it boils down to two main reasons: these individuals were found to either have ended up with the wrong socks or that they did not wear the socks in the right manner.
Affected people either donned socks that did not fit or were thigh-high when the individual would have been more comfortable in knee-high socks. So, before you even know how to wear compression socks, the first thing is to ensure you get the right fit, length, and strength.
Wear your socks when you wake up and take them off when you go to bed. Take these steps when wearing your socks:
Once you are done, smooth it out so that it fits nicely on the leg without any creases or bunching.
Normally, you would take off the socks when ready for a bath or shower or when going off to bed. The easiest way to take them off is to simply fold them down starting at the top, with the inside folding out up to the ankle. At this point, gently push the sock off the ankle and then slide it off the foot.
You may find it challenging to slide the sock up your leg, or down when you want to remove them. This, however, can be helped by having rubber gloves with you. They help with the hand-sock friction, enabling you to easily wear or remove the socks.
You can also get a “stocking donner,” a special device designed to help people wear their compression socks easily, especially in cases where the individual finds it challenging to grasp the stocking and pull it up their leg.
Note that you can use compression socks as normal, that is, with your everyday footwear like shoes and sandals.
Things to avoid
Once you can wear and remove your compression socks correctly, the next step is to know how to care for them.
Compression socks are a special therapeutic type of socks knit out of fabrics of varied strengths. These special socks are designed to help with proper blood flow in your leg and are often purchased as a result of a doctor’s prescription. Healthy people are also likely to use the socks for various reasons.
You may have acquired the ready-made compression socks or had them custom fit to your specific needs. One thing is however clear here: the socks need good care and cleaning.
How then do you take care of these socks to get the best out of them?
Ideally, caring for your compression socks begins with the usage and how you wear or remove them. When you wear compression socks, always ensure that they run smoothly along the leg with no wrinkling or bunching.
When donning your sock, it is important to ensure that you do not tear the fabric as this only means that you would have to replace the stockings.
Taking care of the socks also begins with changing them every other day. It helps preserve the fabric’s fit, which means that having at two or more pairs will be a great idea. This way, you can wash a pair that has collected dirt or sweat during the day and put on a fresh one the following morning.
Cleaning your compression socks involves washing them at the end of each day to avoid a buildup of dirt or sweat that can damage the fabric. Although daily washing is recommended, in a case where one cannot change the socks then the maximum will be two days.
Take the following steps when you wash your compression socks.
Dip used socks into a small basin or sink containing cool water. Remove the wet socks and place aside.
Add washing soap or detergent to the water and mix. Take the compression socks and submerge into the basin or sink for 5-10 minutes. (Note that some brands work best with specified washing products.)
After the 5-10 minutes, gently rub the compression socks to remove any dirt or oils from sweat. Pay attention to the silicon bands as they are likely to have the most dirt. Ensure you do not stretch the socks as you wash as this will interfere with its elasticity.
Once you are satisfied that the socks are clean, proceed to rinse them with cool water (warm water will likely damage the garment). Use enough water to remove all the soap.
Squeeze out or use a lint-free towel to suck most of the water. Do not wring them as that will damage the garment. Once most of the water is removed, place the stockings on a flat surface to dry. Drip drying isn’t advisable as that affects the shape of the socks due to the hanging weight. The surface should be cool as the direct sun or heat will damage the compression socks’ fibers and affect its fit and shape.
Always use soaps or cleaning products recommended for compression socks. It is advisable to find out what soap a particular brand recommends for their socks.
Protection for the socks can also extend to the additional wear that goes with the stockings. For instance, wearing regular socks over the compression stockings or shoes, sandals or other such wear will help keep the compression socks from damage.
The easiest way to care for the compression socks is to wear them according to the required or prescribed guidelines. When done properly, wearing compression socks in the morning and removing them at bedtime will help prolong their use. Note the following if you want to have the socks last up to six months.
If one adheres to all the guidelines and instructions regarding the care and protection of compression socks, then replacing them won’t be a big deal. Having two or more pairs of compression socks will help prolong the individual pair’s use, and caring for them well can make them retain their fit.
Remember to wash your socks after each wearing as that will help them last longer. However, we need to replace the stockings after about three-four months of use, at most six months. this happens for various reasons, among them being that the socks lose their effect after a while. Most brand manufacturers say that their products should last about six months before users replace them.
How do you tell its time to replace your compression socks? You are also advised to replace the socks in the following situations:
In case of increased swelling, the prescribed socks will not fit and an individual might have to consult their health care provider for further advice before seeking a replacement pair.
If you have added weight, you also might have to change the compression socks as that is likely to mean that the previous size won’t fit. The simple reason for changing the socks is that they won’t be able to provide the therapeutic value needed.
As noted earlier, the process of washing and caring for compression socks is not too different from regular washing. However, you need to observe the stated guidelines to ensure they last longer and continue to offer the required therapy.
If you take good care of your socks, then they should offer you the best and replacing them will occur in the four to six month period recommended by health care providers and brand manufacturers. Poor care will otherwise necessitate frequent replacement.
Long hours at work can cause you tremendous pain and soreness of your muscles of legs. At the same time, inactivity also causes the same problems that can affect your overall performance at work. Depending on your condition, you may have to wear these few years constantly to see the improvement and get better. For this occasion, we will explain what compression socks do and why compression socks give the good results in the treatment of some conditions.
The compression socks are designed to provide pressure to your legs so your blood flow could be better. When we say better, we think of directing the blood flow towards the heart, as the blood ends up in the limbs and does not go upwards. The poor blood flow manifests through the pain, discomfort and swelling of your legs. This can be a huge problem for people who are active all day, or who need to sit/stand for long hours. Of course, the problems will not start immediately but over the time, the symptoms may appear. In case you start feeling any of the above-mentioned states, it is the time to react. You can start by visiting a General Practitioner who can examine your problem and advise you on this subject further.
People usually wear these when they are having a problem with varicose veins or lymphoedema, though people tend to wear these as the prevention of the possible problems. Varicose is basically a form of the swollen or enlarged vein that becomes wider due to the constant activity or inactivity. Lymphoedema is a similar condition when tissue swells up due to the same reasons. Also, if you are into sport and have a lot of exercises and physical activity, you may consider wearing these as a way of prevention.
In order to ensure that you get the right compression socks, you must know that the best way is to talk to a GP. The GP will examine your body and identify the potential problems, which will enable him to find the appropriate socks for you and your condition. These come in different sizes and lengths, as well as with the different amount of pressure these make. For this reason, the GP will measure your legs/feet to see what size suits you best. Of course, you can do this on your own by trying on the different models, but the easiest and most effective way is that the GP gives you the advice.
Once you get the proper ones, you should wear these during all day. Take them off when you go to sleep, so your feet could relax a bit. Usually, you get two pairs of these so you could wear one pair and have the other one drying. Also, have in mind that these must be hand washed at some 40 degrees of Celsius to avoid damaging and tearing.
Circulation is actually the blood flow through your body. Your heart pumps the blood around your body and distributes it to all parts of it body in order to ensure good health. You must have heard that the elderly have poor circulation, as it decreases as a person ages, while young people have a good circulation. In any case, a proper blood flow also ensures that your brain gets enough oxygen to work properly. If there is not enough oxygen, it is very likely that your brain will start having trouble, which reflects on your overall performance. In this article, we reveal the easy ways to improve your blood flow!
A healthy body will have a healthy circulation and there will no problem. The overweight body fights the circulation, as the fat “closes” the arteries and prevents the proper blood flow. For this reason, it is imperative to avoid obesity and overweight in any possible way, as it is much harder to treat this problem than to prevent it on time. On top of that, overweight literally kills the ability of the body to take oxygen from the blood.
It is proven that an exercise increases the blood flow and ability of the body to take enough oxygen that the brain uses. A lack of physical exercises not only reduces this ability but also increases the risk of developing other cardiovascular diseases. Another thing that you will get through the regular exercises is that you will help your blood vessels to expand more. This allows the body to use more oxygen, which in returns offers easier relief of your muscles. This means that your body will be able to endure much more effort and harder physical activities without “breaking”.
Fish is known to be one of the most useful food for your body as it contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids that improve circulation and prevent cardiovascular diseases. All kinds of fish are good for health, but salmon, tuna and sardines contain the highest amount of these acids. Eating a tuna fish every two-three days will drastically increase your cardiovascular health and improve your circulation. In case you are vegan, you can buy supplements that contain these acids as the replacement for the actual fish. You can buy these in any pharmacy or supplement store.
Tea is the great antioxidant that enhances health and improves circulation. Green and black tea are the most popular teas that are good for cardiovascular health and better circulation. Therefore, the tea improves the health of blood vessels, which in return prevents possibility for a stroke and problems with veins. Once you eliminate the problems with veins, you improve your circulation and blood flow. Have a habit of drinking at least one cup of green/black tea per day, ofto ensure that this great antioxidant “flushes” your body and removes the toxins. You can order many types of these teas online or buy them in any pharmacy.
The compression socks are a form of hosiery that is created to ease up the pain in legs that occur due to the venous disorders. These disorders are results of the poor blood flow, which can cause blood clots if not treated properly. The socks use elastic fabric that applies pressure to the leg, ankle or feet and as a result, you have increased arterial pressure that produces a good circulation of blood. People do not often pay attention that much to this problem as they think that it is nothing serious. Therefore, we will explain the most common reasons and symptoms when you should get these socks to improve your health condition and prevent further possible complications.
As your body has a constant physical activity or inactivity, it is very likely that the veins inside your legs will become clogged. A blood clot is a lump of blood that changed its liquid form into the solid-like state where it clogs the blood vein or artery and causes pain and other problems. DVT or deep vein thrombosis occurs when your veins are clogged with the blood clot that prevents the proper blood flow. Though it can happen on any part of your body, it is usually formed in the lower parts of your body. So, how can you know that you have DVT?
The DVT causes swelling and pain, especially on touch. Also, your skin may be warm at that part of the DVT formation and there is no limitations whom this can happen. Generally, the risk of developing DVT is bigger after you had a surgery or if you are overweight. Smoking can also cause DVT. Therefore, have in mind that it causes serious problems as the blood clot can travel all the way to your lungs and block an artery, which is called pulmonary embolism. This condition requires a surgical procedure to remove the blood clot. In any case, have in mind that DVT is a serious condition and it has to be treated properly.
The basic explanation of this state is enlarged veins. This happens because of the walking activity that increases the pressure in the veins that are in the lower part of your body. The symptoms of varicose veins include aching pain, dark purple color of veins and increased discomfort. Alternatively, a patient may feel a slight numbness in the legs as well as the burning feeling.
The poor blood circulation may start not only because of the increased physical activity but also because of some of the other problems and conditions. The main symptoms include fatigue, joint cramping, numbness and cold feet, even though the outside temperature is way above the normal room temperature. This not only affects the overall quality of life, but also increases the risk of developing serious conditions that can harm your health. One of the main causes for this problem is atherosclerosis which occurs upon building up plaques inside your veins.