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.
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.
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.
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.