Last Updated February 11, 2020
What comes to your mind when you hear the word compression socks? A grandma sporting a rubber hose? or a nurse wearing a pair of white socks drawn up to the knees? A lot of misconceptions have been had about compression socks. So, what are compression socks? And what are the best compression socks?
Find answers to these questions as you read this on. Let’s take a ride to the world of compression stockings!
What are Compression Socks?
You may know a little about compression socks if you are familiar with them since you have seen it on your grandma before. However, you need to have a clear understanding of compression socks benefits before thinking about the best compression socks to wear. Compression stockings are tight socks at the feet and ankles which progressively get looser towards the top. They come in two main lengths knee high or thigh high and they also come with numerous health benefits for its users.
What are best compression stockings made of?
To keep it simple, compression socks comprise of strong elastic which exerts a great deal of pressure on your feet, legs, and ankles. They apply much pressure on the surface arteries and veins causing more blood to flow through the narrower paths. In short, compression stockings alter the flow of blood to and from the heart. People with varicose veins, edema, pregnant women, and other medical conditions related to the leg could find compression socks very useful.
Choosing the best compression socks: Things to consider
The fitting your compression socks give is a crucial thing to consider when you want to purchase them. You don’t have to worry about the tighter feeling you get when you wear it, other than your regular socks; that’s their job, by the way. They don’t give an uncomfortable feeling around your calves; rather, they will feel them more around your feet and ankles. You may decide to select socks that provide a tight feeling all over. However, it is not advisable if you don’t have any circulation difficulties.
It is often tough to get an all-purpose compression sock, neither do they go in line with shoe size rules; you have to make use of the nearby ruler and start working. You can use the ruler or measuring tape to get accurate measurements of your legs, including your ankles, calves, thighs, especially if the socks are long. Measure the distance between your knees and the floor. The length of the socks is dependent on your intentions for using the stockings.
Comparing the different compression socks, knee-highs are more comfortable than ankle socks and thigh-high socks. You have to wear your socks all day long; therefore, knee-highs are your best pick. If you want a compression sock that offers more compression and extra warmth or less, there’s always room to change the length of your hose. However, knee-highs socks are a good start off point. If you have any medical conditions, you’re advised to speak to your doctor before making purchasing the socks. Putting them on the whole day is the best thing to do, once you wake up before your legs swell, and remove them when you want to have your bath or retire to bed.
Everyone who has used compression socks for nurses always has a useful review to give. They’ll always tell you how fantastic these socks performed in making sure we are healthy and comfortable. A trial will convince you, but if you still have doubts, continue reading to find out the fantastic benefits that compression socks offer.
In a situation where you buy a pair to solve problems of circulation and swelling, you won’t be disappointed. These compression socks are useful for dealing with spider veins, deep vein thrombosis, varicose veins, swelling, and all similar conditions. Such vein problems result in swelling, itching, burning, and frequently cramps on the leg. Compression stockings prevent the occurrence of these issues and slow down its development. This is done by increasing the flow of blood to the heart and tackling forces of gravity that tend to disrupt it along the way. The socks also help with blood clotting problems. Ensure that your socks are on every time, and your choice of compression level is appropriate to meet your needs.
Then again, fitness workers and enthusiasts whose jobs require standing on their feet for the whole day can derive lots of benefits too. The best compression socks for nurses are those that help prevent swelling and tiredness of the leg. You can as well avoid pains in the muscles if you wear compression socks regularly. Sprains and strains will be a thing of the past as these socks keep your tissues and joints always in check. Even if you’re wounded or hurt, your socks also help speed up healing and recovery. These socks also have a way of improving blood oxygen levels as a result of better circulation.
The materials your compression socks are made to have a lot to say about them. This because the effect of the fibers used in its production can affect the compression level, comfort level, durability, and even the fitting it gives. The material used in making the socks is dependent on the kind of socks to be made. Materials like Merino wool, for instance, can be used in producing warm, fluffy winter socks. Cotton, another material used in making socks, can be used in making lightweight and breezy socks suitable for warm weather. Different fibers can be featured in the production of compression socks; however, we’ll go through the common threads you can easily find.
The commonest fibers used in making compression socks are synthetic fibers. They are made by humans and are usually from the same origin, plastic. Being made from plastic doesn’t make them bad; they also offer so many benefits. Nylon, polyester, spandex, or a mixture of them are what to look out for when going shopping for compression socks. The fibers are thin, light, and possess amazing capabilities to manage moisture. Your socks can’t be bulky and thick and still meet the requirements for everyday use. Their insulating abilities keep you feeling warm and cold. However, when they are wet, all these properties are lost. Therefore you should carry a spare with you to avoid eventualities if your workplace is cold.
Cotton, on its own, is a natural fiber gotten from the cotton plant. Cotton lacks compression capabilities; therefore, it can’t be used entirely in making compression socks. It cannot absorb moisture; thus, it can remain wet for long, and you don’t need this because the socks should be worn all day. Cotton, however, is soft, fluffy, and gentle, allowing for airflow in and out of the socks; therefore, it’s a delicate material for sock production. Cotton is very cost-effective, pliable, and sucks in colors, giving you a wide variety of patterns and colors to take a pick from. When combined was nylon, polyester, or spandex, the advantages, as mentioned above, become visible, giving you a breathable, lightweight sock that can wade off moisture and always keep you compressed.
Compression socks are much more expensive than regular socks, therefore should be active. Compression socks made using cheap materials won’t offer any compression, nor provide the needed support, and it worsens over time. Fibers used in the construction of compression socks must be of good quality, and it’s stitching appropriately held as you’ll be walking for long hours all day.
A good pair of socks should be constructed using a material blend of premium standard. A material like cotton, for instance, is not durable nor nylon, but when they are blended with spandex or polyester, the result is a sturdy pair of socks. Neat and reinforced stitching is also a significant factor in determining durability, as they ought to prevent holes sprouting in the stockings as soon as little pressure is applied.
Since we’re discussing compression, it won’t be too off if we mentioned compression levels. There are four to five different levels in compression socks, describing the amount of pressure to be applied on your feet. The standard measurement for force is mmHg (millimeter of mercury). The higher the number, the stronger the compression and vice versa. Some compression socks are graduated, with different compression levels in various parts of the socks. The feet and ankle are often the areas mostly squeezed, while the calves and thighs require the socks to be looser in these areas. For healthy people, a compression sock with a 15mmHg compression level is ideal, no more. The compression level serves to prevent fatigue and minor edema as a result of standing for the whole day, or when exercising. Pregnant women are advised to use this compression level as well. Ranges from 15 to 20 mmHg are considered moderate and prevent getting hurt by deep vein thrombosis, and when flying, as commonly uses by airline passengers.
Compression levels of 20 to 40 mmHg range, and above, are high and can be used only when there is a severe problem with circulation, recuperating following a surgery, recovering from a surgery, it is recommended by your doctor, which gives them the name medical-grade compression socks. They are graduated at all their compression levels, and when they have similar pressure through their length, circulation will be halted, definitely not what you need. This means you shouldn’t use this type of socks, as these compression levels are not fit for you, especially if you have severe venous problems.
Another very important to check in buying compression socks is the size. Typically, the sock manufacturer makes provision of a chart that comes in handy with the right length and width stated on it for every size. You may not get an all-purpose compression sock because it is not possible to make a compression sock to compress for all sizes. In general, your sock size and shoe size should be the same, just having little variations. If you don’t get the right fit, or you feel uncomfortable in then, ensure to correct it as the socks will be of no use if they aren’t the right size.
We have highlighted a few things to consider before you choose the best compression stockings to wear. Read and make the right purchasing decision, also ensure you consult with your doctor before purchasing your compression socks.