What are compression socks?
Compression socks are those tight-fitting, stretchy stockings that have often been riddled with a less-than-attractive reputation. In fact, they used to be only made in white or beige and have been known to be worn by old ladies–or nurses who wore white skirts and pointy hats! But those days are long gone and the compression socks of today are not only effective in keeping you healthy, but they also come in a host of styles and colors to fit with your wardrobe!
Although compression socks are often prescribed by a medical professional, almost anyone can wear them for comfort during pregnancy, long work days, traveling, exercise and many other situations.
According to some studies, wearing compression socks is a good way to get moving with a healthier life. These socks provide strong pressure to the ankle and calf of your legs, with much-needed support to help with your circulatory system and other issues. You can wear compression socks on a regular basis and even match them with your daily outfit. For example, you can buy black compression socks or any colored stockings that go well with your outfit.
Compression Sock Benefits
If you are trying compression socks for the first time, typically they won’t do any harm. However, it is suggested to consult a doctor in case you are one of the few people who have medical conditions that would prevent them from wearing compression socks.
Compression socks are likely to benefit you in a number of ways:
- If you have an issue of blood clotting or family history of DVT, compression socks can be very helpful. There are fewer chances of you developing DVT or swelling with compression stockings.
- Compression socks can help reduce the swelling, pain, and discomfort that you may experience due to varicose veins or ulcers on the leg.
- Wearing compression socks during long flights is found to be useful by many avid travelers. This is because sitting for too long in a small space can increase the risk of blood clots. So, if you wear compression socks during air travel, there is less chance of you developing blood clots, swelling or DVT.
- Compression socks are of great benefit for athletes. Believed to enhance performance by keeping the muscles warm and the oxygen flowing throughout the blood, many athletes make compression socks part of their workout gear. In addition, compression socks may reduce the production of lactic acid, which means soreness and cramping after a strenuous workout is minimized.
- Pregnant women often experience swollen feet. The use of compression socks during the pregnancy can help in reducing the swelling by increasing the blood flow. (Check with your doctor first!)
Compression socks are not only comfortable to wear but they are highly fashionable too. These socks are very durable and available in different styles and colors including pink, white or the classic black compression socks. Isn’t it cool to have socks that not only add to your style but also make you feel good?
Types of Compressions Socks
There are mainly three types of compression stockings available.
- Graduated Compression Stockings
- Anti-Embolism Stockings
- Non-medical Support Hosiery
Graduated Compression Socks
These types of socks are the perfect option for people who suffer from chronic venous disease (which leads to varicose veins) and edema (swelling). The level of compression is highest at the ankle and it decreases as the socks are pulled up. Graduated compression socks provide the wearer with the ability to fight against gravity which will reduce the risk of varicose veins and swelling.
You also have an option to choose from below knee length stocking or thigh and waist-length compressions stockings. The below-knee length stockings are most commonly used by people with peripheral edema or lower leg swelling. Whereas the full-length stockings that go up to the thigh or waist can reduce the risk of orthostatic hypotension and prevent pooling of blood in the legs.
Anti-Embolism Compression Stockings
If you or any of your loved ones is at risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), then anti-embolism compression stockings have likely been suggested to you by your doctors. They not only reduce the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) but also provide gradient compression. These types of stockings are specially designed for people who cannot move or are completely bedridden.
Non-medical Support Hosiery
Non-medical support hosiery are available for purchase over the counter without a prescription. They typically have lower pressure and are often known as flight socks. These types of stockings ate suggested to people who travel regularly or have long workdays, which usually results in tiredness and heavy pain in the legs. The non-medical support hosiery help provide the much-needed support to the legs and reduces swelling while promoting healthy circulating.
In non-medical compression hose, the pressure is uniform and usually less than the graduated compression socks. You can easily purchase the non-medical support hosiery from any medical shop or even online.
If you find it difficult to choose the right type of compression stockings, consult a doctor or pharmacist. He/she will provide you the right guidance and help you choose suitable compression socks according to your medical needs.
Compression Socks for Long Workdays
Are you working on your feet all day long? Do you often feel tired or your legs start swelling a few hours into the workday? For nurses, retail workers and other people who stand a lot, colorful or black compression socks may be very useful. This is because the circulatory system can be compromised due to gravity, resulting in swelling, discomfort, pain in the legs, and fatigue.
If you’re looking for compression socks to match your outfits, of course, you have your choice of many colors! But black compression socks are often very popular because they offer classic styling without struggles to match.
Consider these benefits to your workday using black compression socks (or other colors too!):
- Compression socks help improve the blood circulation and keep your legs energized. If you are on your feet a lot, this can cause strain on your legs that can result in swelling and varicose veins. Once you start wearing compression socks to work, you will experience less pain and tiredness at the end of the day.
- If you are at an office job that requires you to sit or stand for long hours, then you can definitely make the most from compression socks. Regular office attire can be boring but you can experiment with it by adding stylish and colorful compression socks to your daily outfit!
- Compression socks are available in a variety of styles and color options for both men and women. You can find socks with stripes, patterns, and different designs. And, of course, the classic black compression socks. So, apart from availing medical benefits, you can style your daily wardrobe with comfortable compression socks for the healthiest lifestyle and better quality of life.
Reasons to Wear Compression Socks
In addition to long workdays standing or sitting, wearing compression socks can be useful for these reasons:
- You exercise daily
If you exercise regularly, then you should consider a pair of compression socks. It will not only reduce the soreness of the muscles but also help with post-exercise recovery.
- You are a regular traveler
As mentioned above, compression socks are of great benefit for the people who travel for long trips in the car or on airplanes. Pilots and flight attendants may especially benefit from compression socks. Sitting for too long in a flight can cause pooling of blood in the legs and even increases the risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Compression socks can help you stay at ease while you travel and also prevent blood clots. You will feel fresh, comfortable, and active as you arrive at your destination after a long flight.
- You are at risk for varicose veins
Compression socks are recommended by doctors for people who already have or are at risk of developing varicose veins. This is because the pressure placed on the legs helps to fight against gravity and provides support to keep the circulatory system running smoothly. For reduction of pain, pressure and fatigue related to varicose veins, compression socks are highly recommended.
Compression Socks – How Do They Work?
Compression socks or stockings are designed to improve the circulation of blood in pregnant women, athletes, daily travelers, elderly and anyone who is in need of some support and comfort. The compression socks are made from a strong elastic material that fits tightly to your leg to provide the required support. This helps reduce swelling, risk of blood clots and pain in the legs.
Most of the time, compression socks are made according to the particular medical needs or requirements of a specific need. A medical professional will recommend the right compression socks with suitable pressure and just the right measurements. It is suggested to wear compression socks all day long and only remove these socks during bedtime.
Apart from improving the circulation of the blood, there are many other benefits that can be found by wearing compression socks. These types of socks ease pain, provide comfort, support, and prevent swelling in the legs.
Medical grade compression socks are often prescribed to people with poor blood circulation or severe lymphedema (extreme swelling in the legs). These socks can also speed up the post-surgical recovery for edema, ulcers, varicose veins, spider veins and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). If you had a previous blood clot, you can consider compression socks as an option to prevent any more blood clots in the future. Athletes, basketball players, and all other sports people use compression socks to improve their endurance and overall physical performance.
How To Use Compression Socks In The Right Way?
Compression socks are available in a variety of styles, designs, and fabrics. You also have an option to choose from a knee-length to thigh-high compression socks. However, if you are unsure about which one to choose, it is always suggested to consult a medical professional. For example, if you recently had surgery or you need them to prevent DVT, a doctor can advise you which length of compression socks will work best for you.
One challenge that many people face is the task of getting compression socks on. Since they are so tight, pulling them up to the right place can be a bit difficult. It is important to put compression socks on first thing in the morning when swelling is at its lowest. Those who have trouble putting on their compression socks may want to consider using powder on the legs to help smooth out the process of putting them on.
You can also find a stocking donner that can help you put the compression socks on easily, without bending. This is a perfect medical gadget for people suffering from back pain who find it difficult to wear stockings. The stocking donner can help you pull up your socks easily without much effort.
How Long Do You Wear Compression Socks?
Depending on your needs and medical requirements, you can wear the compression socks all day long or only for a few hours. But they typically need to be put on first thing in the morning. Of course, it is always a good idea to consider a doctor’s advice when it comes to wearing compression socks. Considering your injury or medical condition, some doctors will advise you to only take off the compression socks before going to bed.
What to Consider When Buying Compression Socks
When buying compressions socks, consider these factors:
- Make sure your compression socks fit properly. They are available in different sizes, ranging from size S to XL allowing you to choose the perfect fit. You’ll need to measure your legs before ordering.
- Follow expert guidelines on how to put on and remove the compression socks, making sure there are no wrinkles or cuffs that could cause chafing of the skin.
- If you are wearing the compression socks for medical purposes, you should always follow the doctor’s advice carefully for the best results.
- If you experience any changes in the skin when you wear compression socks, get in touch with a doctor immediately.
Wearing compression socks or stockings is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get rid of swollen feet and pain in the legs. But once you start shopping for compression socks, you will come across a number of options to choose from. Compression socks are available in a variety of styles and color options. So, how to choose the best of all? Here is the answer:
- Consider the fit
Just like any other piece of clothing, it is important that compression socks fit your legs properly. The stockings should be tight enough to provide your muscles with the required pressure but not so tight that they restrict blood flow. These socks are designed to be tight the ankle and gradually loosens up at the knee, but you should never feel like they are so tight that you are in pain.
Compressions socks are available in different size options from small to extra large. However, if you are not sure about your size, you can consult the doctor or pharmacist to know what size compression socks will fit you based on your personal measurements.
- Ensure your compression socks are medical grade
This is one of the important things that you need to consider if you are buying a product online. When going through the specifications, make sure to look for the word “medical grade”. If the brand or company doesn’t specify the word medical grade with the product carefully, then you likely won’t get the quality that you are looking for.
- Know your pressure needs
The tightness of the compression socks depends on the range of millimeters of mercury (mmHg). 8-15 mmHg is the lowest level range while the highest is 30-40 mmHg. It is important for you to know about the right levels of compression socks that you need. For example, if you need compression socks to provide support to your legs daily during work, then socks with levels 8-15 or 15-20 mmHg can work well for you. However, to treat the symptoms of vein disease, doctors will likely prescribe you compression socks of level 20-30 mmHg minimum.
- Look for the right style
Make sure to choose the right style of compression socks or stockings. The different style options include thigh-highs, knee-highs, and hose. You may come across compression socks that have open toes or other features you like.
- Consider the reviews
If you are buying compressions socks online, make sure to go through the online reviews posted by customers. This is one of the best ways to judge the quality of the product of any brand or style.
- Buy with a guarantee
Choose a company that offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee to its customers so you know you are getting what you need. The company you buy from should offer a return policy that allows you to exchange in case the socks don’t fit or refund if they don’t work well for you. Choose to do business with a company that stands behind its product.
Whether you are an athlete, a regular traveler or working for long shifts, you can start wearing compression socks to provide better support to your legs and reduce the risk of varicose veins or blood clots. Whether they are black compression socks or made of many different colors, your legs will thank you!