Compression socks and stockings are medically reviewed and proven by doctors confirming their ability to help aid poor blood circulation by providing compression support to those who are wearing them. They are directly relevant to the wellness of your lower legs as men and women wear them to achieve better lower leg health (calf, ankle, foot). With that being said, can wearing them actually be harmful to your health? Today, let us debunk this unanswered mystery. Men and women, read on!
Wearing Them Can Improve Circulation in the Legs
Healthy Blood Circulation is Key
One of the biggest benefits you can get from wearing compression socks and stockings is improved circulation of blood in the lower legs. They are made to fit your legs firmly but gently to exert graduated compression pressure that helps with blood flow. Graduated compression pressure means the most pressure is applied on the foot around the ankle, and less as it moves up the calf and the least around the knee or the thigh (depends on the length you go for). This distribution of graduated pressure is made to help push the blood towards your heart efficiently against the pull of gravity.
This is very important in the lower legs, as it is where valves tend to fail and cause blood pooling in the veins and formed into leg disease nightmare like varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), leg ulcer, etc. This claim is medically reviewed and medically proven by the experts in the medical field.
Let’s look at the leg diseases you can get due to poor blood circulation:
- Venous reflux disease (Chronic venous insufficiency)
- Varicose veins
- Spider veins
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Venous ulcer
- Peripheral edema
Yup, that’s right. They are like the superheroes to your nightmare of unhealthy legs. The use of them can combat and prevent all those above and beyond. Not to mention, they are also great at speeding up the wound recovery process/wound healing, especially for patients who are recovering from surgery.
In another case, they are not only good for patients with medical conditions above but also great for every single individual, men and women in the world to wear them to help reducing muscle soreness and achy foot after a long day of standing and sitting at work. Did I mentioned standing and sitting for too long is the number one reason that causes blood flow disruptions in the lower legs? Well, this is not news and now you know!
Countless benefits made to assist you in achieving better health in the legs, we can go on and on about it. But, with all that being said, we have to address the elephant in the room. Is it harmful to wear them? Is there any side effect? Read on!
Common Side Effects of Wearing Compression Socks (and their causes)
The use of these stockings is not a one size fits all type of case. They come in different levels of pressure for people with different needs. If you fail to understand this from the beginning, then you may experience some harmful side effects.
The first side-effect you may experience is discomfort. Discomfort during the first few days is quite normal. This is a tighter sock than you are used to and the pressure applied on your legs and feet should feel uncomfortable at first. However, within a few days, you should feel less and less uncomfortable. For some people, this discomfort does not go away. You may experience harmful pain while wearing, or pain when you take them off.
This is often a question of the level of pressure and keeping them on them at night. If you have a prescription of compression wear that is too much for you, then you will experience discomfort and even pain in the lower legs. You can easily rectify this by getting a professional fitting and prescription.
Keep in mind, always consult a doctor for a prescription if you are unsure which pressure level to go for as they come in varying degrees for different severity of the conditions of the lower legs. 15-20 mmHg is a great barrier of entry for someone that never worn them before and they can go as high as 60 mmHg, which is very high in compression pressure and can only be worn under a doctor’s prescription.
Do Not Put Them On While Sleeping
At night, you should take them off when you sleep. There is no need to wear them during your sleep at night because there is no need to. The function of these socks is to accelerate your blood flow and keep them moving to your heart. So, when you are lying on the bed, your legs and your heart are on the same horizontal level so there is no need, in particular, to wear them to sleep. In fact, there could be an opposite effect and causes blood flow disruption to wear them while you sleep. So, keep in mind, men and women. Do not fall for ads that claim sleeping in them can help achieve slimmer legs!
Skin Irritation and Infection
Another side-effect of compression wear is irritation and itching. If you have recently started putting on these stockings/hosiery or switched to a new pair, you may notice irritation and itching on the legs and feet. This is mostly due to an allergic reaction to the fiber materials. Always read the product description, especially the material used in manufacturing them before making a purchase to avoid potential allergic reactions.
Corns and calluses are fairly common in people who have started wearing compression stockings/hosiery. They develop as hardened layers of skin when the skin tries to protect itself against pressure and friction. If you have developed these, then your stockings are too tight.
If you notice tingling, and numbness in your foot after or when you put on compression stockings, then your stockings are too tight. Paresthesia, which is commonly known as ‘pins and needles’ is a sensation of prickling, tingling, and numbness of the skin. It is caused by putting on compression stockings that are too tight.
Hygiene is Key
Finally, you could also experience an unpleasant smell from your stockings. This is a question of washing and properly drying them. It is always advisable to wash your stockings and have an extra pair or two to switch out with. Always ensure that they are perfectly dry before you wear them.
So, men and women, can they cause you harm? The answer is yes but only if you are doing it wrong. They are not harmful to you, especially if you follow your doctor’s prescription and advice. When in doubt, you can always stick to these basic dos and don’ts of compression stockings.
- Do get a professional to measure your legs and feet before buying. As already established, wearing the wrong size has side-effects on your body. Therefore, it is best to have a professional fit you for a pair.
- Do put them on first thing in the morning. The conditions and situations that compression stockings help with often happen during the day. Therefore, it would make sense that you put them on in the morning before you start your day. Whatsmore, your legs are the least swollen in the morning, so wearing the stockings will be much easier.
- Do replace them every 3 to 6 months. Compression legwear features a lot of elastic fibers. With time, these fibers will break down or weaken. When you notice that they are sagging, or have become easier to put on, then it is time to replace them.
- Finally, do wash and dry your compression stockings properly. These stockings often have care labels and instructions on how to wash and dry them. Those that are washable in a washing machine should be placed in a mesh bag to protect them against damage.
- Don’t roll them up to put them on or take them off. Rolling up the stockings makes a very tight band that cuts off circulation to your legs. Therefore, try as much as possible not to roll them up.
- Don’t alter them. Avoid cutting off any part of the sock as it could make them roll up and cut circulation to the leg. Instead, consider variations such as open-toe ones if that suits your dress code better.
- Don’t wear them at night. Unless your doctor has insisted, you should never wear them at night. When you lie down, your feet are elevated, providing the same effect as utilizing compression legwear.
They are Not Harmful As Long As You Wear Them Right
In conclusion, compression stockings have a lot of benefits that can turn into side effects if not used properly. It is always best to seek medical advice or a prescription before you wear them in order to get the best fit and size for you. If not, they can cause skin irritation and be harmful to the health of your legs. Care of your compression garments is crucial to the health of your legs so always ensure that you are taking care of your stockings. Finally, we are at the end of the article and if you like the read, share them with your friends! Thank you!