Today’s topic is about people who experience edema and how compression socks or sleeves can help them.
Read on to know more!
What is Edema?
Edema is the swelling of the feet because of the abnormal buildup of fluids under the skin. Fortunately, you can use the best compression socks or sleeves if you have edema to feel more comfortable while resting.
Excess Liquid in the Lower Extremities
Usually, the heart pumps the blood through the arteries in the body. The arteries act like a hose that provide oxygen to the cells throughout the body, and this includes the legs and the lower extremities.
However, sometimes, getting the fluid out of the feet and the lower limbs can be difficult. This is because the veins are not pressurized. This means that the veins need to work against gravity to remove the blood and the fluid back into the heart.
To move the blood, the calf and the leg muscles are generally in charge. But they don’t always work efficiently, and this can cause “that” heavy feeling in the leg. This is where wearing socks and sleeves come in.
More about Edema
Edema happens when the blood vessels leak small amounts of liquid in the nearby tissues. This results in a buildup of extra fluid, which makes the affected part swell. This can happen to almost any part of the body, but they are common on the feet and the ankles.
Different factors can cause the cause of the leak of the fluids on the surrounding tissues. These factors can include the following:
- Too much pressure in the blood vessels.
- A strong force applied to the outside of the blood vessels causing them to be drawn to it.
- Fluid loss because some of the walls of the blood vessels are compromised.
- The lower extremities can’t maintain equilibrium.
Other Factors that can Cause Edema
- Pregnancy – Edema is common with pregnant women because the body may not be able to handle too much fluid circulating around. Most pregnant women, especially in their third trimesters, may have swelling feet because they retain a lot of fluid. Some of them wear compression socks or sleeves to reduce the swelling.
- Medication – There are cases when some varieties of drugs cause edema. Some of these drugs can be calcium channel blockers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, estrogens, and steroids. Medications can be adjusted but another alternative can be wearing compression sleeves or compression stockings that reduce pain. Aside from medication compression socks can also help to prevent swelling.
- Heart Failure – There are times when one has a weakened circulatory system. This results in a heart that cannot efficiently pump blood. There will be blood pooling in areas of the body, especially the lower extremities, where gravity will bring down most of the fluids.
When the feet, legs, ankles, and the lower extremities are affected, this is called peripheral edema. This can be a sign that the kidneys, lymph nodes, or the circulatory system may have a problem. This can all be avoided by wearing compression socks.
Types of Edema
This is the fluid accumulation in tissues especially in the peripheral part of the vascular system that is in the lower extremities. This is common in aging people but can also be caused by other conditions such as trauma, alcoholism, altitude sickness, pregnancy, hypertension, and sickle cell anemia.
The successful treatment will depend on how the underlying cause is controlled. Usually, an edema will cause minor problems and no lasting damage. This will resolve on its own. But a severe injury can lead to loss of sensations in the lower limbs.
This is a severe condition where the eyes’ optic nerves become swollen. The symptoms can include headaches and nausea. This can be life-threatening, especially if this occurs in both of the eyes. This medical condition occurs when there’s increased pressure on the cerebrospinal fluid. This causes nerve swelling on the optic disc that is located in the eyes.
This is a condition that causes swelling of legs and arms because there is a damage in the tissues of the lymph nodes. Tissues are known to be defenses that fight off germs and other microbes in the body. If they are damaged because of the side effects of cancer therapies or radiation, there can be possibilities of fluid buildup in one’s lymph nodes.
Pulmonary edema happens when the air sacs are filled with fluid. This causes a person to cough, and it can be harder to breathe. The problem gets worse when one lies down. If you are one of the people who experience faster heartbeats, you are coughing up blood, or feelings of suffocation, call your local emergency number immediately.
Aside from those mentioned above, there are a lot of other types such as cerebral, macular, and pedal edema that other people around the world experience. To know which one is affecting you, you should consult a general practitioner or a doctor that specializes in this kind of condition.
Kinds of Diagnoses
If you are one of the people who suspect that you have edema, then you might want to consult with your doctor immediately. The medical professional will check your history, perform a thorough examination, and administer a series of tests such as:
- X-rays of your Chest
- Ultrasound on your Abdomen
- Legs Ultrasound
- Blood Tests that is Related to the Liver
- Evaluation of the Kidney and the Liver’s Function
A physician will perform a physical examination to understand the root cause. Your doctor will also ask for your medical history, or if you were previously injured.
Edema is also common when you experience an injury such as a strained muscle, insect bite, or infection. People who have edema often feel uncomfortable moving around. It’s as if they are walking heavily, or they can’t feel sensations on their feet.
So why suffer if you can make things better?
Treatment for Edema (Compression Sleeves, Compression Socks, Stockings, etc…)
Usually, mild conditions go away on their own. The edema will go away quickly, especially for people who raise their affected limbs higher than their hearts.
The more severe ones may need drugs or expel excessive fluids from their body. Doctors can recommend diuretics that can make a person urinate more. Note that the medical professional will administer the medication or the kind of diuretic depending on your condition and your medical history.
To prevent the condition from coming back, doctors may focus on treating the underlying cause of edema. They can recommend to use leg sleeves or the best compression socks for edema to make your condition better. If it is a side effect of a medication that you are taking, then there can be an adjustment in the prescribed drugs to improve your condition.
Home Remedies to Try
The following can help decrease the occurrence of edema and can keep the symptoms from coming back. These techniques can be practiced at home. You can check with your doctor on which ones do not apply to you and which ones are right for you.
You can be at ease by moving using your muscles on the feet. This can help the blood to circulate better. The excess pool of fluid can be pumped back to the heart if there’s frequent movement. Other people can do exercises that are medically approved to reduce swelling in the affected area.
This is one of the best ways to reduce swelling. Stroking the feet gently and with ease can help the flow of blood in the body. The pressure applied with the massage can ease the pain and can also remove the excess fluid on the lower extremities
It is essential to keep the feet and the legs clean and moisturized. Avoid injuries at all costs if you have edema. Skin, that is cracked and dry, is more prone to infection, so it is essential to apply some soothing lotion to the area regularly. Always wear protection to avoid accidents and injuries.
Reduction of Salt in the Diet
Salt can make the body increase fluid retention, especially on the lower extremities. It is best to consult with a dietitian to know which food is excellent for people with edema.
If one or both of the legs are affected, it is recommended to wear compression sleeves (aka medical-grade best compression socks such as the ones from ComproGear), especially if the swelling has decreased a bit. These garments are essential in keeping the fluid circulating and prevent any unwanted buildup in the tissues of the feet.
To summarize, you must:
- Protecting the Injury by using socks or sleeves
- Increase freedom of movement with the help of compression sleeves
- Do massage therapy
- Reduce salt intake
- Increase pressure gently on the injured area using compression sleeves
More about Compression Socks (or Sleeves) as a Solution for Edema
Disclaimer: The information below is only a supplement and is not a substitute for the advice of a medical professional.
There are ways on how you can control edema. The first thing that you should do if you suspect that you have it is to go to a hospital and make an appointment with a doctor. This is a problem that needs medical immediate medical attention.
The doctor will check if there are underlying medical conditions that caused edema to appear in the first place. The treatment will depend on the severity of your case. Some medical health professionals will recommend surgery to drain the blockage in the system. If surgery is not required, then your doctor can prescribe medications or leg sleeves that can manage the symptoms and the occurrence of edema.
While there’s no single solution out there, there are several ways on how one can manage edema. The most widely accepted method worldwide is to use compression socks or tights that can aid in the drainage of fluid.
What are Compression Socks or Leg Sleeves?
Most healthcare providers will suggest their patients to wear compression socks or sleeves. This is because these socks prevent the pooling and retention of blood in the lower extremities. Excess pooling causes discomfort.
The role of the compression sock is to create soft pressure on the legs and the feet to promote circulation. The type of socks that you can use can depend on the type of edema that you are having. For example, people with lymphedema will require the highest compression in socks to minimize the swelling effectively.
There are several reasons why a doctor will prescribe compression socks or leg sleeves. Some of these are:
- Help boost the circulation on the leg area
- Prevent blood pooling and retention
- Minimize swelling
- Helps one to fight lightheadedness when standing
- Lessen pain of varicose veins
- Improve drainage of the lymphatic system
- Support the veins in the body
Find the Right Pressure for You
Graduated compression is the pressure applied by the socks to the feet. The highest pressure is found on the ankles, the bottom of the legs, and gradually decreases further as you go up. This means that the blood pressure can be pushed upwards to the heart, which can promote better flow. This relieves the pain caused by poor circulation.
The compression levels are measured in terms of mmHg or millimeters of mercury. The larger the measurement of the numbers, the higher the compression the socks provide. Different levels serve different purposes. Most of the time, your doctor will prescribe the right compression for your condition. Here are some types of compression to know about:
- 8-15 mmHg
- 15-20 mmHg
- 20-30 mmHg
- 20-30 mmHg
- 30-40 mmHg
- 40-50 mmHg
To know more about compression levels, here is a guide that can help you out.
8–15 mmHg: This measurement provides the lightest pressure and compression. This is great for people who are often running or walking as the pressure energizes their lower extremities. The socks can provide relief from achy or tired legs. They gently control any minor swelling and complications by circulation enhancement.
15–20 mmHg: This offers mild compression as socks with this measurement apply moderate pressure to the feet. They are great for pregnant people, those who have deep vein thromboses, or for people who are standing for long periods. They provide relief to someone with varicose veins, aching, and swelling.
20–30 mmHg – This is the most commonly prescribed socks for people with edema. Aside from edema, people with varicose veins or who are undergoing post-sclerotherapy can benefit from this firm or Class 1 kind of compression. This is also commonly called Class I compression.
30–40 mmHg – This is referred to as Class II Compression. These are for people who are experiencing pain or severe discomfort from edema, or deep vein thrombosis. They are generally prescribed to people who have to recover from active venous stasis ulcers. These are the socks that should be worn under a qualified doctor’s supervision.
40-50 mmHg – This is the highest level of compression available. This can only be bought and worn under prescription and strict supervision. This is considered as Class III compression and is used to provide relief to patients with chronic venous insufficiency and post-thrombotic syndrome.
How to Find the Best Compression Socks to Stop Edema (Swelling)
1. Choose the Proper Compression Level
As mentioned above, if you have mild edema, you should wear something that has at least a compression level of 20 to 30 mmHg. These are ideal for people who are looking for more support on their leg part. These levels of compression are also excellent if you have just undergone surgery and are on your way to recovery. But it is essential to check with your surgeon first to be on the safe side.
2. Choose if You Prefer Stockings or Socks
There are knee-high socks, and there are stockings that go up to the thigh. Here’s a further look of the socks available for you:
Knee-high ones are the socks that stop just below the bend of one’s knees. They are great if you want more freedom, and you are not comfortable with stockings. If you brought up the kinds that are made of stretchy material and you can pull them on top of your knees, please do not do so. Too much stretching of the material will make it roll down, which can be an uncomfortable situation to be in. There are knee-high products with lots of stars rating that you might want to check out on the right site.
Thigh-high are the ones that can reach up to the thighs and cover the entire length of the leg. These generally stop at the thigh and is found below the buttocks area; The compression is made to cover the thighs securely because the stockings aim to improve the whole circulation of the entire lower extremities.
Pantyhose (or Sheer Leg Sleeves) are the ones that are usually worn by pregnant women. In men, they are available as men’s leotards. The compression covers the feet, the whole length of the leg, and a portion of the torso. This is for people who experience swelling from their feet to their hips. The upper part of the pantyhose usually has an expandable portion when it comes to the belly.
If you are unsure which one to pick, the best thing to do is to determine which area of the legs are affected by poor circulation. If you have edema, you can opt to get the knee-high socks, especially if the swelling is around your ankles. If you have swelling above the knee, then either the pantyhose or the stockings can be a good option for you.
3. Choose the Style
There are a lot of styles available in the market. If you frequently go out, you might want to get a color that matches your skin tone. Opaque leggings, sleeves, and knee-high socks are often popular with men. Fabrics that are made from cotton, silk, or other materials are available, but it is still imperative to choose the ones where the wearer will be comfortable.
Aside from the factor of comfort, the wearer should choose a durable or a sheer fabric that is strong enough to provide support in cases where swelling occurs.
Women Prefer Sheer Fabric Styles
The sheer materials of socks or sleeves are often transparent, lightweight, and fashionable. Most women choose them because they can easily pair the socks with any dress available in their closet.
For people who have severe edema, the sheer fabric of sleeves might not much help in terms of swelling containment, and they are also prone to runs and snags.
The main point is that the sheer styles are ideal for people who love to go out because they look better, and they are stylish. However, they might not be as durable compared to others. See the best compression socks available by choosing products that have positive ratings or lots of stars for feedback.
Wool or Cotton Blend
Some companies produce socks for athletes. The materials are made up of a high-tech blend of cotton or wool that can control moisture. These kinds are for demanding activities such as running or athletes that often compete in sports such as track and field.
The sporty and casual look are great choices not only for athletes but for people who have just undergone surgery. But these socks are generally available in compression levels of 20 to 30 mmHg and lower. For people with edema, the opaque fabrics with compression levels of 30 to 40 mmHg are still the right choice because of their secure containment.
To know more about your options, you can visit an online store or a shop where you can see a variety of choices. There are also great colors to choose from, and you can chat with a customer service representative to help you with your preferences. You can see full review on trusted websites to make sure that you are choosing the right ones.
How Long Should You Wear Socks?
The time varies on until when an individual can wear socks. For some, it is recommended to wear them early in the morning when the swelling is still mild. For others, a physician can recommend wearing socks for a long time to control the blood flow.
If the edema is under control, especially if one is drinking the prescribed medicines on time or they are taking diuretics, then the socks can be removed. However, if the veins are damaged or just too weak, not wearing the socks can be a big problem. It is better to continue wearing them for many years until your physician says otherwise so that you will keep your legs and feet healthy.
Side Effects of Wearing Socks
There are times when socks can have side effects, even if your doctor prescribed them. If this is your first time wearing them, always check if you experience irritation or redness. This can indicate signs that you have an infection, you are allergic to the materials of the stocking, or they don’t fit you well. It is vital to get a proper prescription so that you will have no side effects later on.
Edema is an uncomfortable condition that can affect the lower extremities such as the leg, ankles, or knees. Some of these conditions are mild and can resolve themselves in a few weeks. However, some are the result of underlying conditions that need immediate medical attention. If you suspect that you have edema, you should immediately call your doctor. Some of the home remedies that can make you comfortable is wearing compression socks that fit correctly. There are many options out there, but ensure that you get the best one by consulting your physician or by reading full review of customers with verified purchase.