Compression therapy is a practical and efficient means to improve blood circulation through the limbs. Compression therapy requires special compression sleeves to apply continuous pressure on the arms and legs of the wearer.
This technique can be especially helpful for athletes, post-surgery rehabilitation, pregnant mothers, and edema patients and the treatment of swollen feet. Compression therapy is a kind of wound care that is clinically proven to have medical benefits, and physicians around the globe prescribe them for their patients.
What is Compression Sleeve?
Compression hosiery consists of particular types of garments that you can use for your arms and legs. Most people use compression on their lower extremities (legs and feet). Compression hosiery most commonly includes compression socks and sleeves. Compression stockings then have further types that are toeless and regular socks.
Compression sleeves are the same as compression stockings but these sleeves lack the foot part and end just around the ankle. Pressure sleeves come in handy for people who cannot wear regular style stockings due to personal preference or foot condition.
Compression hosiery has unique elastic material in them that applies the pressure of the skin. It constricts the surface veins and blood vessels. This compression reduces the diameter of the vessels and increases the pressure of fluids inside them, improving the circulation.
You must be wondering how a simple pressure application can improve the blood circulation through your legs and feet. The answer is that this pressure application doesn’t allow the fluids to pool in your feet and pushes the deoxygenated blood back towards the core of the body. The heart then pumps enriched blood back towards the feet, reducing the symptoms of edema, swelling, heaviness, soreness, and pain.
Benefits Of Compression Sleeves
Medical Benefits of Sleeves
Besides swollen legs and feet, compression sleeves can help treat several other diseases and foot conditions.
Chronic venous diseases and peripheral venous insufficiency are common in people that have weak vein walls and valves. This can be due to injury, surgery (in knees, legs, calf, shin, ankle, foot, and even the toe region), and blood clotting or long inactivity durations. These conditions prevent the blood from leaving the feet and fresh blood from taking its place.
The most common use of compression socks and sleeves is in the treatment of edema and swelling of the feet. They cannot only control the disease from progressing but also promote movement.
Regular use of compression sleeves can make a significant impact on varicose vein patients, as well. Varicose veins not only look unappealing. They can also be painful. Furthermore, they also increase the risk of clotting, inflammation, and phlebitis.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Lymphedema are the conditions faced by the accumulation of blood and lymph fluid in the limbs, respectively. In DVT, clots develop inside the veins due to the unwanted pooling and can cause inflammation or pain. In lymphedema, patients experience heaviness and even pain. Compression socks can avoid and reduce the risks of both these diseases.
Recovery and Improved Performance
The origin of compression therapy lies in post-surgical recovery and pregnancy. One of the first uses of compression hosiery is known to be in postoperative rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and for the care of pregnant mothers.
Due to lack of movement after significant surgeries and constant bed rest, the patients can develop swollen feet and ankles. Compression stockings thus play a vital role in keeping their blood circulation healthy and prevent any discomfort. Doctors regularly prescribe pregnant mothers compression stocking and advice to wear them daily.
Another exciting application of compression socks is in sports. Compression stockings have become a regular part of athletes and runners’ kits. They not only provide muscular support to the limbs they also prevent the joints from moving unnaturally. The wearer can thus improve performance while reducing the risks of injury and sprains.
Unique compression sleeves for athletes have breathable fabric and sporty design. They also prevent the muscles from tightening up more than their limit, thus saving you from cramps and overstretching.
Protection and Looks
Compression stockings can protect from cuts, injuries, and cold temperatures. This is one of the indirect benefits of socks. Diabetic patients require special foot care. They can use compression socks to protect their legs and feet from getting cuts or minor injuries. Similarly, climbers, trackers, and off-road bikers can also use them to protect their legs, feet, and ankles.
The sleeves can also protect your skin from insect and mosquito bites and can protect you from bumps and cuts on the sports field.
If you think that compression socks are just a remedy for swollen feet and other conditions, you are wrong. They can also complement your style and looks. Compression stockings are available in trendy designs and colors in the market. Nurses and medical staff wear compression socks as a part of their uniform. So look sharp and get your pair today.
Compression Stockings vs. Sleeve
As explained earlier, there is only a difference in the coverage area between pressure sleeves, toeless, and closed-end sleeve. Compression sleeves can be your first choice when choosing compression garments due to several reasons like:
- Personal Preference
The selection of sleeves, regular or toeless socks, can be the individual’s preference. Some people like a bit of extra wiggle space or have sensitive feet or like to wear sandals or flip flops. Others don’t want to keep their feet in a tight band with a cramped feeling. Sleeves and open-toe socks work pretty well for these.
- Perspiration on toes and feet
Sweating is another big issue for some people, especially in the foot and toe area. These individuals like to wear sleeves rather than closed-toe socks. Sleeves are perfect for regular wear in summers and during your leisure time. If you are on vacation on a beach and you like the sand on your feet, then go for the sleeves.
- Foot Conditions
Corns, bunions, hammertoes, warts, allergies, skin rashes, ingrown nails, and other skin and nail issues can force you to wear sleeves. Furthermore, you cannot use any ointments or medicated creams before wearing regular compression sleeves. So if you have any of these problems and are applying any external medication for them, you should choose sleeves rather than stockings.
Compression sleeves like regular compression socks are available in a variety of sizes, lengths, colors, and compression levels. You must know the exact measurement of your foot, the right level (light, medium/moderate, high), and the length that is preferable for you. Socks are also available in knee-high and thigh-high configurations.
If you buy a pair that is not a correct fit, likely, the pressure gradient will not develop appropriately on your calf muscles and legs as a whole. This will render the sleeves useless, and your money will go to waste.
So if you are ordering online or buying from a drug store, make sure you get the right size and compression level. You can also consult your physician about the compression level suitable for your specific symptoms and conditions.
Start using compression sleeves today and feel better. Say goodbye to swollen feet!