Compression Stockings, Edema and Swollen Feet- Get Your Pair Today!

What is Edema?

A person standing

The title edema comes from the Greek word ‘oidein,’ which means ‘to swell.’ It was first used as a medical term in the 14th century and is now known as edema. Edema today is a medical term usually referred to as the swelling of edematous subcutaneous tissue due to the accumulation of body fluids. 

comparison between feet

Edema or fluid retention can happen at any part of the body; it can be, for instance, pulmonary or macular, as well. But it is more common in hands, arms, feet, ankles, and legs. Usually, this condition begins at a slow pace. It gradually develops to a stage where it can cause pain, soreness, heaviness, and difficulty in movement.

When body fluids start responding to gravitational pull and start pooling in the lower extremities or upper limbs of the body, then the condition is called dependent edema.

Shift workers and professionals like pilots, athletes, and retailers also have a high risk of dependent edema, swollen feet, and ankles. Although the condition itself is not fatal or highly dangerous to the health of the person, it can cause extreme discomfort, soreness, pain, and difficulty in movement. Sometimes swollen feet and ankles can also be a symptom of some other underlying disease like cardiovascular disease, DVT, and other venous disorders.

Comparison between leg

Classification and Types

There are numerous types of edema, but the most common of them all is the one that affects your feet and legs. This article will discuss in detail the edema of the feet. Still, it’s types are classified based on specific organs they influence.

Different Types

But to give you an idea here is a list of some other types of edema:

severe case
  • Pedal or dependent (edema of feet and legs)
  • Pulmonary
  • Hereditary
  • Cerebral
  • Lymphedema
  • Myxedema
  • Macular

Common Symptoms

 Common Symptoms

If you are affected by edema, you will probably experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Soreness, puffiness, and heaviness of feet
  • Tightening and pitting on the skin surface (in case of pitting edema)
  • Swelling of fingers, toes, ankles, and legs
  • Pain in limbs, difficulty in moving and changing footwear
  • Lethargy, stiffness, and headaches
  • Increased ankle and feet measurement

Causes

Causes

Some of the most common causes people to suffer include:

  • Sitting or standing for too long (during traveling or working)
  • Physical inactivity for any other reason like bed rest
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Kidney damage or disease (the limited ability of the kidney to extract sodium from blood)
  • Lymphedema
  • Cirrhosis (usually of the liver)
  • Trauma or injury to legs, feet or ankles
  • Side effects of certain medications
  • Increased salt intake
  • DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)
  • Wakened veins or chronic venous disease
  • Low levels of albumin (Loss of protein in the urine)
  • Sunburn
different causes

A few times, the condition is so severe that the accumulated fluid starts to seep from the skin surface in the form of a yellowish liquid. This is blood plasma or the water content in our blood. 

Pitting edema can be diagnosed with a simple finger test by applying pressure on the swollen area with a finger and see if depression or pit has appeared in that area due to the displacement of the underlying fluids.

effects of simple finger test by applying pressure on the area

Treatments and Therapies of Edema and Swollen Feet

natural ways to treat water retention
  1. Compression Therapy

    parts in legs

    One of the most effective remedies available for edema patients today is compression therapy. Compression therapy is a technique by which patients can use compression hosiery to reduce the symptoms of the disease. Compression hosiery includes compression socks and sleeves. These garments apply gradual pressure to your limbs and prevent blood accumulation in your ankles and feet.

  2. Oral Drugs

    picture of oral drug

    The most common drugs used for the treatment of edema include corticosteroids, diuretics, and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. Edema can also be treated by actually stopping some of the medication that is the cause of such conditions. Anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, blood pressure, and some diabetes medicine can bet the cause of edema. Your physician may reduce particular medication after the real culprit of the disease is diagnosed.

  3. Elevation of Lower Body

    person reading on couch

    Elevating the lower body is a temporary way to reduce puffiness and swelling of the feet by draining the accumulative fluids in the feet towards the core of the body. The blood leaves the lower limbs gradually (aided with gravity), and there is a reasonable relief in soreness and pain.

  4. Exercise

    people working out in gym

    Aerobic exercises, walking, and stretching keeps your body in shape, and you maintain your general wellness. Exercising can especially help with edema patients by improving blood circulation through muscles and blood vessels of the limbs. You can choose simple regular exercises to maintain their health and avoid swollen feet and ankles.

  5. Increasing Magnesium in the Diet

    food items with sufficient amount of magnesium

    Magnesium deficiency is another cause of swollen feet and ankles. You can use magnesium supplements as well as natural foods with magnesium to keep your magnesium levels enough to reduce any edema symptoms. You can also ask your physician or doctor for supplements that are more suitable for your particular symptoms and nursing routine.

  6. Soaking your feet in Epsom salt

    A person sprinkling Epsom salt, funny meme

    After a long nursing shift, an easy solution to get rid of your swollen feet and ankles is soaking them in Epsom salt (in warm water). Epsom salt has high concentrations of magnesium sulfate and improves blood circulation in your feet naturally. You can use this remedy with both warm and cold water according to your preference.

When Should You Seek Help?

funny frog meme asking for help!

If you have assessed yourself that you have edema symptoms, you should consult your physician right away without any further delay. Swollen legs may not pose an immediate and severe threat to your health; however, they may be a symptom of a dangerous underlying disease.

funny asking for help gif

You must seek medical advice as soon as possible in case you experience edema along with:

  • You are pregnant
  • Headaches, migraine, loss of consciousness
  • Pain in the chest or abdomen and difficulty in breathing or heavy breathing

Compression Stockings for Edema Care and Swollen Feet

doctor treating patient

Compression socks and sleeves are clinically proven to be highly effective in reducing swollen feet and treating edema. Physicians recommend them for moderate swelling as well as chronic edema patients.

doctor at his clinic

Manufacturers use elastic material to make these compression stockings. This enables the garment to apply a continuous and calculated amount of pressure to your feet, ankles, and legs. That is why these are sometimes also known as pressure socks.

Therapeutic Pressure

This pressure simply squeezes your feet gently and narrows the veins on the surface, increasing the flow of blood through them. The blood rushes out of the feet and ankles quickly and goes back to the core of the body. This makes the individual feel better and relieve the swelling as well.

man sitting in doctor's clinic

Most of the compression stockings are purchasable without a doctor’s prescription, so you can order them online or buy them from a store.

Another essential aspect of compression hosiery and its effectiveness is the correct size. Remember, the principle of compression stockings is mechanical pressure built on your limbs through elastic fabric wrapped around your feet. The right application of this continuous pressure is essential for the socks to work correctly. So when choosing the socks, measure your size and buy the correct size for your feet.

How Long Should One Wear Compression Socks

A person in standing position

Your doctor can guide you on how and when to wear your compression socks. However, most of the edema patients wear them first thing in the morning as swelling is generally less in the morning, and it’s easier to slide the socks up.

A person sitting on the chair

If your condition is due to the nature of your day job and daily routine, then you should wear them at work and for day to day activities.

nurses at work

If you are using oral medications or some other treatments, then you can reduce your wear time. Also, compression socks are usually not worn during the night. So avoid wearing them when you go to bed.

You may have to use compression stockings for a long duration, maybe for the rest of your life to keep your edema under control. Some patients can experience such severe damage that their venous system gets weak permanently. So, if they ever stop using them, it can be dangerous for them.

funny meme

Caring For Your Socks

Lady demonstration gif

You can wear socks with your footwear and even regular socks as well. You should also have spare pairs of socks in case you want to wash a couple. You must keep your toenails clipped to avoid any cuts or damage to the socks. 

basket full of laundry

If you buy good quality socks, they are likely to last long and will not loosen up from daily use. However, if they do, you will have to change them. You should wash your socks with care and at room temperature to avoid any damage to the fabric.

When you wear your socks, make sure that there are no folds, kinks, or bunched up fabric at either end of the stockings. Otherwise, the hose can leave indentation and may stop blood flow instead then improving it.

Cute red and white strip

Best Compression Level:

Compression level

There are different categories of socks according to the pressure they apply on the leg, usually measured in mm Hg. Mm, Hg is a unit of force and stands for millimeters of mercury. You must choose the compression according to your stage of edema and symptoms. Here are some guidelines:

  • Light Compression: Light compression stockings usually apply 10 – 15 mm individuals generally use Hg of pressure to your legs and with a minor (or not so frequent) swelling problems.

  • Moderate or Medium Compression: An average or medium compression usually applies a compression of 20 – 30 mm Hg on your limbs. This type is ideal for individuals suffering from chronic edema, swelling, pain relief, soreness, varicose veins, post-surgery recovery, and pregnant mothers.

  • High Compression Hosiery: High compression socks usually apply compression of about 30 – 40 mm Hg. You should not use this range unless you get a recommendation from your physician for certain conditions like DVT and acute cases of lymphedema.

Final Word

work done

Here’s what to do now; if you are experiencing symptoms of edema, you can schedule an appointment with your physician. The second thing you need to do is to buy a pair of compression socks online or from your nearest drug store and give it a try. You can also ask your doctor about the type and compression level of the stockings as well. Choose your favorite color and preferred style today.

Compression Stockings for Edema – Stop Swelling (Now!)

In this fast-moving competitive world, hard and long hours at work has no alternatives.  While some imbibe themselves with their work computer all day, some others have to stand, walk and move around constantly. Though there are rewards for such a commitment, side effects are inevitable. They include fatigue, stress and in rare cases conditions called Edema or leg swelling.

Compression socks for pain relief, better blood-flow and circulation
Compressing Socks keep the blood circulation on and prevent Edema in the legs. No more painful, swollen Ankles and feet! Only ever ready legs!

Both men and women are prone to such swelling which is mostly accompanied by pain or numbness. Resting legs in an elevated position offers temporary relief. But there is more to it and getting professional help at the right time and more importantly identifying the underlying cause and addressing it should not be ignored.

What is Edema

Edema in the leg - Swollen Foot
Edema due to ligament tear injury. Normal vs. swollen foot

“Edema”, medically is swelling of a part of the body due to fluid buildup in the tissues. Sometimes, when the small blood vessels or capillaries leak fluid into nearby tissues, that extra fluid builds up in the tissue and makes the tissue swell. It can happen anywhere in the body and most commonly in the legs, feet and ankles.

Types of Edema

There are different types of Edema and the most common ones are Peripheral Edema and Pedal Edema. The former one affects the legs, feet, arms and ankles and the latter shows up in feet and lower legs. Pedal Edema  is a common situation for pregnant women and older people. This restricts movement as well, since it develops numbness in the feet. Other types include Lymphedema, Pulmonary Edema, Cerebral Edema, Macular Edema etc. These affect other parts of the body including eyes and brain.

Man with a swollen eye
Man with a swollen eye. One of the types of Edema.

Causes of Edema

While Edema is common in people who sit, stand or walk for a long time, people with underlying medical conditions and pregnant women are also prone to it. Injury, wound, infection, intake of excess salt in diet and certain medications also cause Edema in some cases.

Swelling in the ankle
A swollen ankle

Symptoms of Edema

Symptoms of Edema vary based on intensity and type. While mild Edema might not show any symptom at all, a more severe one might cause soreness, pain and heaviness in the legs in case of leg Edema and skin ulcers, shortness of breathe etc in other types.

Relief through Compression Therapy

Routine treatment involve medical help and compression therapy. Doctors prescribe Compression Stocking which is a proven mechanism to address swelling. It applies compression on the area of impact and controls swelling, regulates blood-flow in the legs and also addresses vein  related discomforts. These stockings provide comfort to the user.

Trendy, fashionable compression socks
A trendy, new-age women’s compression socks

 Let’s expedite more about the compression stockings and their features in the coming sections.

Compression, Compression Stockings and their benefits

What are Compression Garments?

As part of Compression Therapy, a specially designed garment called compression socks or compression stockings is prescribed to be worn. The medical practitioner also advises on the time and duration these are to be kept-on based on the compression required. The pressure these stretchy, snug-fitting stockings put on the legs help the blood vessels work better thereby preventing pooling of blood in one place, resultant blood clots and related problems like pain, swelling and discolored skin. These also give vein support and are a great boon to treat conditions like Edema, Lymphedema, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), etc and also help address several venous diseases and disorders. These also provide relief form the pain caused by varicose veins and prevent patients with DVT from developing post-thrombotic syndrome.

Compression socks for comfortable legs
Compression socks to keep the blood-flow right!

Compression socks apply gentle pressure to the legs and ankles and promotes blood-flow from the legs to heart thus supplying oxygen filled blood to the muscles, keeping them fresh. Their compression not only assures a healthy leg, but also reduces the risk of such clots travelling in the blood and affecting other systems in our body.

Compression Stockings for long flights

Compression Stockings also come handy for cabin crew members on long distance flights. There is a potential risk of developing sore and painful legs or even DVT in worst cases during long distance flights where these help to nullify the impacts of sitting for a long time by increasing the blood flow.

Long flight, travels, sports, Athletes
Compression stockings for all purposes

Compression Stockings for Sports

Sports persons also wear them during their play and practice on the field to perform better. Their usage help upgrade their performance, as well as avoid grave injuries and sports related medical conditions by minimizing chances of clots.

Others uses of Compression Stockings

 Aside to the above, pregnant women, nurses, truck driver etc., who are more prone to Edema get benefited by using Compression stockings.

Other benefits of compression socks include making the person feel more steady and less dizzy while standing up by reducing orthostatic hypotension, preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) in the legs, improving lymphatic drainage, preventing venous ulcers, reversing venous hypertension etc.

Types of Compression Stockings

While Compression Stockings eases leg swelling, blood circulation and swelling related issues in the arms are taken care of by Compression Sleeves. These sleeves are just the tube part of the socks without foot. Compression Stockings and Compression Sleeves come in different kinds, sizes, strengths and lengths to cover different parts of the body.  These garments also come in Pantyhose model when bilateral  full leg support is required.

Knee-high and thigh-high compression stockings
Different styles of compression socks

The length of the stockings rests upon the cause. For example, for Edema in the legs, the stockings go knee high and for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), they mostly are just below the knee. Similarly, after surgery stockings vary according to the specifications provided by the medical practitioner.

Do all Compression Stockings give the same level of compression?

The stockings differ in the level of pressure or compression to provide desirable relief. The pressure or compression is measured or designated in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Example: 30mmHg, 40 mmHg. These should hold firm, but should not be very tight. Else, such extreme pressure would lead to other discomforts and hazards. Ideally, the pressure given by the Compression socks for Edema must be mild so as to enable the person wearing them walk around freely while doing their routine work at home or work. Very firm hold and compression is required for people with Deep Vein Thrombosis and hence the stockings designed for DVT comes with a very strong grip.

Let us take a look at the basic types of the Compression Stockings now. The primary types are Graduated Compression Stockings, Anti-Embolism Stockings and Non-Medical Support Hosiery. It is important to choose the right type of stockings to get the right results, where the doctors play a crucial diagnostic role.

Graduated Compression Stockings

The purpose of Graduated Compression Stockings is to treat chronic vein related diseases and edema. Graduated (AKA Graded) Compression Stockings that go up till thigh or waist help to reduce pooling of blood in the legs and help prevent Orthostatic Hypotension. In the leg veins, blood-flow should be upward to the heart. Hence these special stockings provide maximum compression at the ankle and a gradually decreasing scheme of compression towards the top. That way, they help to push back the blood up the leg from the ankle thereby averting pooling of blood in the leg and resultant swelling.

Panty-hose style compression stocking
Graduated compression for better circulation

They are made for patients who are mobile and are designed based on the technical specifications issued by the health care provider. Due to the strict measurements, they require a professional fitting, but are relatively easier to wear than the medical bandages. Stockings that end just below the knee help limit peripheral edema, or lower leg swelling resulting from fluid buildup. They come in personalized color and structure with a choice of open or closed toe. 

open toe stockings
Open-toe Socks

Anti-Embolism Stockings

An embolism happens when the blood-flow within an artery is obstructed by clots or air bubbles. This is caused by poor blood circulation in people with high risk medical conditions and also in people resting or standing for a long period of time. Pregnancy and genetics could also cause Embolism. Anti-Embolism Stockings are usually worn by non-mobile patients after surgeries to prevent pooling of blood in the legs. Due to their immobility, stockings made for mobile patients would not suit them. Measuring and determining the right size play a crucial role here to achieve the desired therapeutic effect. Hence, its application is best done by medical staff and trained personnel.

 Anti Embolism Socks for immobile patients
Anti-Embolism Stockings for recovering patients

Similar to the Graduated Compression Stockings, Anti-Embolism stockings also provide gradient compression and come in knee high and thigh high lengths. One main difference between this and the Graduated Compression Stockings is their levels of compression. Anti-Embolism Stockings helps prevent or reduce the possibility of Deep Vein Thrombosis.

Non-medical support hosiery

Non-medical Stockings are those that come in compression grades of 20mmHg or less. Non-medical support hosiery usually do not require a prescription and can be bought over the counter. Since they are not made for an underlying condition, they are not designed based on strict specifications unlike the other two types. These flight socks or elastic support stockings are intended to given relief for stressed and heavy legs and are ideal to be worn during travel. They apply substantially less compression than Graduated Compression Stockings and the pressure is uniform and not gradient.  These are available in pharmacies or online.

How to choose your Stockings?

The compression socks come in different types, size and compression grades and it is very crucial to choose the right one for the right cause. The type of stockings require careful study of the condition, underlying cause, future risks and compression levels and is best when prescribed by a medical practitioner. Not just the type, but determining the right size is also not easy if they are recommended for medical reasons. Advice and assistance by trained doctors, nurses and other medical staff is required in this.

However, if they are sought for general comfort and as relief for aching legs, one can go for non-medical hosiery from pharmacies and online outlets.

Where to buy best quality Compression Stockings?

These are generally available with medical equipment dealers, stores and even online. Price varies from type to type, based on specifications.

Quality and precise knee-high 20mmHg to 30mmHG Compression Socks are available at Comprogear.com. Please visit to order your pair and also to access the vast knowledge base of useful and informative resources.

Points of Caution – Compression and Stockings

Leg safety, Happy legs
Safe usage assures Comfortable legs

Despite the long list of it’s benefits, care should be taken on the use. Fit is important and improperly worn stockings would cause problems. The process of wearing them is not as simple as wearing a normal socks and the instructions issued by the doctor must be strictly adhered-to. It is to be noted that people with certain health issues like severe congestive cardiac issues, advanced arterial disease etc are advised against the use of these gears and proactive caution is to be exercised. People with diabetes, smoking habits, skin infections and allergies should also use these after approval by their doctors. In a nut-shell, any medical compression stockings and socks should be used under the supervision of a trained medical practitioner for personal safety and any discomforts during their use must be immediately reported.