Men’s Compression socks have increased a lot in popularity over the years. These specially-made, stretchy, snug-fitting, and appealing socks will squeeze your legs gently. They are more popular among athletes and people involved in endurance exercises like running and triathlon. For these athletes, compression socks will improve their performance and reduce recovery time. Compression socks are elastic stockings that work great in reducing and preventing occupational edema of the lower limbs.
Compression Therapy and Compression Socks for Men
Compression socks are not meant for only elderly people. More people from all works of life now use men’s compression socks for foot, ankle and leg support. Professors, runners, nurses, pilots, athletes, students and people from all works of life wear them. Even people who stand frequently and sit for long periods use them too.
Graduated compression socks for men are usually prescribed for these cases because they offer many benefits for this condition. The indication for compression strength, which is mmHg (millimeters of mercury), is derived from the amount of atmospheric pressure needed for supporting a millimeter of mercury. They are more acceptable, quite easy to put on, and are not so cumbersome when compared to pneumatic devices or bandaging.
Benefits of Compression Socks for Men
Compression socks are becoming an increasingly popular item with men. They come in so many styles, colors, compression levels, and special attributes. There are a lot of benefits men derive from wearing compression socks.
Here are some of the benefits of wearing compression socks for men:
- They improve circulation in the legs
- They support the veins
- They help to prevent venous ulcers
- They boost lymphatic drainage
- They reduce or completely diminish swelling of the legs
- They ensure that blood does not pool in the leg veins
- They reverse venous hypertension
- They make sure deep vein thrombosis do not develop in your legs
- They help to reduce the effects of orthostatic hypotension, such as unsteadiness or lightheadedness when standing.
- They reduce pain that is caused by varicose veins
Types of Compression Socks for Men
Compression socks have different pressure levels. They have to be snug, but not tight enough to cause pain. Lower numbers are meant to keep you comfortable, while higher numbers are to provide you with more pressure.
Here are the three primary types of compression socks for men:
Graduated or Medical Compression Socks
Graduated compression socks are meant for ambulatory patients. These socks are manufactured with specific specifications from both medical and technical personnel. Most of these specifications have to do with length and strength. They are made to be very durable and consistent so that they provide precise pressure at the ankle as well as other graduation of compression. Medical compression socks are often used in the treatment of serious venous disease as well as edema. Most of the compression is channeled at the ankle, and then decreases as it goes upwards.
Knee-length graduated socks help to stop the progression of peripheral edema, or swelling of the lower leg as a result of fluid buildup. Meanwhile, thigh-high or weight-high graduated compression socks help to stop orthostatic hypotension and reduce blood pooling in the legs.
Usually, medical grade compression socks require a prescription, which your insurance can easily cover. Hence, they need professional fitting. Some manufacturers of graduated compression socks add some features like open-toe, closed-toe, colors, and styles.
Antiembolism socks, also known as thrombo-embolic deterrent (TED) hose are meant to meet the needs of bedridden patients. Although these socks also offer graduated compression, they differ in both compression levels and indications. They are often used after surgery, when the patient needs to remain in bed for some time. Patients who are at risk of having deep vein thrombosis (DVT) also make use of antiembolism socks.
Nonmedical Support Hosiery
Nonmedical support hosiery offers a uniform compression that is not graduated. The compression this hosiery exerts is less than that of graduated compression socks. Some examples of nonmedical support hosiery include elastic support stockings and flight socks. Their main aim is to provide relieve for legs that are heavy, tired, or aching. Unlike graduated compression socks, these socks do not meet any of the strict medical or technical specifications. You can buy them over the counter without having a prescription.
How Do Compression Socks for Men Work?
Before you make use of the graduated compression socks for men, it is important to know how they work. In order to work effectively, you have to wear the socks early in the morning.
The socks work by putting most of its compression on your ankle, while the compression level will reduce slowly up the socks. The essence of the pressure gradient is to ensure that blood flows freely towards the heart, and not downwards towards the foot or into superficial veins. When the graduated compression applied is adequate, there will be a reduction in the diameter of major veins. This, in turn, will increase the volume and velocity of blood flow.
Some of the benefits of graduation compression is to reverse venous hypertension, enhance venous return, supplement skeletal-muscle pump, as well as improve lymphatic drainage. Additionally, graduation compression initiates complex biochemical and physiologic effects that involve arterial, venous, and lymphatic systems.
Reasons You Should Consider Using Compression Socks for Men
There are a lot of reasons you should be using compression socks. People wear them for comfort, for better performance in sports, and for prevention of critical medical conditions. Although their major work is to improve blood flow, they also help to reduce pain and swelling in the legs.
If you can relate to any of the situations below, you should consider using compression socks:
For athletes and people who exercise, wearing compression socks can help to reduce soreness and enhance post-exercise recovery. Hence, it is advisable to wear compression socks before you begin your exercise so as to reduce muscle soreness in your legs.
You have a medical condition that requires it
Compression socks help in medical conditions like blood clots, leg ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, vein disease, sleep apnea, diabetes, poor circulation, injuries, swelling, and varicose veins.
You sit at a desk all day
You should know that prolonged sitting can result in leg fatigue and blood pooling in the lower legs. If you job requires prolong sitting, you should get a good pair of compression socks.
You spend too many hours on your feet
Standing in one position for too long could reduce the flow of blood and make you feel weak. If you have to stand for long periods of time, you should consider having a pair of compression socks to increase your energy and reduce fatigue.
You travel often
When embarking on a long trip, you will have to sit for long hours, and this can result in pooling of blood in your legs. While flying, prolong sitting could cause deep vein thrombosis. Hence, you need to use compression therapy so your legs will feel fresh when you get to your destination.
How to Grade the Strength of Compression
The classification of graduated compression socks for men is done according to the level of sub-bandage compression pressure that is applied by the socks around the ankle. The manufacturer of the compression socks for men bases the pressure on laboratory measurements. It is quite fortunately to note that there is no standard of measurement for compression socks used worldwide, and this tends to cause confusion.
Generally, however, the total pressure of the compression socks for men is affected by some factors. These factors include:
- the elasticity of the socks material
- the stiffness of the socks material
- the size of the wearer’s legs
- the shape of the wearer’s legs
- the movements of the wearer
- the activities the wearer engages in while wearing the socks
Here is a general grading used for the strength of compression:
- Low compression – Pressure < 20 mmHg or Class 1
- Medium compression – Pressure of 20 – 30 mmHg or Class 2
- High compression – Pressure > 30 mmHg or Class 3 and above
How to Make Use of Compression Socks for Men
If you have a medical condition that requires you to wear compression socks, then you should wear them according to your doctor’s direction. When you understand the purpose of compression socks, you will be able to use them correctly to meet your needs.
Firstly, you have to make sure you wear them first thing in the morning before you start walking around. If you put them on when you have already started walking around, blood may start collecting in your lower legs.
Also, make sure you wear your compression socks all day, until bedtime. You can remove them, wash them, and leave them to dry overnight. It is advisable to have more than one pair so that you can have a pair to wear if one is not yet dry.
When putting on your compression socks, do not fold them or roll them up, as you could be cutting off circulation of blood.
Factors to Consider before Buying Compression Socks for Men
Before you go to the store in search of the best compression socks, there are some basic things you should consider. Instead of just buying any pair of socks that appeals to your eyes, you should look out for certain things in the socks.
Here are some of the basic things you should look for in your compression socks:
You do not want to buy a pair of men’s compressions socks that are too tight, because if you can get to wear them, you will not be able to move around freely in them. Inasmuch as compression socks should be snug and supportive, they should not be too tight. Some manufacturers design their socks to have some padding in the feet, which is great for runners.
Another aspect of comfort to look for is the material the compression socks are made of. In order to prevent blisters and chafing, you should choose socks that are made of moisture-wicking material. This is also great when you need to avoid odor when you have to wear your socks for long.
Compression socks for comfort
To enjoy optimum performance, your compression socks should offer the perfect amount of support so that you will reach your goals. There are different compression socks to serve different purposes. If you are exercising, you should get a pair that helps to prevent injury and reduce fatigue. You could also try and get a pair for additional support, faster recovery, or on long flights.
Consider your specific needs and pain points when choosing compression socks so you get a pair that meets your specific need.
Compression socks for men come in different prices, and offer different value for your money. You may want to consider how often you intend to be wearing your socks and the purpose for which you will need them. If you care a lot about style, you could go for socks with fancy patterns, colors, and designs. It is important that you go for quality and not just budget. A very good quality pair of compression socks will not lose its compression after a few washings. A lot of people prefer socks they can throw into the washing machine.
Men’s compression socks offer a lot of benefits for foot, ankle and leg support. Whether you need it to help with a medical condition or you want to be a better athlete, the major benefit you will enjoy is improved circulation. Inasmuch as compression socks for men are often safe, there may be some adverse effects or complications, such as skin necrosis and allergic reactions. Hence, when using graduated compression socks, make sure they are properly measured and fitted. To improve compliance, healthcare providers should address the concerns of their patients, provide satisfactory information and reassurance, and help change the stocking material or lower the degree of compression.