Compression knee high socks or stockings are specifically designed to lessen the risk of having painful swelling. It is also used to reduce the risk of contracting deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The reasons, as well as other uses of compression socks, will be discussed extensively in this article. Relax and read on!
Why Do I Need Compression Socks?
You do not have to arrive at your destination with a case of DVT or swollen feet; thereby, you need compression socks. DVT is known as a type of blood clot that occurs in the body, and usually in the lower leg. DVT is generally painful, and if it’s left untreated, it could develop into significant problems with your blood circulation, thus demanding urgent medical attention. In extreme cases, DVT can migrate to a pulmonary embolism, when this happens, the blood clot goes to the lung, and this requires explicitly instant medical attention.
With compression socks, a person can be helped to improve the blow flow in the legs. Also, the risk of DVT can be lessened, and fluid retention in the legs can be addressed. They are specifically vital for a passenger traveling on a plane for a very long time. Ideally, this trip will require long hours of sleep, as a result of that, an increase in the swelling and clotting of blood in the lower part cannot be avoided. Several travelers have decided to wear compression socks each time they fly. They want to reduce their risk or lower fluid retention and DVT.
What are compression socks, and how do they work?
Compression socks are designed to enhance circulation and blood flow via the legs to increase circulation and reduce pain. Compression socks come in a vast array of materials, supportive design, and compression levels, depending on the specific needs of individuals. Regardless, it is designed to help a person have a better circulation, control odor, or provide support for the arch.
Regarding the importance of an increase in circulation that compression brings, the increase help in revitalizing the muscles and also does well in helping a patient recover on time between a workout or when an individual receives a particular treatment.
As earlier highlighted, compression socks can assist in the reduction of swelling. And this means that the patients wearing this would be able to rise on the bed feeling more lively and refreshed, even though he just completed a strenuous job, he can be helped to attain refreshment. So, there shouldn’t be any worry regarding a long-time sitting, walking, or running.
In a simple term, compression socks are well designed to improve blood circulation, give support to the legs, and limit the physical stress that usually emanates from daily works that are mounted on the leg.
Compression socks are worn by lots of individuals from athletes, like runners, to CrossFit competitors, and a large number of sports activities. It is recommended for everyday use for women that are pregnant, nurses, and mothers and other professionals that require extended periods of standing or sitting.
Furthermore, compression socks are used by patients that are recovering from some leg condition. This is prescribed for them to improve blood circulation and enhance leg comfort. Before purchasing compression socks, consult reliable physicians, who are specialist to give you advice. Do not forget to explain to this medical caregiver any cases of health issues that you have or you’ve addressed in the past.
Impressive benefits of wearing high knee compression socks for medical purpose
For those dealing with some medical conditions, compression socks can help them in the improvement of circulation. This will help them to manage used muscle fibers and then potentially reduce the time for recovery when it is applied with a prescribed medical health routine and professional medical advice.
Compression stockings or socks can prevent the progression of venous disorders from patients that are suffering from poor blood flow, varicose veins, and several other venous conditions.
Unlike some regular socks, top-premium compression socks adopt energetic/tight elastic materials, designed with unique properties. To add pressure on the feet, legs, and ankle to enhance blood flow oxygenation and circulation throughout the legs.
If you are experiencing swelling in the leg or ankle, varicose veins, or one of the numerous venous conditions, the best treatment is to wear compression socks, which will benefit you and improve your blood flow and oxygenation in your lower body and legs.
Although if you have issues with the heart, a diabetic patient, or you are dealing with leg or skin infection, or you have a chronic arterial disease, you need to consult your physician before you adopt the use of compression socks so that you wouldn’t go ahead and purchase ones that will further lead to complication of your health.
The medical benefits of wearing compression socks:
- Helps in the prevention or minimizing of varicose veins
- It reduces swelling in legs
- It helps to improve oxygenation and blood flow.
- Helps in the quick recovery of sore or achy muscles
- It helps in dealing with Lymphedema
- Assist in the reduction of venous ulcers.
What are thigh high and knee high Compression Socks for?
Compression socks can be applied by most people that would love to enhance their blood circulation, add a layer of comfort, support to the feet, and reduce swelling. With exception to folks that are dealing with specific medical conditions, they might need to consult their doctor. However, in general, compression socks can be vital in improving a person’s health when correctly applied.
Out of all the essential things that are needed when purchasing compression socks is that a person must be able to choose the correct level that will be appropriate for use. Consistently, you can always check your compression level requirement when you pay attention to the compression socks’ strength and the case. This information is often included in the socks box.
These compression levels below are usually listed as:
- 8-15mmHg (mild)
- 8-15mmHg (mild compression)
- 15-20mmHg (moderate compression)
- 20-30mmHg (Rigid compression)
- 30-40mmHg (extra Rigid compression)
The higher the number of compression socks, the higher the level of compression that will be given to users. Higher levels of compression are designed to have a profound impact on firmness and blood flow. Therefore, your choice of socks must rely on your overall health and your needs.
Compression Stockings For Daily Use
While recognized for their benefits in the athletic and medical fields, compression socks are frequently applied for workers that need to improve their circulation and support. These individuals include office workers, restaurants, hotel staff, health care workers, and many other working professionals.
Maternity compression socks or pregnant women compression socks are often applied by individuals that desire to limit their risk of thrombosis, varicose veins, reduce risk of phlebitis, and to reduce the pain and swelling that occurs in the ankles and feet.
Compression Stockings or Clothing For Athletes
Apart from individuals that are making use of compression socks to attain recovery under several medical conditions. Compression clothing is generally worn by a large variety of athletes, soccer players, football players, runners, and several other athletes.
When these athletes require it to be worn, they are applied so that they could be aided in the improvement of blood flow and the reduction of time and provision of support to the feet, ankles, and heels. They are of varying materials and designs that can either cover a vast array of athletic activities, or they can be designed for an individual sport, depending on the needs of the users.
When You Shouldn’t Wear high knee Compression Stockings
An individual that is dealing with cardiovascular issues, has issues with skin rashes, medical conditions, or you have a problem with reduced blood flow, should not wear compression socks, as it can complicate the condition further. Regardless of the type, either a compression sleeve, stockings, or socks, do not wear any. Instead, speak with your physician and get advice on the kind of compression clothing you should wear, so you don’t put unnecessary pressure on your body and alter the flow of blood.
Other Benefits of Compression Stockings
Compression socks offer a vast array of benefits for first-time flyers and consistent flyers too. These include:
- Promote Circulation: Pilots and flight attendants wear compression socks. Compression socks can help an individual to enhance blood flow from the feet back to the heart, thereby promoting good circulation, and even though you are in a plane sitting for a long time, you won’t feel uncomfortable.
- Reduce discomfort and pain: Compression socks can help you keep legs from fatigue and aches. Some studies have revealed that compression socks can help in the prevention of varicose and spider veins from developing.
- Reduce sweat and odor. An amazingly pleasant negative effect of wearing compression socks during a long flight is that they are usually moisture-wicking and are filled with odor-limiting antimicrobial properties.
- Add Additional Comfort. Compression socks aren’t just primarily designed for flyers. They have several practical applications too outside the airplane. You can wear them so you can be helped in the reduction of pain and discomfort when a person is hiking, going sightseeing, strolling, or even running to a destination.
Thigh-high compression stockings or Knee High: How to Choose the best
In selecting compression stockings, one vital question that often occurs is that: Should a patient go for either knee-length or thigh-high? The answer is, indeed, surprising. Why? A few folks have sometimes thought that thigh-high and knee-length compression stockings have their unique effects and indications. However, before I provide an answer to that question, it is beneficial that I share with you a few research gathered about these two compression socks.
In a study published nine years ago, by Clinical Nurse Specialist, the journal indicated that knee-high compression socks were favored because it is more comfortable for nurses and patients to use. Besides, it is less expensive, and it is more convenient for patients to wear, causing less injury like rashes and sores around the band.
Another study, carried out by St. cloud hospital in Minnesota gives another essential outlook. The research was done to determine the best choice of compression stocks, whether patients should go for thigh-high or knee-high. The result derived from this study was not similar to what was obtained by the clinical nurse specialists. Additionally, it was revealed that knee-high compression stockings do not give comfort to some patients since the knees aren’t covered, Also, the research indicated that thigh high compression design feels tight and will usually slide down the leg.
In another study that was published by Harvard health newsletter involving 267 patients that are being treated for DVT, the study was carried out in more than seven general hospitals in Italy from the period of October 2005 to September 2007. The selected patients, at random, were assigned to wear thigh-high or knee-high compression socks for two years each day. After three years, a follow up was made. The study revealed that some patients who were given knee-high compression socks develop post-thrombotic syndrome, while those with thigh-high wears developed other side effects that include itching, redness, and thus, leads to weak compliance to the design.
With these above research, what can be concluded? Well, it must be noted that these studies have limitations and might not apply to all wearers of compression socks. Always recall that each person is unique in terms of preference and the level of comfort and convenience.
Note: I am not exonerating knee-high compression stockings over tight high designs. Also, I am not saying that they are more effective and comfortable. However, knee-high and thigh-high compression stockings both have similar functions and effects, which are designed to enhance blood circulation and the prevention of blood clotting.
What really matters is your doctor’s prescription. For instance, if you are deciding to wear thigh-high or knee-high. After carefully examining your condition, your doctor might prescribe the best that will work for you because of your specific situation.
Therefore, answering the above question will be tricky. But what you are required to do is detailed research. There are a lot of articles that will guide you. And then, your doctor will give you the ultimate guide. Nevertheless, you have the final choice but always work with your physician.
What you should know when you want to buy the best compression socks
There are a few key things to be noted before you purchase a pair of compression socks. At least, you’d have to be aware of their needs and what they really are.
Compression Socks acts similarly like an extra layer of muscles in the body. It applies pressure to specific areas to help a person return blood to the heart.
This has a positive impact or lowers the production of lactic acid and leads to an increase of VO2 max. The indication of this is that it makes lower legs appear extra colorful, thus making blood flow efficiently. Little wonder some put them on when they are on a flight, to prevent DVT.
The majority of socks apply what’s generally called gradient pressure, and this means less pressure is applied to the leg. Nevertheless, because different people have different shaped feet and legs, and different levels of circulation, it is wise to search for compression socks that will apply pressure at the correct level to the affected leg.
Also, the level of compression is on variation. If, for example, a brand highlights the grade of compression, there is a very high tendency that you will be getting real compression instead of something that will later turn to be tighter. Sadly, many brands do not provide this information. And it makes getting the right one difficult.
You will find a wide range of different fabrics. Some will add compression with layering, to ensure that the feet are kept warm. Others, on the other hand, Will use moisture-wicking modern technology to affect comfort for users. Therefore, you must think about when and where you are likely to use them.
It is also noteworthy that you think about thickness and how they will feel in your running shoes. All compression socks available in the world will not assist you if you’ve got blisters because your shoe – sock combo has consumed all the wiggle room for your toes.
Buying guide for compression socks
Sixty thousand miles of blood vessels are obtainable in your body. Putting this number in perspective, the whole of the United States is just 2,802 miles. You can create a mental picture now. Your blood vessels are instrumental in the distribution of oxygen and nutrients all over your body. They also function as waste transporters away from your organs and muscles.
In a situation where blood vessels located in your feet stop functioning correctly, it can result in complications and problems of all sorts. You may begin to feel cold or numb, and in some cases, your feet start to wobble. Injuries on your legs and feet, in this case, take longer healing time than usual. Other problems may arise, from body hair loss to dry skin and even erectile dysfunction in severe cases.
Diabetes and obesity are the two factors implicated in issues relating to blood flow. Peripheral artery disease is a condition that occurs when there is an accumulation of plaque in the blood vessels. If ignored or left untreated, it can result in other situations like leg oedema, varicose veins, and other complications. Raynaud’s Disease, a rare condition, can lead to difficulties in circulation in the lower body. Mayo Clinic says that scientists have not been able to define the cause of Raynaud’s Disease. They have been able to ascertain that it is a condition that affects mostly middle-aged women living in areas with cold climate.
One of the most effective ways to improve blood circulation in your feet and lower body is wearing compression socks. These compression socks have an idea of squeezing the tissues of the legs and venous walls. It forces blood in the legs into narrow channels. This increase in pressure in the arteries of the lower body makes blood flow back to the heart easier.
There are lots of health benefits associated with using compression socks. Professionals such as athletes make use of them to improve performance and avoid getting injured. People who have varicose veins make use of compression socks to ease their pain and prevent further progression of the condition. Pregnant women, on the one hand, make use of them, especially those whose jobs require standing for long hours. People who are just recovering from surgery also use them.
Ensure to consult first with your doctor before using compression socks, especially if you have any history of serious medical issues. People suffering from septic phlebitis, heart failure, ischemia and other related diseases are advised not to wear them.
Compression can be measured or equated in millimetres of mercury, or mmHg. This goes to say that more compression is not always a guarantee for more health benefits or better quality. If you come to terms with this, you’ll discover that you don’t need much compression if it is intended to be used to prevent the development of varicose veins or relieve mild pain. It’s always a good idea to seek advice from your doctor first before buy if you’re not sure on the compression level you need.
Reason for use
Some compression socks can be used for sports as they have certain features such as ergonomic designs, extra padding around the arch and ankle areas and bright colours. Others are designed to suit your demands and also meet the needs of people who have different medical conditions. Compression socks classified as Medical grade tend to offer more compression and support when compared to those used for athletics or casual purposes.
In general, the more surface area covered by a compression sock, the more difficult it is to put on and remove. Compression socks with full coverage are an ideal option for certain types of medical conditions. Full-length open-toe stockings strike a good compromise between ease of use and surface area.
To be realistic, if your compression socks aren’t comfortable, you probably won’t wear it. When buying compression socks, choose one made with a material you feel comfortable in. If you’re not satisfied with the way your compression socks feels when you wear them, return it and ask for a refund, or better still, exchange it for a better one.
If you intend to use your compression socks regularly, make sure to buy a compression sock that blends perfectly with other things in your wardrobe. They are available in different patterns and colours. Nowadays, compression socks don’t have to look like medical equipment to be considered valid. Innovation has brought about many stylish designs and features, and they are available in all kinds of different colours.
The most popular materials used in making compression socks are microfiber, cotton and spandex. Most athletic compression socks are manufactured from Merino wool. Merino wool is obtained from Merino Sheep. The fibres from Merino wool are more delicate, softer and less itchy when compared to ordinary wool.
Compression socks often have convenience features like side zippers on them. These side zippers make putting it on and removing it more natural as compared to those without it. If you intend wearing your compression socks below your clothes, you should choose one with a zipper. If you have trouble putting on or removing your compression socks, you may need to get a donning tool.
Compression socks offer a wide range of varying degrees of pressure or tightness. This can be measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and stipulates the amount of pressure to be put on your legs.
They are rated thus:
- Light: 10-15 mmHg
- Mild: 15-20 mmHg
- Moderate: 20-30 mmHg
- Firm: 30-40 mmHg
Light pressure socks, which ranges under 15 mmHg is suitable for healthy people who can stand all day. Mild compression ranging about 15-20 mmHg is the most effective and first grade to be used in preventing Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in airline passengers, while moderate compression which is above 20 mmHg is medical-grade compression effective for oedema, varicose veins and preventing blood clotting after surgery. Firm compression, 30-40 mmHg is used for post-surgery, chronic illness, or when prescribed by a doctor.
If you want to buy compression socks, the cheapest and most budget-friendly are low-cut/casual wear socks. You can get it from $10 to $15. Full-length casual compression socks are a bit costlier.
The next you can get are athletic compression socks. Getting one with good quality is achievable at the price of $25. Athletic compression socks with brand names are a bit more expensive.
In general, full-length medical-grade compression socks can be said to be the most expensive compression socks obtainable. Their cost is about $30.
Frequently asked questions
Q: How can I differentiate between uniform and graduated compression socks?
A: Graduated compression socks, often referred to as graded or gradient compression socks are designed specifically to place enough pressure around your foot and ankle area. The farther up the leg they go, the less stress thereof. Uniform compression socks, on the other hand, distribute compression in an even tone. Aside from being very easy to wear when compared to uniform socks, graduated socks are certified to be most effective. This is the reason why some medical-grade compression socks are graduated.
Q: How much compression do I need?
A: Compression ratings differ. Compression socks with 8-15 mmHg are classified as mild and are useful in relieving pain and reducing swelling. Medium compression socks (15-20 mmHg) help stop the development of varicose veins while firm compression socks (20-30 mmHg) assist in the management of ulcers and prevention of complications after surgery like blood clotting. Extra firm compression socks with 30-40 mmHg compression are used in the treatment of chronic oedema and lymphedema. Socks rated RX grade with a compression of 40-50 mmHg are useful for treating chronic venous insufficiency and severe conditions relating to vein dysfunction.
Q: Are compression socks useful for boosting sports performance?
A: In a recent study published by the US National Library of Medicine, it was suggested that compression socks don’t make marathon runners run faster or longer. Nonetheless, the same study has indicated that compression socks help prevent inflammation and reduce pain around the muscle.
Tips and Tricks to Getting the Relief You Need
- Check with your doctor first.
The first mistake people make when starting their journey with knee-high compression socks is self-diagnosing. To get the absolute support that you need, it is best to check in with a trained medical professional. It is always a piece of good advice before you begin using any type of compression garment. The medical practitioners look at every detail before recommending the best medical grade of knee-high compression socks for you. Sometimes, when people overlook this and choose size that is unfit from Amazon, it can be harmful to a person.
- Use talcum powder.
This is one trick that most people have not realized yet. We’re glad to be revealing this life hack or should we say, “Sock hack”?
If you’re conversant with using knee high compression socks, you should know by now that sometimes, it gets difficult when trying taking it off, especially after wearing it for a very long time. If you are experiencing trouble putting on or removing your knee-high compression sock, talcum powder is your answer. Apply the powder on your skin before the wearing your stockings and see your troubles melt away.
- Don’t put them on if your legs are already swollen.
A very cautionary tip especially when it comes to adorning compression stockings are to avoid putting them on when your legs are already swollen. If you have been walking without them for a long period of time, elevate your legs for a while so that the swelling subsides, then put them on. Putting them on swollen feet can cause more harm than good.
- Wearing your Knee-high Compression Sock at night has no relevance.
The misconception with knee-high compression socks is that they work best at night. Now, the truth is that while lying, your blood flow is at its best and so, it is highly unnecessary to put them on while sleeping. The best time to put on your compression socks is in the morning.
- Wear them correctly for good results.
Most times, people conclude that their compression supplies are not working while they have been putting it on wrongly the whole time. If your compression material is not worn correctly, it won’t work properly. When you feel that it doesn’t fit quite well, take your time to readjust it. This should be done during the day for better results.
From all you have read so far, compression socks are more of an asset than a liability. If you have conditions highlighted above such as the deep vein thrombosis, do not hesitate to visit your physician. Besides, just as noted, some health cases might hinder you from using these knee high compression socks; therefore, if you’ve noticed these conditions from this article, please speak with your doctor first.
Meet only specialist doctors, with their wide range of knowledge on compression socks, they are ever ready and willing to attend to your needs in specific ways. Also, they will give you accurate advice. You should note this advice in case of subsequent occurrence.
Furthermore, always consider the expenses and your body requirements before wearing compression stockings either knee high or thigh high. Even if you don’t have health complications, but you have the desire to use an alternative, consult your doctor first before you move from one treatment to the other.
Finally, you will always have the best health when you use compression socks. Contrary to what you may have heard about it, compression socks are indeed a way to enjoy comfort more than ever before.