Saw someone wearing socks that are knee high? Wondering what it actually is? Probably they are wearing a pair compression socks that is either worn as per medical intervention or for fulfilling the athletic pursuits. Those knee high versions of compression socks are stated as compression knee socks. It is all hidden in that name i.e. ‘compression’. Yes! These are a type of socks that applies a particular level of pressure which further serves the very purpose. Guarding the leg from ankle to knee by applying pressure cures a number of medical conditions and athletes wear them treat those sore legs.
Need to know all about the compression knee socks?
Here is all what you need to know!
What are compression knee socks?
As mentioned above, these compression socks are a type of hosiery specially designed to guard the limbs (lower) and to cure various medical conditions and disorders. Being a form of elastic garments, these are worn just like a normal pair of socks with a slight difference as these are knee high. As the name implies, these are the compression socks meant to create a compression on the limbs and this compression is going treat those venous network spread in the legs.
Unlike the regular stockings or athletic socks, these compression knee socks carry a greater strength of elasticity that tugs the legs, feet and ankles. In their functionality, these socks are tightest at the ankle and as they move above towards legs and knees, the constriction is less intensive. The purpose of constriction is just to make the blood flow from those narrow blood vessels and enhances the blood flow.
These socks act as a tool for compression therapy to cure edema, thrombosis and phlebitis. Moreover it enhances the blood flow, increases the valve efficiency and reduces that phenomena of vaso-dilation in lower limbs. It also cures the aching legs and partial impairments related to the venous network. Be it an external inducer for increasing the blood circulation, these socks omits the chances of formation of any blood clot or ulcers affecting the lower legs.
Compression socks for compression therapy:
Targeting the compression therapy by their utter functionality, the thematic background of these compression socks is that extent of pressure applied to the lower limbs from ankle to knee. The sheer force is the real deal for curing the conditions related to lower legs. These socks lower the venous pressure, omits the occurrence of venous stasis, defend against the impairment of venous walls and treats the soreness and heaviness in the legs usually occurring due to standing for a long time. All this is facilitated by that compression factor applied by the socks. It further helps to supply the blood back from lower limbs to heart for oxygenation all way through blood vessels.
The basic principle working in the background of this therapy are as follows:
1. The compression socks apply a controlled range of pressure on the limb. The pressure applied is calculated in units of millimeter of mercury (mmHg) or the hecto Pascals (hPa).
2. The action of the compression socks is what we called as a mechanical action.
3. The compression rate must be higher at ankle. This is why measuring the ankle and calf circumference is prerequisite.
4. If no contraindications like severe arterial insufficiency are present then these compression socks are a perfect choice.
5. The pressure applied on the legs is termed as digressive. The direction of the blood stream must be followed. A gradual pressure decrease from ankle upwards to ensure there is no way for reverse gradient compression to occur.
All this is the theme working for the compression knee socks. As a result of this pressure application, every part between ankles to knee are separately targeted and exhibit different beneficial aspects.
- The Hemodynamic effect:
The effect that is related to the blood flow in lower limbs.
- Increment in venous blood flow
- Lowers venous blood volume
- Omits the re-flux in diseased superficial or deep veins
- Lowers down a pathologically elevated venous pressure
2. The effect on the tissue:-
Not just the blood, rather the compression socks has a lot to do with the tissues too. Here is the following:
- Lowers the risk of an elevated oedema in the tissue
- Enhances the drainage of substances
- Reduces inflammation in the tissues
- Maintain the repairing processes
- Facilitates the efficient movement of tendons and joints
Familiar with the compression therapy and its advantages, now it’s time to see, what is compression class? when it comes to compression knee socks.
Compression class is basically the factor associated with the pressure the hosiery is applying to the critical point i.e. at the ankles. A socks with highest grade of compression class serves best for the purpose. Depending on these factors, there are three classes:
- Light support (12-14 mmHg)
- Moderate support (20-30 mmHg)
- Therapy (30-40 mmHg)
Compression socks for heavy/sore legs:
Apart from the venous impairments and disorders, the compression knee socks are also used to cure the sore legs, swelling of ankles caused due to prolonged periods of continuous standing. People who work for long working hours like medical staff, athletes and other attending staff, they usually suffer from the heavy legs. It is because the blood flow through the lover limbs is not appropriate. Not only applicable for the working people, rather heavy legs is the issue commonly confronted in pregnancy. Pregnant women can wear the compression socks to relax the heavy legs.
All these conditions can be relieved by selecting an appropriate compression knee socks and using it as per recommendations.
How do compression knee socks work?
Working of the compression socks again redirects you to the principle of compression therapy. Talking about a specialized compression stockings, it is all about the selection of the socks. How much pressure it is going to exert? Is it medical or non-medical? Is it extreme fit or not? A compression socks with a good fit is worth it as this will tighten up those lose muscle and get everything back to apt functionality. Here are some of the functionalities that are served by these compression stockings.
- The stress these stockings placed on your legs enables your blood vessels work efficiently. The arteries that take oxygen-rich blood in your muscle tissues can relax, so blood flows freely. The veins get a boost pushing blood again towards heart.
- Compression stockings/socks can protect your legs from getting tired and achy. They can also ease swelling on your feet and ankles in addition to help prevent and deal with spider and varicose veins. They will even forestall you from feeling mild-headed or dizzy whilst you stand up.
- Due to the fact the blood keeps moving, it is tougher for it to pool for your veins and make a clot. If still a clot is formed and breaks free, it could journey with your blood and get caught somewhere risky, like your lungs. Clots also make it more difficult for blood to go with the flow round them, and which can cause swelling, discolored skin, and other medical issues.
- For apt results, make sure your skin is dry, especially after making use of lotion. Moisture makes it tougher to pull stockings on. Sitting in a chair for balance as you put on the stocking additionally may assist. As soon as the stocking is on, check that seams run immediately up the leg and that there’s no bunching or wrinkling, especially on the ankles. Don’t fold the stocking from the top.
- You may protect the compression stockings from damage by means of pulling off socks, slippers or footwear over them, and being careful no longer to snag toenails, fingernails or jewelry on the stockings. A tear or run probably manner it desires to be replaced. Stockings additionally can also need to get replaced if they start to bunch up, wrinkle or slide down, or in the event that they stretch out through the years.
- Make sure to wear the stockings as prescribed, whether or not placing them on as soon as viable within the morning and sporting them till bedtime, or carrying them for the complete day and night time. If you forget about to put on them, your legs may additionally swell, making it hard or impossible to get the stockings on once more. In case your legs do swell, you’ll want to take steps to diminish swelling, consisting of lying down along with your feet accelerated or wearing compression bandages overnight. Contact your health care company if swelling persists for more than a couple of days or to talk about different alternatives if you are having problem wearing the stockings.
- Sooner or later, it’s essential that while you wear compression stockings you take a look at your legs day by day for regions of skin irritation, redness or other color or pores and skin changes. These may be symptoms that your stockings don’t fit successfully or that you have an infection.
Types of compression stockings:
Are you feeling like, the compression knee socks are the solution you need for a long time? Then let’s break the information about different type of compression stockings with various range of pressure in mmhg. There are three types of compression socks falling under the categories of medical and non-medical stockings. Here are the following:
- graduated compression stockings
- anti-embolism stockings
- nonmedical support hosiery
Let’s get a deeper insight for each of the following.
Graduated compression stockings
It is a type of compression socks, as per the principle, the pressure is strongest at the ankles gradually decreasing towards the legs and then the knees. Facilitating the mobility, these socks requires an extreme fit somewhat professional fit as it has to fulfill a medical pursuit. It comes in variants, the one that ends just below knees aids to impede the peripheral edema or any swelling that occurs due to the fluid buildup in lower legs.
The stocking that ends up to thighs or the leggings that are making up to the waist decreases the pooling of blood and lower down the chances of orthostatic hypotension. These compression socks are available in different sizes along with variants in colors. It also comes with an option of closed or open toe variations.
As the name implies, these are medical compression stockings that works to lower the chances of deep vein thrombosis. As the graduated stockings, these also provides gradient compression i.e. maximum pressure on ankles that decreases as moving up in gradient toward the knees. The pressure exerted by the stockings is different. Specially designed for the ones who are unable to move or have some partial mobility impairments.
Non-medical support hosiery
Aimed to facilitate the non-medical pursuits, this stocking is all about those elastic support hose and flight socks to reduce the pain and heaviness of aching legs. These socks apply a uniform pressure from ankle to knee and can be used without any prescription. Available in color and size variants, these socks are best for everyday usage.
Who can use these compression socks?
Presenting the list of right candidates, here are the ones who can use the compression socks both medical and non-medical depending on the severity of conditions.
- People who are at risk for blood circulation problems, e.g. DVT, varicose veins or diabetes
- People who’ve just undergone any surgery
- The ones who can’t leave their bed or have a mobility issue i.e. in moving their legs
- People who have to stand all day at work
- Pregnant women
- The ones who spend long time on airplanes, like pilots, air staff
- People also wear compression socks for their comfort, to perform better in sports, and to help as a defense against serious medical conditions.
These compression knee stockings come in different sizes and strengths along with variance on pressure, so you or your doctor is going to decide which one will suit best to you.
Benefits of compression socks (knee high)
With all its functionality, a compression knee stocking serves best for the purpose. Keeping both the medical and non-medical pursuits on the heart of their design, these socks carries the following array of potential benefits.
- It helps to boost circulation in your legs
- Gives a firm support to veins
- It prevent the blood from pooling in your leg veins
- These socks diminish leg swelling
- It reduces orthostatic hypotension that in turn causes light-headedness or unsteadiness when you stand
- help prevent venous ulcers and venous impairments
- It helps to prevent development of deep vein thrombosis in the legs
- Helps to sooth the pain caused by varicose veins
- Triggers reverse venous hypertension
- It further enhances the activity of lymphatic drainage
Serving for all of the above mentioned benefits to its utmost, the compression knee socks are worth it!
Side effects of compression stockings
Just in case, you are prescribed by the doctor for using a compression knee socks, still you have to stay vigilant and follow the symptoms. You have to check your legs daily and note or any change in skin, its color, its texture etc. in case of any redness or irritation observed on the skin or any region between knees to ankle, it may be due to following reasons.
- The stockings don’t fit properly i.e. too fitted or small. It also refers to inappropriate selection of socks in size or pressure.
- Any negligence in putting on or taking off your stockings may also cause irritation or redness.
- A prior skin infection that is aggravated due to the usage of socks.
- Allergic response towards the stocking material
All these conditions may result in the breaking of skin and peripheral nerve damage. It may also cause impaired arterial flow and using the compression socks can worsen ischemia, or inadequate oxygenated blood flow.
A wearable agent that applies adequate pressure on legs and ankles are termed as compression knee socks. It helps to promote blood flow and eradicates all the venous impairments and blood related issues like blood clots and edema. The pressure applied is gradient i.e. it is maximum at the ankle point and as moving up towards the knees, the pressure lowers down. Being beneficial to serve the medical and non-medical problems like heavy legs, the compression socks are available in different types with variation in color, size and pressure range.
Opting for the right size and type of compression socks is all that serves the purpose. Furthermore, the selection depends on the condition and severity of symptoms. One should keep all these points in mind to choose a compression socks.
If prescribed by the doctor to use the compression socks, you need to watch for certain points as mentioned below. These precautions are necessary to take while using a compression socks to avoid any consequence.
Here is what you need to follow:
- get your compression socks fitted properly
- follow all the instructions for properly putting on and removing the socks
- follow the doctor’s instructions, regarding when and how long to wear them
- Keep a check on skin changes that come in contact with the stockings