Last Updated March 13, 2020
Your Compression Socks Guide
Compression socks, also known as compression stockings, are often used by athletes and individuals who need to improve blood circulation. Some consumers, however, do not understand the science behind this sort of footwear or where to buy compression socks. This short guide may serve as a way to better understand the nature of compression stockings and the benefits of using them.
What are compression socks?
Compression socks are snug-fitting stockings meant to stretch with the body so that the person who wears them feels fully supported. The footwear is sometimes used by athletes to prevent injuries during strenuous activities.
There is, of course, more to compression stockings than the athletic aspect. Seniors also wear socks to improve blood flow. In particular, individuals with varicose veins and diabetes may wear compression stockings to combat the effects of their condition. The socks are also ideal for bed-ridden individuals and pregnant women.
How do compression stockings work?
“What is the magic behind compression socks,” you may wonder. The secret is in the pressure. Compression stockings enact tension that causes the blood vessels in your legs to relax. Such relaxation ultimately leads to a better flow of blood throughout the body.
The immediate benefits of compression socks due to better blood flow include:
- A better feeling overall as the legs ache less;
- A reduced likelihood of blood clots due to stagnation in bed, which gives the blood the opportunity to pool and cause a life-threatening condition;
- A reduction in the appearance of varicose veins.
Compression stockings may even decrease the chances of lightheadedness, which could lead to unconsciousness.
Other benefits of compression socks?
Another benefit of compression stockings is reduced swelling in the legs. Your body is less susceptible to inflammation when it is relaxed. Thus, compression socks lower the chances of irritation and eventual swelling due to the veins overworking themselves.
Compression socks can also prevent venous ulcers. This condition is evident through wounds on the legs, which are caused by abnormal or damaged veins. Compression socks can also reverse venous hypertension while reducing the pain caused by varicose veins.
Who should wear compression stockings?
Some advertisements present compression socks as only for the athletic or physically ill. The reality, however, is that anyone who sits for extended periods should consider investing in a pair of socks.
Compression stockings are especially ideal for those with sedentary lifestyles that include sitting for hours at work. The constant need to stay seated can affect the way that blood flows through the body over time. Compression socks are also good for traveling. Sitting on a plane or in a car for hours affects blood flow.
Despite what some believe, the color of your compression stockings does not affect the quality. You can choose to wear red on Monday to match your cute outfit. You may want to wear black or blue stockings throughout the workweek to be more uniformed. There are even compression socks with stripes that let you have fun with your apparel.
What makes good compression socks?
The color of your stockings may not matter much, but the quality of your footwear does impact your experience. The best compression socks are crafted to last for several months and provide a comfortable, yet firm feel.
Some people prefer to wear 20-20 mmHg compression socks. These stockings are the most frequently prescribed compression level as they work to treat a variety of conditions, which include edema and varicose veins.
You do not need a prescription to purchase compression socks 20-30. Our knee-high compression socks are 65 percent Nylon and 35 percent Spandex for a snug and comfortable fit.
More about the types of compression socks
In terms of forms, there are three types of compression stockings:
- Graduated Compression Stockings
- Anti-embolism Stockings
- Non-medical Support Hosiery
Graduated compression socks offer the strongest support in the ankle area. Most athletes may be inclined to wear these types of stockings. Anti-embolism stockings are primarily for the immobile, which means that support is more evenly distributed throughout the leg area.
Non-medical support hosiery does not require a prescription for purchase. These compression socks are generally used by individuals seeking relief for tired legs.
Compression socks while pregnant?
Pregnancy comes with various physical changes. It is not uncommon for expectant women to develop hypertension and other conditions related to blood flow as a result of the growth of their unborn child. Fatigue is also common among pregnant women who sometimes endure aches in their legs after walking around the house or running errands.
Compression socks work to reduce the effects of fatigue and problems with blood flow caused by pregnancy. The stockings especially work to reduce foot pain during expectancy as the blood that would ordinarily pool at the bottom of the feet is encouraged to flow through the body by the pressure of compression socks.
Women who are pregnant are often advised to start wearing compression socks during the early stages of expectancy. You can, of course, implement the stockings in your daily self-care plan at any point during your pregnancy.
Stockings for runners
The debate of whether compression socks improve a runner’s performance is still in the air. The stockings do not work like magic to propel an ill-prepared runner ahead of other athletes who have prepared for the race. Compression socks do, however, decrease the likelihood of severe fatigue during competition. Such a benefit could cause a runner to go farther at a quicker rate.
Compression socks also provide a level of support to runners that reduce the chance of an injury. Your legs can ultimately put all of their energy into the task at hand instead of working overtime to sustain themselves while in motion.
What should you look for in compression stockings?
The first step to finding the compression socks that work best for you is to understand compression levels. 20-30 mmHg compression socks are ideal for athletes and individuals living with medical conditions. There are, however, other levels of compression that work just as good as compression socks 20-30.
Those who do not need as much pressure to improve blood flow may want to consider 15-20 mmHg compression socks. These stockings are great for daily wear and sports recovery. Another option known as 30-40 mmHg compression socks are also for daily wear around the house or for work, though many use these types of stockings to treat blood clots and severe cases of edema.
Understanding the different style options is also important when choosing your compression socks. Knee-high stockings stop just below the knee and provide the greatest support to your calves, ankles, and feet. Thigh-high and waist-high stockings are ideal for those who need full support and improved blood flow throughout their legs.
Which socks will you choose?
The type of compression socks you choose depends on a number of factors. You should, however, not let the options discourage you. Compression socks are excellent for improving blood flow and should be included in every person’s self-care routine.