What do you look for while choosing your socks? Do you want maximum comfort? Or are you looking for a particular style? How about a pair of socks that not only ensures both but also comes with a multitude of added health benefits? Leg socks, also known as compression socks, are the latest innovation combining fashion with science and technology.
What are Leg Socks?
Leg socks, a piece of garment worn on legs, is available in different styles and types including leg warmers, boot socks, and cable socks. These are mostly meant for keeping the legs warm. However, these days, leg socks mostly refer to compression socks.
The socks are specially designed to provide maximum support to legs by applying pressure on the foot, ankle, and leg. It is usually made with firm elastic materials such as nylon and spandex. Leg socks made from polyester, lycra, cotton and wool are also available in the market to suit the different weathers and climates. The best part – they look the same as any other socks or leggings and can go with all your fashion choices. Moreover, now you can choose them according to your preferences from a large variety of shades, patterns, and designs available.
Why do you need Leg Socks?
Wondering why you need to start using leg socks? It is no secret that these socks offer innumerable benefits for its regular users. Let us look into some of the benefits of using them in detail.
· Improves Athletic Performance
This fact has long been acknowledged by athletes and experts around the world. Research has proven that wearing socks help to increase stamina and reduce muscle fatigue and soreness. Moreover, they can even minimise significant injury or damage to legs by providing a greater amount of support to the leg joints.
Also, these socks are helpful not only for playing sports but to increase the efficiency of exercise as well. Leg socks are made with a material that always keeps it airy and breathable to prevent excessive sweating. Moreover, these socks do not interfere with the flexibility of your limbs in any way. The muscles and joints of your legs can enjoy maximum support and stability from these socks and be saved from the risk of inflammation.
Additionally, the blood lactate clearance, or the removal of metabolic waste, is enhanced by wearing these socks. When you plan to work out next, put on a pair of these socks and see the benefits for yourself. You will be surprised to see that while wearing these socks, you can work out for much longer and recover even faster.
· Provides Relief from Pain and Fatigue
This is especially true for those who have to stay on their feet for long working hours. Leg socks support and stabilize your lower leg, offering great relief from the strain on your legs that comes from keeping your body upright for long hours. For those who work as waiters, nurses, flight attendants and so on, leg socks can truly be a blessing from heaven.
· Improves the Blood and Oxygen Flow
Wearing these can enhance your blood circulation rate significantly. This means your body cells receive more oxygen within a lesser amount of time. When you are wearing them, you are essentially giving your body a well-deserved oxygen boost.
Besides these common health benefits, they also offer tremendous medical benefits. Let’s take a look at a few of these medical benefits.
Medical Benefits of Leg Socks
In the medical field, leg socks are regularly used by people with limited mobility and are confined to bed for long periods. Those who just had surgery and require extended bed rest can also benefit from these socks greatly. The socks are medically prescribed to people with venous disorders such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), oedema, and phlebitis. These medical conditions often result in the formation of blood clots in the leg region that can be deadly if not treated correctly. Proper use of leg socks will increase the blood flow throughout the body. Subsequently, it reduces the chance of blood pooling in the legs and forming into clots.
Significantly, leg socks are not only used as a cure for these medical conditions but also to prevent the onset of any such diseases in the future.
Who can use Leg Socks?
When it comes to leg socks, anyone can benefit from its use – no matter your age, gender, or physical appearance. It is available in various sizes and shapes to suit the different body types of both men and women. However, people from certain work fields stand to benefit more from the regular use of it. This includes jobs which require you to stay on your feet for a long time, like that of nurses, waiters, and cashiers.
Conversely, people with jobs that require you to sit for long hours can also benefit from these socks. This is because staying seated for long periods leads to decreased blood flow in the legs and increased chances of clot formation. Unfortunately, most of the office jobs today require you to remain seated for an extended period of time. This may eventually result in various health issues such as foot swelling, constant leg pain, frequent clots and so on. This is why we recommend wearing log socks on your daily shift.
Moreover, this also makes it a great companion for long air journeys – whether you are the traveller, flight attendant, or the pilot.
Furthermore, pregnant women can also benefit from the regular use of leg socks. During the time of pregnancy, the hormone variations affect the leg veins resulting in constant swellings and ache. Doctors and experts suggest using these to relieve such health-related issues. No matter what you are doing – be it sitting, standing, or lying down – these help you by taking the pressure off your legs.
How to Choose the Most Suitable Leg Socks for You?
The most important part of choosing leg socks is selecting the right size. Keep in mind that it should be worn tight, but not too tight. So how do you choose the perfect pair of leg socks for you? Read on to find out.
· Measure your legs
The first step is to accurately measure your foot and calf. Knowing your regular shoe size might not be sufficient if you want to get the best fit in leg socks. If you are looking for knee-high leg socks, you have to measure not only your feet size, but your thigh, calf, and ankle size as well. In this case, you can get the most accurate size by measuring your ankle from the thinnest part of your calf to the thickest part.
However, if you are looking to get full-length or thigh-high socks, make sure to measure the entire length and width of your leg from top to bottom. You also need to measure the widest part of your thighs to get the correct size. After getting the measurements, compare them with the sizing pattern provided by the brand to find out which size fits you the best.
· Determine the type of leg socks you need
Various types are available to suit different needs and purposes. These include ones with graduated compression, anti-embolism socks, and non-medical leg socks.
Those that come with graduated compression are meant for specific medical conditions and purposes. These socks will fit tight at your ankles but fit loosely towards the top of your thighs. Accordingly, the compression of these socks will also be felt the most at the ankles and decreases as it goes up. This difference makes it easier for blood to flow against the gravitational force and travel back and forth from the heart at a quicker pace. This type of compression is also known as gradient compression.
Anti-embolism compression leg socks or Thrombo-embolic deterrent (TED) leg socks are for those with limited mobility. These include patients who are confined to bed or wheelchair after surgery. Different levels of compression are available in these leg socks. Non-medical leg socks are meant for non-medical purposes. This means they can be used at will without a medical prescription and are easily available in most medical shops. These can be regularly used by anyone to get relief from pains and aches and to treat light swelling in the leg areas. They generally provide non-gradient compression – that is, uniform compression throughout the area.
Carefully look through each of these different types of leg socks available. Select the best one according to your purpose of wearing them.
· Determine the compression level of your leg socks
What sets these apart from regular socks is its compression. The graduated pressure exerted by the socks on your leg. Compression can be felt the most at the ankles, and gradually decreases the higher it goes towards the thighs. Different leg socks with varying compression levels are available, based on the degree of compression it provides. These levels can vary from 8 mmHg (Millimeters of Mercury) to 40 mmHg. As the compression level of these socks increases, the amount of pressure and support applied on your leg will also increase.
8-15 mmHg offers light support, whereas 15-20 offers moderate support. They will be able to help you with minor problems like light swelling and such. For regular use and non-medical purposes, these will be sufficient. However, if you are using leg socks for a specific medical purpose, make sure to consult a physician. It will help determine the right level of compression for you. 20-30 mmHg socks will give you firm compression and can be used to prevent thrombosis. You can also use them to recover from the pain and swelling immediately after having surgery on the leg.
If you need extra firm compression, you can go for 30-40 mmHg socks. This compression level is suitable for the prevention of DVT. However, if you are under high risk of DVT, you should use ones with 40-50 mmHg compression level instead. Please note that leg socks with these compression levels are only to be used under a doctor’s recommendation. Else, you might accidentally end up making your condition worse.
· Determine the length of leg socks you need
These are categorized into different types according to the variations in length available. These include knee-high, thigh-high, waist-high, and sleeves. You should choose the right length and type of leg socks according to your specific purpose of use.
Knee-high socks are best suited for treating the swellings below the knee. It’s useful for medical conditions such as varicose veins and spider veins. It provides support for the feet, calf, and ankles. Additionally, it promotes vein health and reduces the formation of blood clots in the leg. It also helps prevent peripheral oedema. This is the condition in which the lower leg swells up due to excessive fluid buildup in the leg. If you have recently undergone recent leg surgery, knee-high socks will be of great use to you.
Meanwhile, thigh-high socks mainly focus on the lower leg and thighs. If you need support for the entire leg, you can go for full-length socks. Full-length or thigh-high socks can be used by those with swellings above the knee area. In addition to this, waist-high socks provide support for the pelvic area as well. Waist-high and thigh-high socks can help prevent orthostatic hypotension or the pooling of blood.
Leg socks with only the tube part and not the feet are called sleeves. These are mostly used for improving the blood circulation in and around the legs.
Where to buy Leg Socks?
You can get these leg socks from any medical store near you. However, if it is meant for a highly specific medical use, you might have to get it specially designed from the manufacturer.
What are the precautions to be taken while using Leg Socks?
Even though leg socks have been in use for decades, there have been no reports on any negative effects caused by its use. However, incorrect use of it may result in various health risks. This is why you need to be aware of your medical conditions before starting to use them. Though they are convenient and easy to use, you need to keep in mind several things to ensure there are no adverse effects.
· Ensure they are of the correct length, size, and fit for you
· Avoid wearing these to bed. However, you can use them throughout the day.
· Ensure that your socks are not bunched together anywhere after wearing them.
· Keep your socks away from moisture. After each wash, dry it properly.
· Keep them away from excessive heat. Do not expose it to hot water or direct heat.
· Moisturize your skin before wearing it.
· Avoid wearing them to the shower or bath.
· After removing your leg socks, look out for any skin irritation or allergy. If found any, discontinue its use and consult with your doctor at once.
· Replace your leg socks with a fresh pair every six months.
It seems like these socks are here to stay for all the right reasons. These socks ensure that all who use it for different purposes – be it for medical and health benefits or to improve athletic performance – get their money’s worth. They have already been highly popular among athletes and those in the medical field for the last few decades. However, the common man has only come to know about its benefits recently.
Today, leg socks combine medical science and fashion to bring you maximum advantages and peak comfort. Incredibly, just by adding this piece of clothing to your wardrobe, you can improve your life and health to a great extent. It will help you bring down both your physical and mental stress, boost your blood flow, and keep you healthy and happy for a long time. Grab a pair of them today and enjoy its plethora of benefits.