Last Updated January 15, 2020
Often many times, people think using shoes is a prerequisite of wearing socks and vice versa for some set of people too. In the same vein, many others believe socks are ordinary for fashion. Well, all of them are not wrong; likewise, they are not entirely right. In a real sense, socks have diverse used, and in each case, the targeted aim will be fulfilled.
Compression stockings can be referred to as specific undergarments that are made to hinder or prevent the progression of venous incompetence that can affect one’s health. Common examples are thrombosis, phlebitis, and edema.
They are elastic materials that are worn mainly in the lower limbs. The diameter of the enlarged vein is decreased, leading to effectiveness in the venous return to the heart, consequently boost the blood flow in the body.
How Compression Socks Work
Compression socks materials are typically elastic and fit tightly to one’s legs and least active at the thigh region. They cause the contraction of the muscles of the calf, leading to an increase in the acceleration of the blood to the heart. This action leads to a decrease in venous pressure; as a result, signs of diseases of the veins are decreased.
The way these socks work is generally the same irrespective of what type they are. They are useful only when worn and are recommended to be off when sleeping though it depends on situations.
The pressure of compression socks is measured in a unit of mmHg. In most common forms, the pressure is around 8 mmHg – 40 mmHg. Though variations occur depending on the material and the style used. Most doctors recommend the range of 20 mmHg – 30 mmHg to their patients. Few doctors will recommend that their patients go for their specific size; in that case, customization.
A well-customized compression sock that will fit an individual is crucial. This is because too tight socks will restrict the flow of healthy blood. Also, when it is too loose, the aim of the socks will be defeated. This fitting ensures that proper blood is pumped through the veins, and the backflow of blood is prevented. To obtain an adequately fitted sock, one needs to have their limb length, thigh circumference, and ankle measured.
Categories of Compression Stockings
Below, we will briefly discuss some medically reviewed categories of compression socks that are suitably fit for patients to put on:
- Graduated compression stocks
- Anti-embolism stock
- Nonmedical support type
Graduated Socks Type
These types require an expert. They end immediately below the knee and are the key players in peripheral edema that occur as a result of the accumulation of fluid. In this type of compression socks, the strength and length of compression is highest at the ankle and depreciate steadily as they reach the top. They are made for flexibility and some medical conditions.
Another form of compression socks that decrease the tendency of venous thrombosis is anti-embolism socks. They are more like anti-gravity. They are the graduated type in actions but differs from it in relative to their strength. It increases the tendency of propelling against gravity.
Nonmedical Support Type
These do not require instruction from a professional. They are mere elastic socks wore by anyone for so many reasons. They give less pressure than other types of compression socks.
Reasons For Using It
This is one of the conditions of the classification of socks. Many people target a variety of aims to be achieved with it; the common reasons will be discussed here:
- After surgery: The possibility of coming up with dangerous clots increases after surgery. Also, if, for any reason, one needs bed rest, the compression socks are prescribed by doctors.
- Athletic Performance: Because athletes are always in need of protection and improve performance, most of them usually put compression socks to solve the problem. A lot of studies have further shown the significance of athletes that use it during events. It cushions and brings about buoyancy during events aside from protection.
- Leg Swelling: complications like heart failure, kidney disease can make the body retain fluid. This fluid retention will be express in the leg region. By using compression socks, these may be addressed.
- Varicose Veins: This is an abnormal swell of veins. This particular reason is prevalent, especially in pregnancy. Studies have shown that people with varicose vein tends to feel relive when they wear socks. It occurs due to damage in the walls of the veins, the valves, or when the blood flow increased significantly. A varicose vein is very common, especially in the leg region. All these reasons can be classically categorized as either medical or non-medical.
Duration Of Time To Wear Compression Socks
These pressure socks are recommended to people with medical conditions as well as those whose job required standing for a long time. It assists the vein in handling gravity issues. Some physicians do recommend that one should wear it even in the night, though most frown at this suggestion. The key thing is that one should take them off in bedtime, but if you stand on a barefoot throughout the day, it is fine sleeping with it.
Also, the duration of time with compression socks depends on your situations. Some may require to wear these socks throughout their life, others only for some days and some for weeks. The most important thing about how long it should be wore is that whatever the duration one chooses, it must be safe for the condition targeted. A typical example is that of diabetic patients that wear socks nearly throughout their life.
A Look At The Categories of People That Need To Avoid It
- Those with ischemia: it is a decrease in blood flow to a region. People in this condition need to avoid compression socks as the compression will worsen the situation.
- Those that are allergic to the materials: some peoples are allergic to the materials used in making the garment, and reactions tend to occur with the sock. They need to avoid it because it may cause more damage than good.
- People with skin sensitization issues: a typical example is a peripheral neuropathy. Destructions of the nerves to the extremities are the cause. The mechanisms of action of the compression stockings are dependent on the sensation of these nerves if damage the whole process will be futile.
Of course, you must agree that not all the socks are customized. Which means not all of them will fits individually. So what will now be the result of the wrong use of compression socks?
Definitely, it will cause an effect on one’s health and wellness that is against the planned aim. In some cases, however, pains from an athlete’s foot are mistaken for compression socks. It is therefore of great concern that each and everyone should make the right choice of measurement that will fit in perfectly for them. The commonly observed side effects of the compression socks are:
- Nasty smell
- Swelling toes
- Spasms in the toes
- Loss of proper circulation
- Joint pain around knees
- itching and skin irritation
- Calluses and corns
As soon as anyone using a compression socks notice any of the above signs, without hesitation, it should be removed.
Compression socks are recommended therapeutic garments prescribed by physicians for specific medical conditions. They are worn most time in the lower extremities and are classified based on different criteria. Some are made from cotton, wool, or fabrics.
Their primary action is to boost the venous return from lower limbs and counter the effects of venous incompetence. They have been used by many, and good results are often the outcomes. Some medical conditions do not encourage its use, so one has to be cautious of that.