If you have edema, you should get it treated fast. Compression socks can help, but only if you wear them correctly.
Let’s talk about what edema is, why compression socks work, and how long you should wear them for.
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What is Edema?
Simply put, edema is another term for swelling, which occurs when excess fluid gets trapped in body tissues.
This fluid may be a result from injuries, such as when swelling caused by blunt force trauma, pregnancy, allergic reactions, lack of movement, or poor blood circulation. Less common causes of edema are severe illnesses, such as liver or kidney disease, restricted blood flow to the limbs, complications related to diabetes, varicose veins, deep vein blood clots, and hypoalbuminemia (albumin deficiency.)
How Compression Socks Treat Edema
Besides using prescription drugs to treat symptoms and underlying causes of edema, doctors may also recommend the use of a compression socks.
Compression socks generate pressure to decrease fluid retention in the body, especially in legs and feet. Some come in graduated compression, which means they apply the greatest amount of pressure at the ankles and lesser pressure upwards.
How Long do I Have to Use Compression Socks?
Compression socks can be worn for a short period to treat edema, however, it is advisable to consult with a doctor on whether or not to wear compression socks, what type would be most beneficial, and how long they should be worn for.
Essentially, compression socks can be worn daily. It is best to take them off every night before bed as wearing them during sleep can restrict the blood circulation in the legs.
Some side effects may occur if a pair of compression socks that are too tight or too small are worn, as well as if they are worn for too long (i.e. all day, non-stop). Remove the socks immediately if any of the following occurs:
- Joint pain.
- Tingling feet.
- Allergic reactions or irritation (usually caused by the material).
Compression Levels Available
Compression socks typically have four standard levels of compression, which are measured in ‘millimeters of mercury (mmHg)’. Choose your socks according to your needs, as the higher the compression level, the stronger the pressure applied.
- 15-20 mmHg (Over-the-Counter): Low-pressure socks suitable for mild edema and aching legs or feet.
- 20-30 mmHg (Medical Grade Class 1): Can treat varicose veins and sports injuries; commonly used by elders and pregnant women.
- 30-40 mmHg (Medical Grade Class 2): Designed to treat moderate to severe edema, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and lymphedema.
- 40-50 mmHg (Medical Grade Class 3): The strongest compression level available and should not be worn without consulting a medical professional; these are for very severe cases of lymphedema, venous stasis, or serious wounds.
How do I Find the Right Compression Socks?
It is best to measure your legs and feet in the morning when they are the least swollen. If you need compression socks for medical reasons, ask a medical professional to measure you for proper sizing.
The right compression socks for you can be different to someone else. In other words, a one-type-fits-all does not apply so much for compression socks; this is because of various factors, such as sizing, type, and compression level, which vary from one person to another.
It is important to conduct proper research, including understanding the various types of compression socks available and reading customer reviews, to ensure you buy a good-quality pair fit for your needs.
How to Wear Compression Socks
- Sit in a straight-backed chair for support.
- Ensure your legs and feet are clean and dry. Dry skin allows the socks to pass smoothly over your legs.
- Roll up the stockings and gently place your toes in it. Continue to pull the sock on until it completely covers your foot and toes, but keep it rolled as much as possible.
- Carefully roll the sock back up, making sure you don’t pull too hard. Excessive tugging can cause the fabric to run or tear.
- Smooth out any wrinkles and bunches along the seam to ensure that the seam is straight.
- Repeat for the other leg.
- Replace a pair of compression socks every few months.
- If you are going to be using socks on both legs, buy at least two pairs of socks at a time. As one pair is being washed, there will be another pair you can wear.
- Hand-wash compression socks with cool or lukewarm water. You could also put them in a mesh laundry bag and use the gentle cycle of a washing machine, with mild detergent. Air-dry them afterwards.
Compression socks can help you maintain your leg health, especially if you suffer from edema or other circulatory issues.
They will be most helpful if you select a good-quality pair and wear them properly. However, consult with a medical professional before buying.
Interested in investing in a pair of compression socks?
Check out ComproGear Compression Socks on Amazon. They’re designed with Medical-Grade 20-30 mmHg Compression in Knee High Length to stop Edema (swelling) fast! Most customers find they stop painful swollen feet and calves instantly. Plus they’re made with moisture wicking fabric to keep going all day long.
What do you have to lose (except your painful swelling)? Click the button below to take a look at our selection on Amazon: