Socks have been a regular part of men’s attire for decades now. Their frequent use, however, is not limited to protection from harsh winters only. Compression therapeutic stockings continue to remain the fastest-growing application of socks.
Men and women, both of them, of all ages and professions, are benefiting from compression garments all around North America. The reason behind these ever-increasing sales of compression socks is the growing awareness of their usefulness. Doctors are now prescribing compression hosiery much more frequently than ever before. Previously their use was limited to pregnant women, elderly, and post-surgical recovery patients.
What is Compression Therapy?
Compression therapy is a relatively old technique that is gaining more and more popularity due to its effectiveness against certain leg conditions. Like edema, swelling, and the fantastic support it lends to the wearer. Compression therapy is clinically proven to reduce symptoms of swollen feet and ankles and mitigate the risks of chronic venous insufficiency and leg ulcers.
Compression therapy simply means to compress or apply pressure to the limbs of individuals, especially lower extremities, to prevent pooling of blood and accumulation of fluids. Compression stockings are not the only way that can help you perform compression therapy. Compression bandages can also provide similar compression on the area they are wrapped around. But they can be challenging to use and require an expert to administer appropriately. Compression socks, on the other hand, are a convenient alternative and are lighter on the budget too.
The therapy focuses on the source of swelling and dependent edema, i.e., poor circulation through your feet and legs. The pooling of the blood (ad other fluids like lymph in some cases) in the feet due to any reason can cause heaviness, painful swelling, and even difficulty moving around. Compression socks can develop a pressure gradient on the skin surface and force the blood out of the legs. This makes room for the fresh, nutrient-rich blood from the heart and lungs to rush in.
Compression therapy also provides support during muscle and joint movement aiding in physical performance and is vital for long working days.
Why Do Men Need to Wear Compression Socks (Knee-High!)?
If you face swollen feet and edema symptoms
The most common use of compression gear is to fight against edema and swelling of the feet. When it comes to reducing and preventing swollen legs, compression socks have a magical effect. Other treatments and remedies, including exercise and medication, can make compression therapy a significant success and lifesaver.
If you have medical leg or foot conditions
Compression stockings can control and prevent venous insufficiencies, spider veins, varicose veins, lymphedema, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), leg ulcers, unwanted blood clotting.
If you travel a lot
Long flights and tiresome road drives can cause swelling in feet and legs. Many men who are in the driving profession or travel a lot of experience this condition regularly. Compression socks let you travel long distances without worrying about the soreness and heaviness feeling in your legs. Some people keep a pair of compression socks with them only to wear when they travel.
If you are an athlete or sportsman
Compression socks are hot in the fitness industry. Sportsmen, especially football, baseball, tennis, basketball, and field hockey players, play wearing compression socks of colors matching their team uniforms. Compression garments are known to provide support in joint movement and optimize the athlete’s performance. They can also protect the runners from injury and sprains by preventing over bending of ankles and joints.
If you have long and exhausting working hours
Men indulge in the most challenging jobs, like in construction and industrial fields. One of the leading causes of swelling and edema is long periods of immobility, standing, or sitting in the same position. Workers enduring shifts like medical professionals and nurses also face similar abuse. The result is a sore and painful period after the long shift. Wearing compression socks at works can control this condition and render you the energy you need after work for you and your family.
If you are approaching the elegant age of 50
Men are at high risk of venous disorders, swelling, and edema symptoms as the veins and lymph vessels of the legs begin to get weak as they age. To prevent any of these conditions to happen and especially at an older age can be challenging to manage. Remember, prevention is better than cure. Compression socks can make your senior years easy and comfortable. In some cases, swelling on feet is so severe that it bars patients from performing daily errands and essential movement.
If you want to add to your style
Knee-high compression socks for men can be worn under the business attire as well as with shorts and workout clothes. Matching compression socks can give you a sharp and smart look. The classic black color is especially common among men and never loses its charisma with office suiting.
Are Knee-highs the Only Socks Category Best Suited for All Men?
Compression socks are getting more and more popular every day. Designers and manufacturers have introduced innovative designs, models, and custom socks according to the user’s application. With so many types and range of compression garments available, it can be pretty confusing for you to decide which pair is suitable for you.
Some of the factors that can distinguish a pair from the other can be either one of the following:
The amount of compression the sock applies on your limb is in millimeters (mm) of mercury (Hg). This value in mm Hg is the compression level of a hose. Compression stockings have a range of compression levels, from light to very high compression values. Each compression level or range is suitable for a specific type of condition or use.
Configuration or shape
Other than compression levels, the configuration of the sock is also essential to consider. They can make regular (or closed-toe) socks, open-toe stockings, or compression sleeves. The shape of the socks can be chosen as merely a personal preference or because of a foot condition. Some people prefer open-toe or sleeves in summers and switch to warmer closed-toe socks in the winters. Having a pair of compression socks of each style (for each season) is a great practice, especially for regular compression hose wearers.
Compression socks are available in a variety of lengths. Although these are less than those of regular socks, they can be an essential factor when deciding which pair to buy.
Types of compression stockings based on their length
Regular socks come in a variety of lengths. Based on length, regular socks have the following models:
Ankle socks are the shortest possible category of socks in use. As the name suggests, these socks only cover the foot part. They are so short that they don’t even include the ankles of the feet and end right around the ankle line. Compression socks usually apply pressure on the calf and shin area, so they are not available in this length. It is interesting to know that compression socks use no compression on the feet. That is the reason compression sleeves that lack the foot part are also a category in compression garments.
Men’s crew length socks are another type of hose only available in regular socks. Compression socks usually do not come in this size as these socks end right in the middle of the calf and sometimes are also known as mid-calf socks.
Three quarters socks
These socks cover three-quarters of the calf region. For men theses, socks are sometimes also known as trouser socks. Trouser socks are not long enough and are thus not a main-stream compression socks category. A few brands manufacture compression socks of this length.
The most popular category among men in regular as well as compression socks is the knee-high socks. As the name of the socks suggests, these cover your entire foot and leg up to the knees. If the size you are wearing is correct, they reach right to the base of your knee cap. This length is ideal for compression and can provide steady pressure on the calf muscle and leg, preventing the pooling of blood. Athletes and runners usually prefer knee-high socks as well.
The only difference between over the knee and knee-high socks is that the former covers the knee joint of the wearer as well while the latter does not. Over the knee socks is also very rare in compression socks and is not usually available with the leading brands.
Thigh-high socks are although much famous among the ladies, men also wear them under their regular attire. They cover your entire legs up to the thigh and protect from cold as well as minor injuries. They also offer support to the leg and thigh region. Due to their long lengths, they can be a bit difficult to put on and off. Thigh-high socks sometimes come with a zipper as well, making them more comfortable to wear.
Waist-high or waist attached socks
You must have seen gymnasts and ballet dancers with skin-tight waist-high stockings. These compression socks come with waist attachments and sometimes with belts as well to hold them firmly with the waist. Interestingly regular socks are rarely seen in this size category, but waist-high compression stockings are reasonably common.
Compression Socks vs. Regular Socks
Compression socks, however, are different from regular socks and are usually available in knee-high, thigh-high, and waist-high categories. Some brands may also offer over the knee compression socks as well but are rare.
Knee-high Compression Socks Vs. thigh-high Compression Socks
Thigh-high socks are the most successful category among women. At the same time, knee-highs are famous among men and register the most sales in the US. Knee-high and thigh-high socks are not only a cause of confusion among many, but there is also an old debate regarding the two. As you can now clearly differentiate and see the difference in lengths of the two. Let us try to debunk and explain the long-standing debate of knee-high versus thigh-high socks.
Effectiveness of Knee-High Compression Socks in Men
If we focus on the clinical comparison between knee-high and thigh-high socks, there is not much evidence that proves one of them is more effective than the other. Some limited researches were conducted to find out the effects of thigh-high and knee-high compression socks on Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) but were not conclusive enough. The study suggests that thigh-high compression socks can only be more effective if the venous disease spread to the thigh region, and operative or surgical treatment was necessary to stop the infection.
Compression Socks Value for money?
Another exciting aspect of the debate is the cost-effectiveness of the two lengths. Many argue that if there are limited attractions to buy thigh-high stockings, then why to do them at all. If you observe, there is a price difference between the two different lengths. Thigh-high is a bit on the higher end of the price range. So when you consider the value for money, knee-highs are the clear winners.
How to Decide Between Knee-highs and Thigh-highs Compression Socks
You must keep in mind the basic rule and (difference between the two) that can help you decide whether to go for knee-highs or thigh-highs that is the coverage area. It is more of a personal choice when it comes to these two types. Some men want to protect them from cold or need extra thigh support; thigh-highs are best for them. Other individuals like to have fabric free thighs. They do not have any medical condition (like ulcers or vein issues) on their legs; knee-high socks are the right choice for them.
Knee-high Socks with Varying Compression Levels for Men
Knee-high compression stockings for men can have different compression levels. Once you have decided that you need knee-high socks, you can then opt for the preferred or suitable compression level according to your condition or medical history. It is not enough if you are shopping for knee-high compression socks and know your shoe size; you need to see the compression level as well.
If you are unsure about the compression level suitable for your condition or specific symptoms, it is best to seek professional medical advice from your doctor. Bear in mind that the incorrect compression level can have varying effects on the wearer, from not having any impact on worsening your condition to an alarming degree.
Men’s Knee-high Socks with Specific Other Configuration of Socks
Another vital variable that can give you a whole range of options with your knee-high socks is when you combine them with different shapes or styles of compression socks. Other than usual or closed-toe style, knee-high compression socks are also available in open-toe or toeless configuration as well as a compression sleeve or knee-high compression tube.
The Best Way to Choose Men’s Knee-High Compression Socks
There are certain factors that you can consider before ordering the style of the sock along with your knee-highs. For instance, if you prefer an open toe, you can wear open-toe knee-highs, and if you have some foot conditions like corn or warts, you can even choose knee-high sleeves. Regular (closed-toe) socks may not be the best choice for you if you have a sweating problem. With so many advantages and benefits of knee-high compression socks, all of you men must try them and feel the change yourself. If you haven’t wear compression socks before, it is an inexpensive investment that can help you get rid of swollen, painful, and sore legs. Even if you are a regular user of the sock but have never tried knee-high socks before, the pleasant experience of knee-high compression stockings and its long term benefits are unprecedented.