Have you ever tried to Google “compression socks”? If you have, you know that there are literally thousands of results. The sheer amount of information and number of purchase options available can make you feel overwhelmed. How do you even begin to sort through it all and make a decision?
Perhaps it’s a good idea to first figure out what style of compression stockings you need. When you search “compression socks,” most results will display information about knee-high compression socks, but these are not the only length available! In fact, socks that go just above the knee are a better option for many people. Read on to learn more about the two styles and decide which will be better for you.
Why Do You Need Compression Socks?
Blood circulation is an incredibly important process. Your heart, along with a network of blood vessels and other tissues, works hard to carry blood to every nook and cranny of the body. This ensures an even distribution of oxygen and nutrients, removes waste, and helps fight off potential diseases and illnesses.
A condition called Venous Reflux Disease (also known as Chronic Venous Insufficiency) can cause severe blood flow disruption. This circulation issue can lead to other problems, including many leg diseases such as:
- Varicose veins
- Spider veins
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Peripheral edema
Fortunately, these nightmarish diseases can be treated just by wearing compression socks. Even better, wearing compression socks is a great way to prevent the onset of these diseases in the first place.
What Causes Disrupted Blood Flow in the Legs?
The number one cause of disrupted blood flow is standing or sitting for too long. More specifically, it is caused by the lack of movement in the lower extremities.
Remember learning about gravity in high school physics? This is where it becomes important. Your body relies on the contraction of your leg muscles to push blood against gravity and toward your heart. Standing and sitting for extended periods can easily cause your muscles to become overworked. Unfortunately, most people’s jobs require them to either stand or sit in one place all day, and neither position is good for circulation. Unless you’re Michael Phelps or another Olympic swimmer, chances are your leg muscles are or will soon become fatigued.
The Health Benefits of Wearing Compression Gear
Compression stockings are more than just tall socks. Unlike regular socks, they exert pressure on your lower legs. This helps your blood vessels work more efficiently and accelerates circulation to prevent clotting. The pressure also helps straighten out vein walls and allows the valves of the veins to properly prevent blood from flowing backwards. These veins work against gravity all day, and compression can really make a huge difference!
Compression socks are your friend because they not only prevent disfiguring leg diseases, but they also ease the aching and swelling caused by a long work day. Most people would really benefit from wearing them.
Compression Legwear- Over the Knee
Now that you know the benefits of compression socks, it’s time to figure out which style is best for you. What sets socks that rise above the knee apart from socks that hit below the knee?
Compression socks that go over the knee provide all of the benefits of shorter compression socks with extra support for your knees. This makes them especially great for professional and amateur athletes as well as general sports enthusiasts.
Runners and triathletes in particular can benefit from these taller compression socks. During training, they can help the skeletal-muscle pump, increase deep venous velocity, decrease blood pooling, and alleviate delayed-onset muscle soreness. After training, taller compression socks contribute to a quicker recovery and prevent problems like shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and knee trauma.
Compression Socks and Knee Injuries
Knee injuries are a very common problem. In 2010 alone, they were the cause of more than 10 million visits to doctors’ offices!
The most common knee problems include:
- Tendon tears
- Collateral ligament injuries
Although many people are affected by these issues, athletes are especially at risk. Wearing compression socks that go over the knee can help to ward off these injuries and reduce recovery time if they do occur.
Although there is some debate about whether or not compression socks enhance athletic performance, there is no doubt about their general health benefits, including
- Improved circulation and blood flow
- More oxygen and nutrients in the muscles
- Reduced muscle soreness after exercise
- Elimination of body of waste products, including carbon dioxide and lactic acid
- Shortened recovery time from injuries and strains
- Increased perceived exertion
- Properly controlled body temperature
- Boosted confidence and motivation
- More efficient proprioception (your sense of your body’s position in space)
- Dryness caused by moisture being “wicked” away from the body
Stockings that go over the ankle are similar to other compression legwear options like knee-high compression socks, compression sleeves, compression tights and leggings, and compression ankle socks. The taller stockings just have the additional benefit of extra knee support.
When it comes to choosing the type of compression legwear, remember that there is no right or wrong answer. It usually comes down to your personal preference. As long as you are careful about selecting a compression pressure level, the style is up to you. There are tons of colors and patterns to fit every aesthetic desire, so you don’t have to trade comfort for looking trendy in your Instagram posts! Check out some of the styles available at ComproGear.com for inspiration. We sell only high-quality compression socks and have an honest money-back-guarantee policy to help our customers achieve better leg health while looking great. We are more than thrilled to be a part of your health journey!