Nursing jobs come with several occupational risks. For example, if you work as a nurse, you probably spend most of your working hours on your feet. Sometimes, you might even have to spend hours standing without taking a single break. This means that nurses are more prone to conditions such as muscle pain, soreness, and swelling in the legs.
One easy solution to these conditions comes in the form of compression socks. Compression socks have been widely in use by medical professionals – especially nurses – for decades. Being a medical professional, it is easier for a nurse to accurately assess the pros and cons of wearing compression socks.
Nurses Have Different Needs When it Comes to Socks
Nurses are often at risk of having swollen feet and ankles, so it is important to find compression socks that fit correctly. Luckily, compression socks do not come in a universal one-size-fits all size. They are available in many shapes and sizes to meet the needs of each customer.
Each human body is built uniquely. Accordingly, compression socks make sure to cater to each of your unique needs and measurements, even if you need plus sizes.
Are you wondering how to select the best plus-size compression socks? Here is all you need to know about choosing plus size compression socks for nurses.
How to Choose the Correct Size for Your Plus-Size Compression Socks?
In order to find the correct compression sock size, it is crucial to start by taking measurements of your leg area. Your plus-size compression socks should be neither too tight, nor too loose. Plus size compression socks for nurses should fit you perfectly and naturally with no effort or adjustment.
Measuring your leg is arguably the most crucial step in choosing any compression socks. Unfortunately, many people tend to skip this step and just pick the classic size of your regular socks. This might not only rob you of all the benefits of wearing the right compression socks but might even lead to negative results.
The reason for this is compression socks are built differently than regular socks and have an entirely different size chart. Moreover, the fit of compression socks in itself is unique. Your plus-size compression socks are not meant to fit evenly and comfortably throughout your leg. On the contrary, they should fit tightly at the ankles and become looser towards the top. This fit will create the squeezing effect necessary for good compression.
- Accurately measure your legs
Therefore, before getting a pair of compression socks make sure to get that tape measure and measure the circumference of your calves. Furthermore, your ankles, feet, thighs, and legs should also be properly measured. For full-length socks, you will need to take down the measurement of the entire length and width of your legs from the top to the bottom.
- Look at the size chart of the product
If your legs are larger than average, you will need plus-size compression socks. However, don’t just randomly select large or extra-large sizes according to their appearance. Even if you know your legs are big, you need to know exactly how big they are. After measuring the width of your calf, compare it with the sizing chart of the product to ensure the best fit.
Most compression socks are available in XL and XXL sizes. Plus-size compression socks are usually made of more stretchy and flexible material than that of average sizes. This ensures that your legs always receive the best and most comfortable compression.
Apart from this, getting one size lower usually works for most people. This will make sure the elasticity of the plus-size compression socks can last for a longer period. However, this is only advised for the regular use of compression socks. People with serious medical conditions are strictly advised to follow the size prescribed by the expert.
Additionally, if you are already a regular user of compression socks but have never noticed any positive changes, you might be simply wearing the wrong size. Keep in mind that loose-fitting compression socks will only give you the effect of normal socks.
How Does Wearing Plus-Size Compression Socks Help Nurses?
If you are tired of coming home from your nursing job with sore and aching legs, compression socks are an easy and cost-effective solution.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of wearing compression socks for nurses.
- Reduces swelling
A common symptom among nurses is the swelling in the leg area – mainly the feet and the ankles. This happens because long hours in a standing position make excessive liquid build up within the muscle tissues. Compression socks help remove this excessive build up of lactic acid from the muscles.
- Promotes oxygen flow
With compression socks, your tired and achy muscles can have a breath of fresh air, in the literal sense! As the compression socks improve the blood flow from the feet towards the heart, the blood flow from the heart to the feet will also improve subsequently. This means that the new blood that contains oxygen and many other nutrients can reach your legs at a faster rate.
- Improves blood circulation
Pumping blood from the legs back to the heart is the most difficult process in our blood circulatory system. This is why most venous disorders such as varicose veins are commonly found on the legs. Compression socks compress the leg veins and improve the rate of blood flow throughout the lower half of your body. Thus, compression socks improve the functionality of your blood circulatory system.
What are the Medical Benefits of Wearing Plus-Size Compression Socks?
- Prevention and cure of venous disorders
Compression socks play a crucial role in maintaining the health of nurses. The right compression socks, such as plus-size compression socks, can even function as effective treatment and prevention methods for numerous venous disorders.
Studies have found that a number of venous disorders are becoming increasingly common among nurses. Among them, varicose veins and spider veins are the most prevalent. These are even being considered as occupational diseases now.
Luckily, compression socks are the easiest method to prevent and treat such diseases. Compression socks are not only cheap; they are also less intrusive than any other treatment method. Moreover, compression socks can also be used along with the other treatment methods in the case of severe diseases. This will ensure optimum healing after such treatments.
- Varicose veins
People with varicose veins have visibly large and protruding veins on their legs. It is mainly caused due to sitting or standing for a prolonged period of time on a regular basis. In this medical condition, blood valves become damaged and lose their ability to pump blood properly. This will lead to blood getting pooled in the damaged veins and turning into varicose veins. Varicose veins may result in pain, itchiness, heaviness, exhaustion and many other side effects.
Research has shown that among the various job groups, nurses are at a higher risk of being affected with varicose veins. This is primarily caused by the long duration of work spent in an upright or standing position. Doctors and experts have recommended the use of compression socks for the prevention and treatment of this disease.
The compression technique is the most basic as well as a widely practiced method for preventing and treating varicose veins. Wearing compression socks will boost the pumping movement of your calf muscles. Additionally, it also prevents venous reflex – a medical condition in which blood flows in the reverse direction through the veins.
Compression socks boost the active blood flow by focusing its pressure to the maximum at the ankle region. As the plus-size compression socks move further up the leg, the pressure gradually decreases. For the right treatment of venous diseases, you need medical-grade compression socks prescribed by a physician specifically for you.
How Long Can Nurses Wear Their Plus-Size Compression Socks?
You can wear compression socks all day, throughout your work day. Moreover, you can wear them not only during work but after work hours as well. Wearing them during your rest hours will help your leg muscles recover faster from fatigue and pain.
No matter what you are doing – sitting, standing, or lazing around in bed – compression socks can be your constant companion. You only need to take them off before sleep. For medical purposes, however, you might have to heed the advice of the doctor on how long to wear them.
How to Choose the Appropriate Length of Your Plus-Size Compression Socks?
Nurses mostly prefer knee-length or thigh-length compression socks but you can also make use of full-length or ankle-length compression socks, according to your specific needs and purposes. The length depends on which area of your leg needs the compression the most.
For common symptoms prevalent in nurses such as swelling and blood pooling in the legs, knee-high compression socks are the most beneficial. If the swelling or varicose veins are situated above your knee, however, you may need full-length compression socks.
How to Choose the Appropriate Compression Level of Your Plus-Size Compression Socks?
Compression socks offer varying degrees of compression for different purposes. This is because the degree of compression a beginner requires for swelling in the legs is completely different from the medical-level compression required for treatment purposes.
The compression levels of compression socks are measured in the scale of mmHg.
- Graduated compression
For the regular use by nurses, graduated compression socks work the best. These are the socks that boost blood circulation throughout the legs.
Moreover, nurses usually develop swelling in the area around the ankles. Compression socks with graduated compression apply the pressure the most in the ankle region. This will successfully bring down the swelling in this area.
Compression socks between 15-20 mmHg and 20-30 mmHg are commonly used by nurses, but instead of directly using these compression levels, you can start by wearing a pair of lower level compression socks. This way, your legs can get used to the compression socks, and you can gradually switch to higher levels of compression, if necessary.
How to Choose the Best Style for Your Plus-Size Compression Socks?
Forget the old and plain compression socks. Today, compression socks come in a variety of colors and styles. You can even match your compression socks with the color and patterns of your uniform. On the other hand, if you want some variety, there are a multitude of fun patterns and styles available. You can experiment with all the latest trends in the fashion industry through the large collection of compression socks available.
What are Some Important Things to Keep in Mind While Getting Your Plus-Size Compression Socks?
- Optimum Comfort
Being a nurse, you might be consistently required to do 12-hour shifts, sometimes even longer. During these long and exhausting hours, you need a pair of compression socks that will give you the best support and comfort. Make sure that the compression socks you choose are comfortable enough to wear all day. They should never come in the way of your work by causing any discomfort.
Being a nurse means you have to come in close contact with body fluids such as blood, sweat, and urine all the time. This puts you at a higher risk of developing infections such as athlete’s foot. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot usually grows on damp areas. For preventing such diseases, you need to wear waterproof shoes and socks.
These days, many compression socks come with moisture-wicking properties. They will ensure that your feet are always kept dry and prevent any fungal growth or transfer on your feet. Compression socks made from synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester work the best for these properties.
- Odor resistance
Body odors are a common side effect of wearing any socks. Moreover, the risk of body odor may be even higher with wearing compression socks due to its snug fit.
To combat this common complaint, however, compression socks with odor-resistant material are available. The fiber of these compression socks will resist any growth of fungus or bacteria, thus eliminating all chances of body odor.
- Sweat resistance
A nursing job requires you to run around and be busy and active during the time of your work. You are at the beck and call of every patient and have to be prepared for an emergency at any time. The constant work and movement without rest will inevitably lead to sweating, especially if you are wearing tight-fitting compression socks on your legs. If your compression socks make you produce buckets of sweat, it will not only lead to unpleasant odors but can even result in pesky infections.
What you need to do then, is opt for a pair of high-quality compression socks that are sweat-resistant. The material of these compression socks will be light, airy and breathable. The moisture-resistant material prevents any chance of excessive sweating on the legs.
Moreover, the risk of blisters forming on the legs will be almost non-existent in such compression socks.
For a demanding profession like nursing, choosing the right pair of plus-size compression socks that fit your lifestyle is crucial. Compression socks function similar to bandages around the legs, minus all the fuss and effort. Just by wearing compression socks, you can feel the immediate change within your body from day one. You will be more active at work, experience lesser pain and fatigue, and instead of coming home tired and stressed, you can be relaxed and rejuvenated.
A nursing job requires that you need to be fast on your feet to respond to any patient emergencies at any time. Leg pain, soreness, and swelling can severely affect your work performance, which will negatively impact the recovery of the patients as well. Therefore, opt for compression socks to not only benefit yourself but the others around you as well.
When it comes to the health and well being of your legs, never compromise. Your legs are your powerhouse, especially if you have heavy jobs such as nursing. Pamper your legs with a pair of compression socks to enjoy a long, healthy life.