Compression hosiery has been evolving continuously since its first use in hospitals and post-surgery recovery clinics. Today toeless compression socks are known for their medical benefits and their positive impact on the overall general well-being of the wearer.
You can find unique designs for patients, travelers, runners, athletes, for casual and formal use as well.
Compression socks are available three main categories depending on the area of the foot they cover. These categories are different from the ones that are dependent on the length like knee-high or thigh-high. Although these are also available with the following:
The most commonly available category of compression socks is, of course, the regular or closed-toe socks. These stockings cover your entire feet, including toes, ankles, and heels. Closed-toe socks are useful for normal routine wear and provide adequate compression. Regular compression socks are mostly used by individuals with no specific requirement of an open-toe and do not sweat much. They can keep your toe warms and are useful in winters.
These socks are similar to regular socks but are toeless. In other words, the fabric of the socks does not cover the toe and ends just before the root of your toe fingers. It may seem a bit odd that the socks do not include the toe part; thus, the name ‘toeless’ However, it can be beneficial. Toeless compression stockings are best for individuals who sweat in the toe area and need an airy opening in their stockings. They are also a great choice for people with toe conditions like ingrown nails, corns, and bunions. Similarly, if you like wearing flip flops, you cannot use regular compression socks and must have a pair of open-toe compression socks.
Compression sleeves cover the least amount of your foot. They do not include any and end just below your ankle line. Compression sleeves lack the foot part altogether. Sleeves useful for individuals that mostly face swelling on their legs, or they must keep their feet uncovered due to some foot condition. Another reason to choose the sleeve option instead of the other two can be excessive sweating on toes and feet.
Open Toe vs Closed-Toe
If you like your toes to feel the air and need an extra wiggle room for them, then toeless compression hosiery is the way to go. They mostly have the same effect as that of closed-end regular compression socks and can give you the same benefits as well. However, your feet can breathe air easily with a toeless design. Some individuals use both types according to the season. In summers, they prefer the airy open-toe while in the winters, they use the warmer and cozier classic closed-toe.
Some individuals sweat a lot, especially in the toe area and at the bottom of their feet. This sweating can often cause discomfort and produce strong odor as well within your footwear and socks. You can avoid this by buying toeless instead of regular ones and reduce sweating on your toe and feet as well. You can use toeless compression stockings with sandals or running / training shoes with meshed openings for air circulation.
If nature has given you big feet/toes or you are just massive, then it can be pretty challenging to cramp your way in regular-sized compression socks. One way to avoid this issue is to get open-toe stockings and reap the benefits of compression as well. Similarly, if you have hammertoes, a condition in which the toe starts to curl downwards (abnormally), then you can choose toeless as well.
Several toe conditions like corns, warts, bunions, ingrown nails, skin, and other nail issues can force you to wear open toe compression stockings. These conditions are relatively common and should not keep you from wearing compression socks. If the disease has progressed, you can also use compression sleeves too. In any case, it is best to seek your physician’s advice and then use them.
When Travelling and in your Leisure Time
If you love wearing flip flops or sandals and also like to travel, especially in the summers than toeless stockings are perfect for you. Some people feel discomfort and are allergic to the constant tight feeling on their toes. These socks can prevent this cramp feeling and give you the protection against swelling and dependent edema as well.
Medical Benefits of Pressure socks
Compression stockings are clinically tested and proven to relieve swollen feet and reduce symptoms of edema. They are also instrumental in controlling chronic venous disorders, reducing the risk of lymphedema and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
Physicians recommend compression stockings (both toeless and regular ones) to control varicose veins, phlebitis, inflammations, soreness, and unwanted clotting in feet. Swollen feet are a common issue that can be discomforting and painful for any individual.
Compression socks also come in handy during pregnancy and postoperative recovery. Patients that undergo surgery and need a long time to recover can develop swelling on feet and ankles due to inactivity and constant bed rest.
Diabetes patients need special care for their feet and legs. They can also use light compression socks to keep their feet and legs safe from cuts and minor injuries.
How to Put on and Care
Compression stockings are different than your regular socks. Their fabric contains elastic material along with nylon, wool, synthetic fibers, and cotton. If you want to take advantage of and use them for an extended period, you need to take special care of them, especially when you are putting them on and off.
Here are some easy steps that you can follow to put on your socks quickly without damaging the fabric and risking any cuts or holes.
- Step 1: Extend the tip of your hand into the sock and gently grasp the heel of the stocking (from the inside)
- Step 2: Hold on to the heel and turn the hose inside out to make a pocket for the foot. In the case of an open-toe tube, the pouch will have an open end.
- Step 3: Now slowly place the tip of your foot inside this pocket and start pulling the sock up towards the heel of your foot. Your foot is now inside the stocking till the heel.
- Step 4: Now gently grasp the fabric of sock from the ankle part and pull it up till your ankle.
- Step 5: After that, grasp the fabric of the sock from the leg and pull it up to your knee. In case your socks are thigh-high, you need to repeat this process till you slide your leg in till the upper end of the stocking.
- Step 6: Finally, smooth out any kinks or wrinkles left on the sock. Slide your hand on the hose from end to end to ensure the fabric has conformed to your skin, and there is no extra tension or loose garment at any point.
If you follow these steps, you can minimize the risk of cuts or nicks in the garment. However, there is another shortcut that enables you to wear medical open-toe compression socks by using a foot slippie or Easy slide. With these, you can bypass all the above steps by wearing the device and sliding the hose on easily. After the sock is at its proper position, remove the downer out from the open end of your stocking.
Another vital care factor for your socks is the way you wash your pair. Washing usually depends on the type of material of the stockings; however, it is best if you hand wash them with care at room temperature. Avoid drying them in direct sunlight and do not use any harsh detergent to clean them. You can, although, use your favorite fabric softener if you like your socks to be extra soft and fragrant.
Availability of Open-Toe Compression Footwear
Compression socks falling in low-pressure ranges of 10 mmHg to 30 mmHg are available in drug stores and online and do not require a doctor’s prescription. You can buy them over the counter, online, in a drug store, or any pharmacy.
Some specialized rehabilitation and foot care clinics also sell compression aids. They also have knowledgeable staff that can take exact measurements of your feet and finds you the correct fit. They can also recommend the style and compression suitable for your specific condition.
If you have a busy schedule, order your favorite compression socks online and control your swelling and edema symptoms with regular use.
Variations in Open-toe Compression Stockings
The use of compression hosiery is increasing at a fast pace, and people are beginning to realize the effectiveness of the remedy against swollen feet, edema, varicose veins, DVT, and lymphedema. This has prompted the manufacturers and garment designers to introduce new and innovative compression products.
Today stockings are available in a variety of models, sizes, lengths, types, and compression levels. Here we will discuss some of the more popular variations and examples of them. Compression socks, both toeless and regular, are also available with a zip option. The zipper facilitates the putting on-and-off process of the socks and also looks trendy. These pressurized zipper socks can be worn similarly and provide better fitting. These are usually a bit more expensive than regular ones.
Companies today are manufacturing socks for both men and women. Although many models are unisex and are equally famous among men and women, however, separate colors, patterns, and designs of these socks are also available in the market.
Compression stockings may be regular, or open-toe has become a routine workout accessory. Athletes, sportspeople, and runners have a whole separate range of compression socks, which are extra sturdy and flexible. These can provide optimum performance and muscular support to the athletes’ limbs.
Length of Compression Stockings
Compression socks come in knee-high, thigh-high, and pantyhose configurations. Users can choose from among the available options according to their preferences and needs. Each of these has different lengths and coverage. As the name suggests, knee-high socks cover the legs until knees, thigh-high cover your thighs, and pantyhose include the waist region as well. You can find both toeless and closed-toe options in each of the categories.
Size and Measurement
Compression socks follow the same size scale as your feet or shoe size. As these socks come in snug-fitting design, correct measurement and foot size is necessary for the pressure gradient to work correctly. If your size is incorrect and your socks are too long or too short, you may not feel any improvement in your blood circulation.
Compression Levels of Support Hosiery
You can find support hoses with different compression levels depending on the amount of confining they apply on your skin. The higher the compression, the more ‘squeeze’ you will feel on your feet. These values have a unit of mmHg. The most common compression level of support hose available today is 20 to 30 mmHg. This range is suitable for reducing edema, varicose veins, soreness, heaviness, pain, and swelling of feet and ankles. You can find both toeless and closed-toe options in each of the categories.
All the information related to compression stockings and therapy presented in this article cannot be used as medical advice. Please consult your doctor for professional medical advice for your specific condition, disease, and symptom.