Compression socks are a unisex product. Regardless of gender, compression socks and compression stockings are medical devices created specifically to help prevent and treat leg diseases caused by poor blood circulation in the legs. Other than that, they are great at helping you to relieve swelling and aching of the leg, ankle, and foot due to extended hours of standing and sitting. Today, I’m gonna write about compression socks that are suitable for women.
What are Compression Socks?
Compression socks were invented by a German engineer, Conrad Jobst. Prior to this great invention, Jobst suffered from venous leg ulcers and realized that his legs felt better when in a pool of water. So, he worked together with Dr. Otto Gauer to create what later become the compression socks that we use today. They are made to help improve the flow of blood in the legs and feet.
What does Compression Socks Do and How it Helps?
By exerting graduated compression pressures on your legs, compression socks/compression stockings are proven helpful to improve your blood circulation in the lower extremities against the pull of gravity. At the same time, they help straighten out the vein walls to a better working state. The gentle compression pressure applied allows the valves to function properly by opening to allow blood flow toward the heart and closing to prevent blood from flowing backward. This allows circulation to work as it should and is proven helpful to prevent horrible leg diseases.
Diseases caused by poor blood circulation that you can prevent with treatment:
- Venous reflux disease (Chronic venous insufficiency)
- Varicose veins
- Spider veins
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Peripheral edema
Compression Level Guide – Essential to Health
Learn about compression therapy
Although we will focus on compression socks of 15-20 mmHg, let’s look at the complete compression pressure level to give you a better idea on a wider scope. The compression pressure level is measured with the unit of “mmHg”, which stands for “millimeters of mercury”. Standard compression pressure comes from varying degrees of compression. Let’s look at all four compression pressure levels and the benefits of wearing them.
Level 1- Over the Counter
- For the prevention and relief of minor to moderate varicose and spider veins
- Helps relieve tired, aching legs, and minor swelling of feet, ankles, and legs
- Helps prevent varicose veins and spider veins during pregnancy
- Helps prevent deep veins thrombosis, also known as Economy Class Syndrome
- Used in post-sclerotherapy treatment to help prevent the reappearance of varicose veins and spider veins
- Ideal compression level used for those traveling long distances
This low compression level is suitable for everyday wear for everyone out there to help with mild swelling and fatigued legs due to long periods of standing, sitting, and traveling. It is a popular choice as a barrier to entry and is recommended if you are trying it for the first time for ordinary daily use.
Level 2- Medical Grade Class II
- Helps prevent and relieve moderate to severe varicose veins (also during pregnancy)
- For post-surgical and post sclerotherapy treatment to help prevent the reappearance of varicose and spider veins
- Helps in the treatment of moderate to severe edema or lymphatic edema
- Helps with the management of active ulcers and manifestations of post-thrombotic syndrome
- Helps relieve superficial thrombophlebitis
- Helps prevent orthostatic hypotension (or postural hypotension)
- Helps prevent deep vein thrombosis, also known as Economy Class Syndrome
The 20-30 mmHg level of compression is the first medical-grade compression. It’s the most widely used medical-grade because it provides competent compression to your legs without being too strong. This level is suitable for varicose veins patients, patients that are recovering from venous surgery and also pregnant women during the third trimester.
Level 3- Medical Grade Class II
- Helps prevent and relieve severe varicose veins
- Used in the treatment of severe edema and lymphedema
- Used in post-surgical and post sclerotherapy treatment to help prevent the reappearance of varicose and spider veins
- Helps reduce the symptoms of Orthostatic Hypotension (or post-thrombotic syndrome)
- Prevent deep vein thrombosis, also known as Economy Class Syndrome
The 30-40 mmHg level of compression is a stronger medical grade class II that is recommended for moderate to severe leg health symptoms. It is great for patients with lymphedema, severe varicose veins, venous reflux disease, and deep vein thrombosis.
Level 4- Medical Grade Class III
Acute leg/Ankle swelling
Chronic vein insufficiency
Deep vein thrombosis
The 40-50 mmHg level of compression provides the strongest compression level and it is not for ordinary use. It is compulsory to consult those guys in the lab coats before considering this level of compression or anything higher. This level of compression or compression higher than 50 mmHg is generally indicated for severe venous stasis, wound management, lymphedema.
Best to consult the guy in the lab coat- Doctor!
⬆️ Ask this guy for the right compression that suits you for the most effective compression therapy before you buy those socks!
First, Ask Yourself the Right Question
Why do you need them?
There are typically two groups of people who wear compression socks.
1. People that are already managing signs and symptoms of leg diseases. This group of people typically is recommended by their doctors to get compression therapy of at least 20 mmHg and the compression pressure range can go as high as 60 mmHg, depends on the severity of the symptoms.
2. People that are wearing compression socks as a preventive measure to keep their leg health in check. Typically, compression therapy of 15-20 mmHg is good enough for this group of people. Also, they do not require prescriptions from a doctor to utilize this amount of compression pressure.
If you fall into group 2, then compression socks that provide support between 15 and 20 mmHg are perfect for you. At this point, you might be thinking, “I shave and scrub my legs frequently and I take care of my legs perfectly. My leg health is right as rain! Why do I need compression socks at all?” Let me explain why.
Today we are specifically going to talk about compression socks of 15-20 mmHg. Compression socks at 15-20 mmHg can be worn by anyone without the need for a prescription because they provide moderate compression and will not “suffocate” the person that is wearing it.
Compression Socks For Women
Prevention is the Best Treatment
Gone are the days where compression socks/stockings are only worn by patients with leg diseases as treatment. Compression socks are worn by millions of people in the world, assisting them to achieve better leg health on a daily basis. As mentioned above, even though compression socks are a unisex product, there are compression socks designed for women. From the length, style, pattern, and compression pressure level. So, which type of compression socks are most suitable for women?
Since this article is contributed to all the independent women out there, let me write from the perspective of the women. We have reached the era that women are just as strong as men, if not stronger 💪🏻. So, we are juggling between multiple things every day, whether you are a stay at home mum or working a day job and sometimes you can be both. Hustling by day (in the office), athletic by evening (in the gym), sophisticated by night (in the bar). Regardless of what we do, we are ALWAYS on our feet these days. And guess what? The number one reason for all those horrible leg diseases knocking on your front door is standing/sitting for extended hours every single day. Now, look at the occupations that require you to stand or sit throughout your whole duty every day.
Suitable for women working as:
- Office lady
- Stay at home mum
The list really can go on and on. With that being said, at the end of our long workday, we often end up at home with achy feet, some even face swelling leg, ankle, and feet, like me. We haven’t even talked about the fact that there is an invention called “high heels” that could add on to our achy feet problems. Over time, if these conditions left untreated, it will slowly develop into leg diseases I’ve mentioned above. Varicose veins are probably the number one manifestation and they are serious cosmetic and health concerns.
Varicose veins are ugly, swollen veins in twisted forms caused by blood stasis and weak vessel walls. They can occur in various parts of the body. They might appear as clusters of blue or purple veins visible underneath the skin and are sometimes surrounded by thin red capillaries known as spider veins. Although they can occur in various parts of the body, it can occur most often in the lower extremities. It is also worth emphasizing that varicose veins are secondary manifestations of other leg diseases.
Varicose veins are developed due to disrupted blood circulation, causing the blood to clot of pool in the vein. When your blood fails to flow back to your heart against the gravitational effects, that is because your venous valves are damaged and could not close properly, allowing the blood to flow backward.
They can develop into a serious health concern.
If left untreated, they can develop into severe leg conditions that are more than just a cosmetic concern. Varicose veins can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Let’s look at how varicose veins look like.
Definitely not pretty
Prevent = Treatment
We do not want varicose veins creeping up our legs, which is why prevention is the best treatment. Wearing compression socks of 15-20 mmHg is the best preventive measure that can stop that from happening to our pretty legs. When varicose veins are already formed and the condition is not getting any better, the patients shall wear compression socks or compression stockings for compression therapy at higher mmHg as treatment.
Compression Socks 15-20 mmHg
(Knee High, Thigh High, Ankle High, Open Toe, Closed Toe)
There is a variety of compression socks that can help all the women out there to achieve better leg health. Whether it’s their funky pattern, style or length, there must be one in the market for every woman out there. A lot of the compression legwear these days come with silicone border for better grip to prevent the socks/stockings from slipping down and also zippers for easier applications and removals. Let’s look at how many different types of compression socks out there.
1. Knee High Compression Socks
Knee high compression socks for women
Open toe, knee high compression socks with silicone border for women
Open toe, knee high compression socks with zippers
Closed toe, knee high compression socks with funky patterns
Knee-high compression socks are probably the most common ones among all the others due to its functionality in combating all sorts of unhealthy leg symptoms. This length of compression socks provides compression support to your calf muscle, your ankle, and your feet.
2. Thigh High Compression Socks
Open toe, thigh high compression socks with silicone border for women
Closed toe, thigh high compression socks with silicone border for women
Thigh-high compression socks are great for women who are looking for compression support all the way up to the thigh. They apply the highest pressure around the ankle, moderate pressure around the calf and the lowest pressure around the thigh. Compression socks are also great at combating varicose veins, muscle cramps, edema, and all the other leg diseases. Bear in mind, a lot of the thigh-high compression socks sold in the market are wrongly advertised by irresponsible sellers as a tool to achieve slimmer legs by wearing them to sleep. That is not medically proven, and in fact, it can cause major harm to the body in the long run if compression socks are worn to sleep. They can help to prevent and relieve edema in the lower limbs but definitely WILL NOT burn fat while you sleep in them.
Open toe, ankle-high compression socks
Close toe, ankle compression socks
Ankle compression socks are only applying compression pressure to your ankles and your feet. They are great at relieving swelling and aching of the feet and can accelerate healing of the injuries like ankle sprains. They are also particularly great to be utilized as a treatment for plantar fasciitis and arthritis.
Compression Stockings are Great Alternatives for Women
Compression Stockings 15-20 mmHg
(Knee High, Thigh High, Ankle High, Open Toe, Closed Toe, Pantyhose)
They function under the same principle of compression socks to provide the compression support you need for the best compression therapy. The only difference between the two, which would be the ultimate difference, would be the thickness and sheerness.
1. Knee High Compression Stockings
Close toe, knee high compression stockings with silicone border
Open toe, knee high compression stockings
2. Thigh High Compression Stockings
Close toe, thigh high compression stockings with silicone border
Close toe, thigh high compression stockings with lace border
Open toe, thigh high compression stockings with lace border
3. Ankle Compression Stockings
Open toe ankle compression stockings
Closed toe ankle compression stockings
Closed toe compression pantyhose
Open toe maternity compression pantyhose
Compression pantyhose provide compression support all the way through the lower limbs and are ideal for women who wear pantyhose on a regular basis. Other than that, there are maternity compression pantyhose designed for pregnant women to help eliminate lower limb edema during the third trimester and prevent deep vein thrombosis after delivery.
Go Get Yourself a Few Pairs of Them!
We have covered all types of compression socks and stockings of 15-20 mmHg for all the ladies. There is no right or wrong answer to which compression socks/stockings you should go for. It is just a matter of personal preference. The more important factor to consider is the compression level you are going for. As I mentioned through and through in this article, compression pressure at 15-20 mmHg is a great barrier to entry for anyone and is especially great for all the women in the world looking to ease their aches and pains at the end of a long workday. Do bear in mind, if you fear that you are currently having some unhealthy leg symptoms and might need higher compression therapy as treatment, consulting a doctor at your nearest clinic for a prescription is highly recommended. Otherwise, go get yourself a few pairs of these babies to rejuvenate your tired legs!💃