There is nothing worse than having cramps, pain, and swelling in your legs. On the other hand, if you spend over 9 hours on a plane or in a standing or sitting position for a prolonged period. Your swollen, painful feet and sore ankles make it difficult for you to enjoy.

Fortunately, compression socks have effectively solved the problem. By wearing these socks, blood circulation is improved, and fluid doesn’t pool around the ankles, which leads to swelling and pain.

What Are The Benefits Of Compression Socks?

For medical and athletic purposes, compression socks (or stockings) are made of comfortable fitting stretchy spandex that applies pressure to the skin and muscles underneath them.

These socks are specially designed to provide compression therapy. Compression therapy involves compressing the calf muscles and ankles to help the blood return to the heart. These elastic and stretchable stockings prevent blood clots from forming in the legs and reduce pain and cramps due to low blood flow.

People of all ages can benefit from wearing compression stockings for a variety of medical conditions.

Types Of Compression Socks

The following types of socks are currently available on the market:

  • Graduated Compression Socks
  • Anti-Embolism Compression Socks
  • Non-Medical Compression Socks

Graduated Compression

Graduated socks usually have a self-adjusting fitting. A pair of these stockings can reach up to the thigh or end below the knee. The graduated socks that end below the knee are designed to reduce swelling and fluid buildup on the feet.

Graduated socks that reach the thighs are designed to prevent swelling in the legs and promote blood flow.

  • Mild compression ranges between 15-20 mmHg to relieve mild varicose veins, aching legs, and mild swelling and edema in the legs and feet.
  • Moderate compression levels that range between 20-30 mmHg to treat moderate varicose veins, lymphedema, and DVT.
  • Firm Compressive level of 30-40mmHg to treat severe DVT, clots, and post-surgical and thrombotic syndromes.

Anti-Embolism Compression

These types of compression are designed to prevent deep vein thrombosis. They have varying compression gradients in various zones. Anti-embolism socks are designed for bedridden patients.

Non-Medical Compression 

These socks are not required to be prescribed by a physician. Wearing these socks during extended flights or standing for prolonged periods is recommended. They have a mild compression level compared to any other medicated socks.

What Do Compression Socks Do?

Standing or sitting for long periods causes the veins in your legs and feet to lose blood since they are far from the heart. The blood starts pooling around the ankle and feet, causing them to swell and be extremely painful. In case you have spider veins or varicose veins on your skin, the condition gets worse. To avoid this distressing circumstance, pressure socks are highly recommended.

The socks prevent swelling and reduce pain in the legs and feet. Standing for extended periods usually makes the legs achy and tired. By increasing blood circulation, more oxygen is delivered to your leg tissues. Maintaining long-standing positions without getting dizzy, lightheaded, or fainting, these socks are useful. These stockings help prevent blood clots from forming due to the thickening of the blood in the feet. When these clots are released and travel within the blood, they can become stuck in vital organs such as the lungs and heart, causing life-threatening conditions. Additionally, the clots make it difficult for the blood to flow smoothly, resulting in bluish coloration of the skin.

Who Should Wear Compression Socks?

The following medical conditions should be treated with compression stockings, either over-the-counter or with a prescription from a physician.

  • Edema and swelling of the legs and feet.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) may occur because of inactivity, surgery, or long flights, which may cause blood clotting in the legs.
  • Venous Insufficiency; the veins are not able to pump the blood back to the heart. The deoxygenated blood pools in the legs.
  • Varicose veins and spider veins.
  • Veins having bluish or purple discoloration. The valves of the veins become dysfunctional and prevent blood flow back to the heart.
  • Inadequate lymphatic drainage leads to lymphoma.
  • The inflammation in the veins is known as phlebitis.
  • During pregnancy, the fetus’s excess weight causes compression of the inferior vena cava and prominent veins, which leads to edema, pain, and cramps.

Who Should Not Use Compression Socks?

Compression stockings are not recommended for all patients with ankle inflammation and intense leg pain. It is not recommended that you wear them if you suffer from a peripheral vascular disease (PVD) affecting your legs, as these socks could worsen the condition.

Diabetic patients often suffer from peripheral nephropathy, which causes numbness and pain in their hands and feet. If these patients wear compression stockings, they will not sense changes in their feet, resulting in severe consequences.

If wearing compression socks causes your skin to turn blue or purple or if the color of your toes changes. It means the circulation in your body has been disturbed. Remove your stockings and see your doctor.

When putting on compression stockings, keep an eye out for changes in color, temperature, sensations, and edema. Open-toe socks are comfortable for monitoring your legs for warning signs.

Consult your physician if you have:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Conditions related to the heart
  • An inflammation of the veins that extend throughout the body
  • If you get an infection on your skin

How To Use Them?

Putting on compression stockings first thing in the morning is very important to prevent swelling. During the day, these stockings are worn to protect your legs from swelling.

Take them off before you go to bed or before you wash up or shower. Ideally, you should lie down with your feet over your heart to prevent your legs from swelling up while you are sleeping.

These steps will prevent your legs from getting swollen and painful over the rest of the day.

Side Effects Of Using Compression Socks

It is essential to avoid any unwanted effects if your physician asks you to wear them. When you wear them, your skin becomes red, irritated, or rashes. This may be caused by:

  • Your socks aren’t tucked correctly in.
  • The type of fabric makes you sensitive.
  • The improper use of these socks has also been reported to cause nerve and vascular damage.
Read More About Compression Socks!

If found this guide helpful, and are willing to invest in a pair, then don’t do check our buying guides to choose the best compression socks pair according to your requirements: