Are Compression Socks Right For You? The short answer is yes. '
Compression socks, also known as compression stockings, are specially designed therapeutic socks that stretch and help put pressure on your leg to promote blood circulation. Socks are recommended for anyone whose routine or daily activities require them to spend many hours sitting, standing or lying down.
So if you are a writer or someone who works all day online; or a doctor, nurse, pilot or passenger on a long flight, then you need these socks. Pregnant women, athletes, bedridden patients, or those at risk for varicose veins need these stockings to help prevent swollen leg discomfort, aches and pains, and potential blood clots.
Why compression socks? It has more to do with the benefits as the design of the socks improves blood flow to the legs, especially along the body.
Why do you need to put on a compression sock then? In part, this is because "prevention is better than cure", and having these socks could make the difference when it comes to preventing possible health problems.
Who Else Would Need Compression Socks?
In many cases, people will go for compression socks after a recommendation from their health care provider. However, it does not have to be medical reasons to wear the stockings.
The benefits of these socks can extend to the average person as well. Apart from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and varicose veins, this type of socks is recommended for those who use contraceptive pills; those with leg ulcers; or those whose family members have a history of blood clot disorders.
If you are going into any of the jobs or situations mentioned above, it is essential that you find yourself a good pair of compression socks. Because they can be worn by anyone, the socks also come in different brands and at varying costs. Read on to find out the different considerations you need to take into account before purchasing a pair for yourself.
But before we get to that, let's clear up a question a lot of people have, keeping in mind that we've said that anyone can wear compression socks.
Who might need professional advice on using compression socks?
We have noted that compression socks are generally safe and can be worn by most people without experiencing any complications or side effects. However, there are certain categories of people who may need professional advice before using these stockings.
If you have a skin infection, pulmonary edema, or peripheral neuropathy, it is advisable to speak to your health care provider before purchasing and using compression socks. Peripheral neuropathy may see the user fail to register the degree of compression and thus affect blood circulation. Other people who may find compression stockings uncomfortable or may be affected by its use are those with peripheral artery disease. These people may experience problems when the socks end up affecting the flow of oxygen to the legs due to poor blood circulation.
In short, a person with any of the following should not wear compression socks unless their doctor has advised them to do so.
- History of leg swelling
- Pulmonary edema
- Peripheral artery discomfort,
- Peripheral neuropathy
Note that some of the infections and conditions listed above might actually get worse when using compression socks, especially when the socks chosen are tighter than advised.
What Should You Consider When Buying Compression Socks?
For someone who spends long hours sitting, standing or lying in bed, getting the right compression socks is a must. Here are some considerations to take into account when shopping for socks to help you avoid issues like leg swelling or DVT.
Get the right fit-
The key here is to avoid having socks that are too loose or too tight. But even if you have to be keen, you don't have to worry as compression socks usually come in sizes that match the shoe sizes.
While there can be up to 5 different types, knowing your shoe size should help you get the right fit. To determine which fit is right for you, pay attention to your ankle and calf measurements.
When choosing the right length as shown below, it is important to consider the length of the sock to reach the knees or thigh. For better comfort, opt for mid-height compression socks.
As mentioned before, compression socks have different pressure ratings and it is good to choose one that is at the right level for your specific need. For those looking for comfort who spends long hours sitting or standing, and who need comfort while avoiding problems, then it would be advisable to go for the 15-20mmHg pressure compression socks.
Those who have some kind of swelling should buy compression stockings with a pressure level of 20-30 mmHg. If you are affected by a disease like varicose veins or DVT (among other conditions), opt for socks with a pressure level of 30 to 40 mmHg.
What is the right length for you? -
This consideration may be down to your taste, which means that one can opt for a knee-high pair or a thigh-high stocking. You might also fancy a footless design, but this choice means you may need to consult a specialist to determine if they are suitable for your specific condition.
Where do you buy the compression socks? -
Developments in e-commerce mean that it's much easier and even cheaper to get compression stockings online.
While this is good for the fast-paced world we live in, the general advice is that we buy our first pair from a medical facility or store. Indeed, we then have access to the services of a professional who can help us choose the right fit and guide us through the process of wearing socks.
Other considerations include:
- Find out if your health insurance can pay for compression socks
- Find out if your healthcare provider recommends it
- Make sure you have the correct measurements of your legs
What level of compression (or pressure) is right for you?
The market offers compression socks that offer pressure based on 4 to 5 levels, which means one should choose the level that best facilitates blood flow and relieves discomfort. We measure the level of compression in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), and the pressure levels increase according to the level of compression required.
A healthy person looking for a compression sock for more comfort will go for the lower pressure levels below 15mmHg. This is ideal for people who are only concerned about impact standing or sitting for long hours. The other levels are 15-20 mmHg, 20-30 mmHg, 30-40 mmHg and 40+ mmHg.
If you are planning to have a long international flight, a compression sock with 15-20 mmHg will help you avoid leg swelling or DVT.
Pressure levels above 20 mmHg are suitable for people with varicose veins and edema. Patients who have just had surgery and are likely to be in bed for long hours also use such compression socks to help prevent potential blood clots.
There is a lot to know about compression socks, but the basic idea is that they are recommended for those who are likely to sit or stand for long hours or for medical reasons. Go on and find a pair of compression stockings and explore their benefits.
Nowadays, many people are choosing to wear compression stockings. They are affordable, easy to access and help to fight off unpleasant symptoms of illness. These specialized elastic socks are designed to offer comfort to the wearer by applying pressure to the legs, allowing better blood circulation throughout the body.
However, those who wear compression stockings know that getting them on can be challenging. The good news is, there are easier ways to don your stockings and move forward with your day. ComproGear has put together a gamme of tips and tricks to help you simplify your compression sock routine.
Before we go over how to put compression socks on, we’ll take a look at the basics : What are compression socks ? How do they work ? And what do compression hose have to offer you ?
Compression stockings are a unique type of therapeutic wear that helps to improve blood circulation in the body. These socks and stockings are often used to reduce pain or swelling in the legs.
Compression stockings can also lower your risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis ( DVT ) by exerting pressure on your legs as you wear them. This gentle pressure assists with blood flow from the legs and back to the heart, preventing the clotting and pooling of blood.
You will find compression stockings in a range of sizes and pressure levels. When shopping for your compression socks, note that mmHg is used for denoting the pressure exerted by compression stockings. A higher mmHg indicates a higher amount of pressure being applied to the legs by the compression sock. For example, 30mmHg is a higher pressure application than 15mmHg.
For those who do not have a medical diagnosis, using compression socks with a mild pressure rating will suffice. A low pressure rating can help you deal with tired legs and mild swelling.
A compression sock should offer a “snug” fit but shouldn’t be excessively tight. Before you make a purchase, take a look over the sizing chart to get an idea about which size would fit you best.
Medical grade compression socks are generally tighter in the ankle portion of the sock and gradually become less tight towards the knee. This type of compression is called graduated compression. TED socks and many varieties of compression garments use graduated compression.
You can purchase compression socks from medical equipment stores or ComproGear. If you need compression hose for medical reasons, your doctor will prescribe the right compression according to your needs and will help you order the acceptable size. Prices will vary according to the type of compression sock and its brand.
Those who suffer from medical conditions related to poor circulation can benefit from wearing compression stockings : Anyone recovering from varicose vein surgery. Athletes who are recovering from an injury or who are training extensively. Those who are at risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis ( DVT ), varicose veins, edema or leg ulcers. Those who spend a lot of time travelling or sitting such as pilots, frequent fliers, truck drivers, etc.
It’s a great idea to put your compression hosiery on first thing in the morning before any swelling occurs from the day’s activities. This will allow the stockings to slide on with greater ease. Alternatively, you may lay down and rest your legs on an elevated pillow for about 15 minutes to reduce swelling before donning your socks.
Your legs should also be clean and dry. Dry off completely after bathing and if it is a particularly humid day, sprinkling talc or cornstarch across the legs can help the fabric of the socks slide on smoothly.
to sweat on your compression stockings with ease, place just your toes into the stocking’s toe area. The rest of the sock will be bunched up around the toes as you do this. Gradually unravel the sock upwards towards your knee. Do not crouch on the floor or bend over while standing, as this will make it difficult to pull your compression hose on. It is best to sit in a chair while donning your socks.
Wrinkled stockings are difficult to wear. Creases in the material can apply démesurée pressure to the skin beneath them, causing discomfort or cutting off circulation. Be sure to smooth out any creases in the fabric once your socks are on. This will ensure you’re getting the optimum pressure application from your stockings. Do not fold over the top of your compression hose as this can interrupt blood flow.
If you wear open-toe compression stockings then this trick is for you. Slip a plastic bag over your foot and heel. The plastic bag’s slippery surface will help your compression hose slip onto your leg with ease. Once your sock or stocking is on, carefully pull out the loose plastic bag through the open-toe of your stocking. You can also try using a silk foot slip to help you put on your compression socks. It works in much the same way as the plastic bag trick. All you need to do is to place your foot into the silk foot slip then sweat your pressure sock over it and onto your leg, just as you would with a regular sock.
An effective method for donning compression stockings without the hassle is to use talcum powder or cornstarch. Sprinkle some across your ankles and legs before pulling your socks on. These silky powders allow close-fitting compression garments to slide over the skin easily. Talcum powder can also help absorb excess moisture on the skin.
Applying lotion and creams to the legs will make it difficult to put your stockings on. Moisturized skin tends to stick to or grab the fabric of the socks as you attempt to pull them on. One solution to this problem is to apply lotion before going to bed rather than in the morning. This allows enough time for the cream to absorb into your skin, leaving it smooth enough in the morning for the compression socks to slide on easily.
There are several donning tools available commercially that can help if you’re struggling to get your compression stockings on. You can purchase these tools at medical equipment or online stores. The prices will vary according to the brand. Popular donning devices include Medi Butler, Juzo Slippie Gator and Sigvaris Doff n’ Donner. These tools are ideal for elderly people or anyone with a mobility venant that has difficulty putting on compression stockings.
Donning gloves are a great tool to help you firmly grasp your stockings without tearing them. It can be quite difficult to grab and pull the stocking fabric with your bare hands. This is where gloves can come to the rescue. Various brands manufacture gloves that can be worn while donning compression stockings. These gloves also protect the stocking fabric, especially if you are concerned about your nails tearing the hosiery.