Compression socks can be a lifesaver for people who sit or stand for long periods of time. Whether you have a condition that causes swelling or not, compression socks can be used to allow you to do more while moving through your busy day.
How do compression socks work?
Most compression socks are designed with a pressure gradient system. The sock is tightest at the bottom and loosest at the top. This places pressure on the veins of the leg allowing for the efficient reduction in swelling by promoting blood already used by tissues to flow back to the heart more quickly.
When discussing compression socks, you often hear people say 15-20 mmHg, 20-30mmHg etc. They are referencing the compression level or how much pressure each sock puts on your leg. The higher the number, the tighter the socks are, therefore the more support your legs need.
Who do compression socks work for?
Everyone! That’s the best part! Throughout the course of a busy day, everyone accumulates swelling in their feet which causes general leg fatigue. Imagine a nurse who works 12 hours a day, a pilot who sits on a long flight, a teacher who stands and sits all day, or a Pedorthist who dispenses your compression socks. We can all benefit from compressions (barring any medical contraindications)!
Who conditions benefit from compression?
Edema is the technical term for swelling and occurs when fluid is trapped in the body. For us this is most notably seen in the legs/feet after a long workday, post-surgery, during pregnancy and many other situations. It is the most common reason to warrant the use of compression socks. With sitting and standing, pressure is put on the blood vessels. Over the course of a day they get less efficient at pumping blood back to the heart partially due to the effect of gravity. With compression stockings we can limit this greatly!
This condition causes veins to become faulty and noticeably twist and raise, producing increased pressure in the legs over time. Edema and varicose veins often appear together. Compression socks can help to target this condition at any level of the leg and keep it from worsening.
Think of spider veins just like how they sound, a web of veins resembling a spider web. The veins are often damaged blood vessels which leave a purple or red mark on the skin. Compressions socks help with spider veins by increasing how efficient our legs are at removing blood from pooling in the legs, reducing the likelihood of new spider veins forming.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
DVT is a condition indicated by blood clots forming in the lower leg. These clots can form anywhere and are typically caused by anything that does not allow blood to flow properly (think surgery or trauma). If we encourage the legs to properly circulate blood with compression socks, we can combat this.