There are so many great benefits to wearing compression socks. Not only can they help prevent serious medical conditions, they can improve performance.
How to wear compression socks
Compression socks should lie flat against the skin with no bunching if possible. Ensure the length of the socks aren’t too long - if you have to roll the top of the sock, it may make the socks too tight ( like a tourniquet) and affect the blood flow negatively. Please ensure you seek advice from your doctor to confirm how long and how often to wear your compression socks.
Who can use compression socks?
Those who stand all day
Pilots and other staff working on airlines. Those who are taking a long haul flight or who fly regularly.
Those who at risk from problems with their circulation, for example, Deep Vein thrombosis (DVT) or Varicose veins ( swollen or enlarged veins)
Those on bed rest or unable to move around
Those recovering from surgery
Sportsmen and women
Compression socks work by improving the blood flow in your legs. They can also reduce pain, provide support and reduce swelling in the leg (lymphoedema). They are probably best known for helping to reduce the risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis) in the legs as well as other circulatory problems.
The ‘squeezing or ‘compression’ affect, essentially pressure on the leg, helps the blood vessels to work in a more optimal way. The veins in the legs get a boost from the compression which allows blood to move more readily back towards the heart after making its way through and around the body. The compression affect may encourage the arteries in your legs to relax allowing everything around them, including muscles, to relax.
Symptoms including tired & achy legs, dizziness and vertigo when standing, swelling and spider or varicose veins can be relieved by wearing compression socks or stockings. As the blood is being encouraged more freely when wearing compression socks, it is less likely to become pooled in your vein, sometimes becoming a clot. A blood clot can be deadly if it forms and then continues to move throughout the body ( potentially causing a blockage.
Many athletes (including some of our MendMeShop personnel) swear by compression socks to enhance their sporting performance. There have been many studies centered around the use of compression socks in sporting activities, researching everything from greater performance due to increased blood flow and oxygenated muscles, to fewer cramps and soreness during recovery due to greater blood flow and lymph circulation. Many of these studies are inconclusive, but that doesn’t stop many athletes from using these stockings in practice and competitions.
Types of Socks
You can find lots of different compression apparel to suit your needs. Compression socks can be made with variable levels of pressure. Compression socks should feel snug but NOT too tight. Talk to your doctor about the level of pressure to suit your condition or requirements and they will prescribe what’s best (they may measure your legs also). If you are at risk from DVT, you may need higher pressure with a firmer fit. A lower pressure number may be suitable for socks used at work when you are on your feet all day.
Compression socks may be worn long term, this is something you and your Doctor need to discuss. They may also need to check the fit of the socks once you are wearing them. You may need monitoring on a regular basis (every 6 months for example) to see if any changes need to be made.
Compression socks are made of close-fitting fabric such as lycra, which gently squeeze (hence the term ‘compression’) your leg. There are lots of different types of compression garments including sleeves and graduated compression socks. We are working on expanding our MendMeShop compression sock brand right now… stay tuned!
Compression socks can come in different sizes and strengths. It’s best to check with your Doctor before choosing (and starting to wear) your compression socks, to ensure you are doing what’s best for your body.
Here's a sizing chart to help you with your sock purchase:
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