The main purpose of compression socks and stockings is to provide gentle pressure to your ankles and legs. The stockings should provide graduated compression to promote blood flow up from your legs to your heart. A secondary purpose of compression socks is to help alleviate pain and swelling in the ankles and legs.
Benefits of Compression Socks
The main reason doctors prescribe compression socks is to boost leg circulation, support veins, reduce leg swelling, help prevent blood from pooling in your legs, help prevent venous ulcers, help prevent deep vein thrombosis, help reverse venous hypertension, and help lessen the pain of varicose veins. Compression socks work by helping blood flow to the heart, help to prevent blood from refluxing downward to the foot, and to help reduce the diameter of major veins by increasing the velocity of blood flow.
There are three main categories of compression socks or stockings including graduated compression stockings, anti-embolism stocks and non medical hosiery. Three popular brands of compressions socks are Sigvaris, Jobst, Airway Surgical, and Venosan. If your doctor have prescribed compression stockings you should monitor your legs daily.
Men's and Women's Circulation Socks
Compression socks are intended to ease the symptoms of lymphedema, edoema, and DVT. Poor circulation and leg fatigue are also commonly treated with compression stockings.
If you wear compression socks regularly, it could lead to improving blood flow. As a result, the rate at which your core temperature drops accelerates. Your extremities, such as your feet, hands, and ears, are where you lose the most heat.
Types of Compression Socks | Compression Levels
A variety of lengths and strengths are available, as well as a range of colors and styles. In order to optimize the benefits compression stockings offer, it is important to choose the right size and type for your specific needs.
Millimeters of mercury (mmHg) is a unit of measurement for pressure or compression. The pressure on compression socks is listed as a range because they provide graduated compression. The amount of pressure at the foot is higher in the range, while the amount at the top of the sock is lower.
- 8-15 mmHg
- 15-20 mmHg
- 20-30 mmHg
- 25-35 mmHg for diabetics
- 30-40 mmHg
- 40-50 mmHg
8-15 mmHg Compression Socks
Many people who experience the feeling of tire and lack of energy due to lower limb edema or venous insufficiency need a convenient and comfortable way of getting relief. For day use, light compression socks with an 8-15mmHg rating are perfect. They provide adequate pressure for all day wearing without being too constrictive.
15-20 mmHg Compression Socks
Moderate compression socks at 15-20 mmHg are recommended for daily use to keep your legs healthy and reduce swelling. They also help increase blood flow, which can be beneficial to those who suffer from claudication. The benefits of these socks are that they provide improved circulation, which can help reduce leg pain and other symptoms associated with peripheral vascular disease.
Compression socks will usually be designed with elastic qualities to secure the sock onto the leg to maintain constant pressure throughout the day or night. Long-haul drivers, travelers, and people with swollen feet and/or legs, such as those with varicose veins, should consider 15-20 mmHg compression stockings.
20-30 mmHg Compression Socks
Wearing compression socks can be beneficial to those who experience swelling in their lower legs during the day. This particular type of sock applies pressure between 20-30 mmHg, which is higher than traditional dress socks or athletic socks. Wearing these types of socks not only improves circulation and prevents varicose veins, but also provides relief from symptoms such as heaviness when walking.
25-35 mmHg Compression Socks (Diabetic Socks)
People with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) or varicose veins often experience edema around the ankle. This can be caused by increased blood volume, increased tissue fluid, decreased protein in the blood, or the pressure of standing or sitting for long periods of time. This condition can be very uncomfortable but is manageable with 25-35 mmHg compression socks to help reduce the swelling and prevent pain.
30-40 mmHg Compression Socks
The 30-40 mmHg compression is a stronger medical grade class II. It’s recommended for leg health symptoms that range from moderate to severe. A class II grade of compression is strong enough to help with swelling and leg sores. It also helps retain warmth, reduce muscle fatigue, and lessen the risk of blood clots. This level of compression is often recommended for those who have had a recent surgery or a long period of bed rest from extended illness.
40-50 mmHg Compression Socks
Lower levels of compression are typically used for smaller problems, while higher levels of compression are used for more severe problems. Severe venous stasis, wound management, and lymphedema are some instances where 40-50 mmHg is the appropriate level. For these severe cases, 40-50 mmHg is often prescribed because it provides an excellent balance between good circulation and adequate relief from the swelling.
What are compression socks good for?
The use of compression stockings can reduce symptoms in people with varicose veins. Compression stockings are specially designed garments that apply pressure to your lower legs to help maintain the integrity of the veins and arteries so blood can flow properly, which in turn helps reduce swelling and improves circulation.
Wearing Compression Socks
Compression stockings are often used during the day to combat problems like edema. Sometimes you may be told to wear them at night too, but it's important to take them off before going to bed because they can make your legs swell more overnight.
Who Should Wear Compression Socks
The use of compression stockings has been a longstanding practice for people that have been diagnosed with varicose veins. There are a number of reasons that a person may be prescribed compression stockings by their doctor, including pain, swollen legs and ankles, and cosmetic concerns. The use of these stockings can help manage the symptoms as well as decrease the chances of developing complications such as ulcers or blood clots.
Compression stockings provide medical benefits for people who suffer from chronic venous insufficiency, but they can also be helpful to those who just want to prevent or lessen the risk of developing varicose and spider veins.
It’s strongly recommended that people considering compression stockings have thoroughly consulted with their health care provider before making any decisions.
- Jobst Travel Medical Compression Stockings
- Sigvaris Women's Essential Cotton Knee High Compression Stocking