If you’ve been suffering from sore, aching or swollen legs, you may have heard about compression socks/stockings. These are specialized socks/stockings that compress the legs leading to increased blood circulation and oxygen flow. They use stronger elastics, particularly at the ankles, which become gradually less constrictive as they move up towards the knees (and thighs in the case of stockings). By compressing the surface muscles, the socks/stockings force blood through narrower channels which means that more blood returns to the heart and less pools in the feet. This, in turn, decreases lactic acid, prevents cramps, minimizes muscle fatigue, decreases venous pressure and prevents the formation of blood clots in the legs. Compression stockings can protect against further progression of venous disorders and relieve pain and tiredness in your legs. Not sure if they’re right for you? Here a quick summary of situations/conditions where they might be beneficial:
- VARICOSE VEINS: Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged and twisted. It is often a hereditary condition, more common in women than men, but can also be related to pregnancy, obesity, prolonged standing, leg injuries, menopause, ageing, abdominal straining and other issues. It can be quite painful, especially when standing and can lead to leg ulcers. By increasing blood flow to the heart, compression socks, can relieve the pain and swelling associated with varicose veins.
- PREGNANCY: For many women, one of the consequences of pregnancy is increased pressure on the blood vessels in the legs which disrupts circulation and leads to swelling and pain in the ankles and feet. Compression socks help to counter this disruption and increase blood flow which can help to alleviate these problems.
- EXCESSIVE STANDING/SITTING: People who spend a lot of time standing or sitting can also benefit from compression socks. Standing or sitting for long periods of time can lead to reduced circulation and swelling/pain in the legs, ankles or feet. In fact, there is evidence that prolonged sitting can be a cause of blood clots in the leg. While this is typically thought of as only an occupational issue, it can become an issue while travelling a long distances to get to a vacation destination.
- COMPETITIVE/RECREATIONAL SPORTS: Many athletes also use compression socks since the improved oxygen flow and circulation can help lead to quicker recovery time and decreased muscle soreness and fatigue.
Most health professional recommend wearing compression socks throughout the day and for an extended period of time in order to get the maximum benefit. Of course, you should speak to your health professional for specific guidance based upon your unique situation/condition.
Need more information about compression socks and the risks of poor circulation? Don’t hesitate to give us a call. Remember, at Physiomed…Healthier Starts Here.