If you’re like most people, you probably have a few pairs of compression socks lying around your house. You may not know it, but you can use these socks for more than just preventing blood clots during long flights. Here, we will discuss how compression socks work to reduce swelling. We’ll also cover the different types of compression socks available.

What Are Compression Socks?

Compression socks are hosiery designed to apply pressure to your lower legs. This pressure helps to reduce the amount of fluid that builds up in your tissues. It also helps to improve blood flow and prevent blood clots from forming. There are different levels of compression available, depending on your needs.

How Do Compression Socks Work?

Compression socks work by applying graduated pressure to your legs. The pressure level is greatest at the ankle and gradually decreases as it goes up the leg. This gradient compression helps to promote blood flow and reduce swelling.

There are a few different ways that compression socks can help to reduce swelling. First, the compression helps to prevent fluid from building up in your tissues. Second, it helps improve blood flow and prevent blood clots from forming. Finally, compression can help to reduce inflammation.

Types of Compression Socks

Over-The-Counter (OTC Compression Socks)
These are the most common type of compression socks. They are available in various sizes, styles, and compression levels.

Some people prefer OTC compression socks because they are less expensive than prescription socks. However, it is important to note that not all OTC socks are created equal. Make sure to buy a sock that is the right size and has the correct compression level for your needs.

OTC compression socks are available in both knee-high and thigh-high styles. They can also be bought with or without a toe opening.

Prescription Compression Socks
Prescription compression socks are custom-made to fit your legs. They are available in various sizes, styles, and compression levels.

Prescription socks are more expensive than OTC socks but may be covered by insurance. Additionally, they are usually made with higher quality materials than OTC socks. This means that they may last longer and be more comfortable to wear.

Talk to your doctor first if you’re interested in trying compression socks. They can help you choose the right sock for your needs.

Compression Stockings
Compression stockings are similar to compression socks but extend up to your thigh. They are available in various sizes, styles, and compression levels. Compression stockings are often used to treat more severe cases of swelling. They may be either prescribed by a doctor or purchased OTC.

Compression Arm Sleeves
Compression arm sleeves
are designed to apply pressure to your arms. They are available in various sizes, styles, and compression levels. Compression arm sleeves often treat swelling after surgery or an injury.

Who Should Wear Compression Socks?

Pregnant Women
Pregnant women often experience swelling in their legs and feet. This is due to the increased weight and fluid retention during pregnancy. Wearing compression socks can help to reduce this swelling.

Pregnant women should always consult with their doctor before wearing compression socks. This is because some types of compression may be unsafe for pregnant women.

People Who Sit or Stand for Long Periods
People who sit or stand for long periods risk swelling in their legs. This is due to the pooling of blood and fluid in the lower limbs. This includes people who work in an office, retail, or healthcare setting. Wearing them can help to reduce this swelling.

People with Diabetes
People with diabetes risk developing swelling in their legs and feet. This is due to the increased risk of circulation problems and nerve damage associated with diabetes. Wearing compression socks can help to reduce this swelling.

People with diabetes should always consult with their doctor before wearing compression socks. This is because some types of compression may be unsafe for people with diabetes.

How Should You Wear Compression Socks?

Choose the Right Size
Compression socks come in a variety of sizes. It is important to choose a sock that fits well. Otherwise, the sock will be too loose and not provide the desired compression level. Additionally, a poorly fitting sock can be uncomfortable to wear.

When putting on compression socks, it is important to roll them up from the toes towards the calf. Do not try to put them on like regular socks. This will help ensure they are tight and provide the desired compression level.

Put Them On In the Morning
It is best to put on compression socks in the morning. This is because the swelling is often worse after sitting or standing for a long time. Putting on socks in the morning will help to reduce this swelling.

Wear Them for At Least Four Hours
You should wear compression socks for at least four hours. This will give the socks enough time to work and reduce the swelling in your legs. You can also choose to wear them all day if you feel comfortable. However, it is important to remove them at night, so your skin can breathe.

Wear Them with Comfortable Shoes
You should wear compression socks with comfortable shoes. This will help prevent the socks from slipping and support your feet. Additionally, wearing compression socks with shoes will help distribute the pressure evenly and prevent uncomfortable bunching.

Replace Them Every Six Months
It would be best if you replaced your compression socks every six months. This is because the fabric may stretch over time and lose its ability to provide compression. Additionally, the socks may become stained or damaged after extended use.

When Should You Not Wear Compression Socks?

When You Have a Skin Condition
If you have a skin condition, you should not wear compression socks. This is because the socks can irritate the skin and worsen the condition. Examples of skin conditions include eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and hives. If you have a skin condition, you should consult your doctor before wearing compression socks.

In Case You Have a Circulatory Condition
If you have a circulatory condition, you should not wear compression socks. This is because the socks can interfere with blood flow and make the condition worse. Examples of circulatory conditions include deep vein thrombosis (DVT, varicose veins, and lymphedema).

If You Have a Foot Injury
If you have a foot injury, you should not wear compression socks. This is because the socks can pressure the injured area and cause pain. Additionally, there is a risk of the socks interfering with the healing process.

How Long Should You Wear Them?

Swelling: No More Than Two Hours
If you are wearing compression socks for swelling, you should not wear them for more than two hours. This is because the socks can cause your skin to become irritated. Additionally, wearing them for too long can make the swelling worse.

Pain: No More Than Four Hours
If you are wearing compression socks for pain, you should not wear them for more than four hours. This is because the socks can cause your skin to become irritated. Wearing them for too long can make the pain worse.

Recovery: No More Than Six Hours
If you are wearing compression socks for recovery, you should not wear them for more than six hours. This is because the socks can cause your skin to become irritated. Wearing them longer than six hours can make the recovery process longer.

Conclusion

Compression socks are a helpful tool for reducing swelling and pain. However, it is important to consult with your doctor before wearing them. Additionally, you should not wear compression socks for more than four hours. Wearing them for too long can make the condition worse. Finally, you should replace your compression socks every six months. This is because the fabric may stretch over time and lose its ability to provide compression.

At Care-Med, we have compression wear designed to reduce pain by improving blood flow and reducing swelling. We are located in Toronto, Ontario, but you can book virtual appointments with us if you are not in Toronto.

Care-Med - Custom Orthotics, Body Braces, Compression Wear & more

For inquiries, please email our office at info@caremed.care, and we will send a quick reply will be sent about your condition. If you require a personal consultation that requires an appointment, please call the office today at Care-Med at 416.782.5353.

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