Compression socks are specialized hosiery items designed to provide extra support and increase blood circulation. Some manufacturers may also use the term support socks to describe their product. Compression socks are not to be confused with traditional dress socks or non-compression diabetic socks, although they may look similar. The main purpose of these socks is to provide graduated pressure on the lower leg and foot. Traditional dress and athletic socks offer some degree of compression, but not enough to be considered therapeutic.
The key to understanding how these socks work lies in knowing about their graduated pressure application. Throughout an average day, the body pumps blood to all of the extremities as equally as it can. Gravity, however, often causes blood to pool in the lower legs and feet, causing circulatory problems such as edema, phlebitis and thrombosis. At the very least, all of this blood pooling can cause fatigue and leg cramps. Elevating the legs and feet may alleviate the pain temporarily, but it often returns after a few hours of constant standing or walking.
This is where the use of compression socks can be extremely beneficial. These socks use stronger elastics such as rubber or spandex to create significant pressure on the legs, ankles and feet. By compressing the surface veins, arteries and muscles, the circulating blood is forced through narrower channels. The arterial pressure is increased, causing more blood to return to the heart and less blood to pool in the feet. Compression socks are tightest at the ankles, gradually become less constrictive towards the knees. The soles of these socks may be heavily padded for better shock absorption.
Although these kinds of socks were originally marketed to those with compromised circulatory systems, many people now find their everyday use beneficial. Experts suggest passengers on long flights should wear compression socks to prevent circulatory problems like deep vein thrombosis, leg cramps and edema. Athletes often wear them to give their leg muscles additional support while running or jumping. Those with occupations requiring long periods of standing may also benefit from the use of these socks.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Compression Socks?
Specialized socks called compression socks are made to increase blood flow in the legs and feet. They are designed to be more snug than conventional socks and are created from various materials, including spandex and nylon. Support hosiery is another name for compression socks, available in multiple designs, hues, and sizes. They can aid in reducing fatigue and swelling in the feet and legs and are frequently worn during activities like jogging, walking, or prolonged sitting.
What are the Benefits of Wearing Compression Socks?
Numerous advantages of compression socks include increased blood flow, less edema, and enhanced athletic performance. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) risk can be decreased, and fatigue can be reduced with improved circulation. Additionally, compression socks can lessen swelling in the legs and feet, relieving pain and discomfort. Running and walking are two activities where performance can be improved because compression socks can aid in lessening muscle tension and weariness.
Who Can Benefit from Wearing Compression Socks?
Anyone wishing to increase circulation, minimize swelling, and enhance athletic performance should consider wearing compression socks. They are frequently advised for people who spend a lot of time sitting or standing, as well as for runners and athletes. Compression socks may also benefit people with diabetes, varicose veins, and DVT.
How Should Compression Socks Fit?
Although they should be snug, compression socks shouldn't be excessively tight. They shouldn't be painful or uncomfortable due to being too close. While the socks should fit snugly around the ankle, they shouldn't be uncomfortable. Additionally, the socks should fit snugly around the calf but not painfully or immobilizingly.
How Often Should Compression Socks Be Worn?
Compression socks should be worn whenever necessary, depending on the activity or condition being treated. They ought to be worn by athletes throughout practice and competition. Those with health issues should wear them if their doctor or healthcare professional advises. To lessen fatigue and discomfort, they should be used as needed by people who sit or stand for long periods.