Compression Stockings are specialized hosiery items designed to provide extra support and increase blood circulation. Some compression sock manufacturers may also use the term support socks to describe their product.
How Does it Work?
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 compression 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 compression socks lies in 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. Compression 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 compression socks may be heavily padded for better shock absorption.
Who benefits from wearing compression socks?
Anyone’s legs can feel better while wearing gradient compression stockings, especially those of us who spend too much time in sedentary sitting or standing positions. Gradient compression stockings are of most benefit to individuals with the following leg complaints:
- Tired, aching, heavy feeling legs
- Leg swelling
- Varicose veins
- Venous insufficiency
- Post-thrombotic syndrome
- Healed venous ulcer
- Active venous ulcer
It is recommended that you consult with your physician before wearing compression 20 mmHg and above. If you also have arterial circulation problems in your legs please consult with your physician before wearing any level of compression.
Although compression 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 compression socks 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 compression socks.
We cooperate with Sigvaris to offer medical lever compressing socks (compression level is above 20mm HG). Our well trained health care practitioners will measure your legs to figure out the size for you and make recommendations basing on your symptoms. If you need more information, you can phone us at 416-847-0183 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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