A lot of the time, when you think of therapies and treatments for serious medical conditions, you think of different prescriptions and various specialty doctors. While medications and physicians are vital to recovery and ongoing healthcare, sometimes the biggest difference can be made by something as simple as a pair of socks.
If you suffer from certain medical conditions or consider yourself a gym junkie, you’ve probably read articles about or have seen people using compression socks and other therapeutic hosiery. Unless you’ve used them, however, you may not understand exactly how they work or the scope of their benefits.
What are compression socks?
Compression socks are socks or stockings made of tight-fitting but stretchy material (like spandex) that gently squeeze your legs when you wear them. There are three main types of compression socks.
The first is the graduated, which compresses the most at the ankle and decreases in pressure gradually up the leg, designed to help mobility. The second is the anti-embolism compression sock, which also compresses gradually but at a different level than the graduated sock, because it is designed for limited mobility individuals. The third type is the nonmedical compression sock, which applies pressure uniformly and is intended for general support and pain relief.
How do compression socks work?
Compression socks and other compression wear use pressure to improve blood flow and blood vessel functioning in certain areas of the body. They can also improve the flow of lymph fluid to reduce tissue swelling. Compression socks don’t just promote better blood flow, but help direct blood up towards the heart and prevent pooling in the lower extremities that can lead to blood clots.
What are the benefits of compression socks?
Using compression socks to enhance blood flow benefits your body in many ways:
- Reduce tissue swelling by improving lymph fluid flow in feet and ankles
- Relieve fatigued and sore muscles by increasing blood oxygen levels
- Speed up recovery after surgery or a workout
- Prevent and treat spider and varicose veins
- Relieve foot pain, ankle pain, and pain from shin splints
- Treat lightheadedness and dizziness caused by orthostatic hypertension
Who uses compression socks?
Depending on the type, compression socks can be prescribed and provided by a medical doctor or simply purchased online or at a store that carries standard medical supplies. Anybody can use and benefit from them, but they are more commonly used by:
- Individuals with or at risk for circulation problems (cardiac insufficiency, diabetes, deep vein thrombosis, varicose or spider veins, peripheral edema, vascular disease)
- Pregnant women
- Recovering surgery patients
- Individuals with limited or no mobility in the lower extremities (temporarily or long-term)
- Frequent flyers (pilots, flight attendants, traveling businessmen, etc.)
How do you choose the right compression socks?
If you’re using compression socks to treat a medical condition, you should discuss with your doctor the specifications that will work best for you. If you’re choosing a pair on your own, there are a few important features to consider.
The first thing to look for is a proper fit. Most manufacturers provide a size guide for their compression socks, so you’ll want to be sure to consult it before making a purchase. Hosiery that’s too loose won’t provide the relief or other benefits you’re looking for, while socks that are too tight can actually cause more pain.
You should also look for socks made of spandex or that have spandex in them, as these will better stay in place on your legs and keep their shape over time. Lastly, be sure to choose socks with good moisture control to help keep your feet dry and prevent fungal infections.
For compression socks and other therapeutic hosiery that you can feel confident about, look no further than BEK Medical!
We carry a wide variety of high-quality compression wear specially designed to help improve blood flow and relieve other negative effects of many different medical conditions. Whether you need a little extra support during a tough workout or are recovering from major surgery, our compression wear products are the perfect aid in your journey to recovery.
View our therapeutic hosiery online or contact us today to help you choose the right one!