Can I Benefit from Wearing Compression Stockings?Compression socks and stockings are special garments designed to apply pressure on legs. The circulatory system is a two-way mechanism; blood flowing
from the heart to all body parts and vice versa. Blood has to work against gravity to flow back to the heart. Anything that interferes with the backflow such as weak veins in the legs, lack of body movement, and other factors that cause circulatory problems lead to leg swelling and fatigue.
Compression socks are commonly worn by athletes, nurses, seniors, diabetics, travelers in long flights, and people standing for long hours at work.
To establish whether you need to wear compression socks or not, it is important to understand the different styles of socks, different materials, how they work, and benefits of wearing compression stockings.
Who Should Wear Compression Socks?
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is the major risk of improper blood circulation. This condition involves blood clotting in the legs. There are various causes to clotting in this part of the body.
After the age of 50, both men and women reduce movement and physical activity. Staying indoors for a whole week is not extra ordinary with senior citizens. Most of these people have health complications that necessitate home care meaning they rarely move from a chair or bed. Such scenarios weaken blood vessels and cause blood to clot. Prolonged clotting leads to DVT.Typically, doctors prescribe bed rest after major surgeries. The number of days given for bed rest is dependent on previous condition and type of surgery. Bed rest is essential for recovery of such patients, no doubt; however, if bed rest prolongs, it causes blood clotting mainly in the legs. This exposes the recovering patient to other ailments.
Other causes of blood clotting include sitting for long period like in a plane. Also, nurses that spend the whole day on their feet are likely to experience blood clotting and swelling because the veins are in constant motion hence weakening its walls, which are critical in backflow of blood to the heart. Pregnancy and genetics are also common causes of blood clotting.
The mentioned scenarios predispose people to improper blood circulation hence deep vein thrombosis. Early diagnosis of this condition can easily be addressed with compression socks and stockings. Compression socks apply mild pressure for blood to flow against gravity; getting the right size is important to avoid over squeezing of legs that blocks blood flow.
How Compression Stockings Work
Compression socks apply pressure on the legs to aid in flow of blood. If you have any of the mentioned conditions then you certainly need to wear these stockings to avoid further health complications. Defect in veins caused by stagnation of muscles and ligaments as well as intrinsic blood infections that interfere with blood vessels wall compromise on amount of pressure in veins in legs.
Blood flowing against gravity requires force and consistency. If any infection or physical cause has compromised on pressure in legs, the socks provide artificial pressure. Socks are made of different length and sizes that define the amount of pressure. Compression leggings are rated based on pressure levels.
The amount of pressure required to enhance blood flow to the heart is dependent on extent of damage on veins. Some people require more pressure in specific parts of the leg. Finding the right size and length for your condition is crucial; it is important to consult medical specialists before buying compression socks.
Although amount of pressure is dependent on individual condition, compression stockings provide mild pressure. Excess pressure on veins reduce diameter of blood vessels hence blocking blood flow, which defeats the essence of wearing compression socks.
How to Choose the Best Compression Socks for You
Compression socks are categorized on basis of length, size, and ratings. While some people prefer certain materials, it does not have anything to do with pressure on your legs. Unless your skin reacts to certain fabric, there is no issue with material.
On length, there is either knee-high or thigh-high. If you are wearing for non-medical reasons, for instance you stand for long hours at work or for sports, knee-high is good enough. Extreme health conditions that require full control of blood flow necessitate thigh-high. Diabetic socks are mostly in this category because of the impaired blood vessels and unstable sugar content in blood. However, most people find thigh-high socks to be uncomfortable.
There are no standard sizes of compression socks. You might need a tape measure for exact measurements of different parts of your leg. Circumference of the ankle, distance from thigh to knee, and knee to the floor.
Suitability of compression socks is also based on ratings. There are five levels of compression on basis of amount of pressure applied to the leg. Compression level is measured in millimeters of mercury, mmHg. Compression levels range from 10 mmHg to over 40 mmHg. Pregnant and healthy people who only experience leg problems because of fatigue from standing all day wear socks with mild compression levels. The number increases with extent of health issues.
How Long Should I Wear Compression Socks?
When to wear is dependent on the reason. It is important to consult a doctor before wearing compression socks.
Besides leg complications, normal people also wear calf compression socks to boost blood flow and for comfort.