Compression stockings are one of the most popular treatments for tired legs and swollen calves. These socks can help support healthy circulation, which can help boost your energy levels and reduce your risk of blood clots. They can benefit people who work standing up most of the day, distance runners and the elderly.
However, compression socks aren't the best solution for everyone, and some studies suggest that using them incorrectly can be harmful. Here's what you should know about using compression stockings and making sure you don't hurt yourself when you shouldn't be wearing them.
Your circulatory system works hard to pump fresh, oxygen-rich blood from your heart into your veins. Once oxygen is distributed throughout your body, blood is depleted and returned through other veins to be replenished. Blood in the veins of the legs needs to defy gravity to return to the heart. Because of this, the veins and arteries in your legs can easily become weak and inefficient. This is where compression stockings and stockings can help.
Compression socks put pressure on the ankle and calf. This gentle, sustained squeeze helps support the veins in the legs as they carry blood back to the heart. Compression stockings are recommended for people with certain medical conditions on a prescription basis. They are also popular over the counter for those who work standing up, frequent flyers and adults over 65.
Are compression stockings bad for my health?
Generally, compression socks are safe when worn correctly. That doesn't mean they're safe for everyone, or that they're the right solution for every situation. Some people should not use compression stockings, such as those with delicate or irritated skin. It's also important to make sure your compression socks are fitted correctly. You should be aware of some risks:
Can compression socks cut off blood circulation?
Compression stockings and stockings are designed to provide you with constant pressure to support blood circulation. But when they don't fit, they can actually have the opposite effect and stop blood from circulating in your legs.
Can compression socks cause chafing and chafing your legs?
If you suffer from dry skin or travel where the air is dry, your skin can easily chafe or bruise. People with a compromised skin barrier may experience cuts, abrasions, or bruises from using compression stockings. This is much less likely to happen if the compression stockings or stockings are fitted correctly.
Do compression socks cause itching, redness, or irritation?
Compression stockings can exacerbate existing skin irritation and cause itching. When the compression stockings do not fit properly, redness and temporary dents may appear on the legs on the edge of the sock fabric.
When are compression socks bad for you?
Generally speaking, compression socks are more beneficial than falls; however, while compression socks are great for seniors, runners, and workers who spend most of their time on their feet, there is a right and wrong way to wear these socks. If you don't wear socks correctly, you may be doing yourself more harm than good. The surest way to make sure you're wearing compression socks safely is to speak with a healthcare professional before buying a pair. Your doctor can guide you through the different levels of pressure compression stockings can provide you, how long you should spend wearing them, and all the possible risk factors in your unique case. If you have any serious health or skin concerns, especially any of the questions at the bottom of this article,
The first thing you should do before buying a pair of compression socks is to research the many different brands available. Don't believe everything you see at your local department store because not all compression socks are created equal. Well-known brands with 15-20 years of experience put decades of thought and care into the materials they choose for socks. Still, some companies want to catch up on the compression stocking trend without making sure their socks are safe, or even beneficial, for buyers. You shouldn't buy compression socks on impulse; take the time to do your homework so you can make the safest, most informed decision for yourself.
Another key choice to make before buying a pair of compression socks is that you find a pair that works for you. Most problems that compression socks can cause stem from people wearing the wrong size. Compression stockings do feel a little tight because they work by putting pressure on your calves and ankles to improve circulation, but if they're too tight, they can have the opposite effect and cut off your circulation. Some healthcare professionals can adjust compression stockings for you in the office so you know you're the perfect size. If you choose not to consult your doctor, be sure to contact the sock manufacturer of your choice for a proper sizing guide.
Other precautions you can take include familiarizing yourself with the sock manufacturer's care instructions, especially when washing and drying your socks. Improper washing or drying techniques can deform socks so they no longer fit you. Once you start noticing a pair of compression socks starting to lose their elasticity, it's a good idea to throw them away and buy a new pair. Make sure to take off your compression stockings and replace them with a fresh, dry pair every day so they don't stick to your skin and be difficult to take off.
Unless your doctor instructs you not to, you will need to take off your compression stockings each night before going to bed. When you lie down, your legs are level with your heart, which means you don't block blood circulation like you would when you stand all day. If you wear compression socks while sleeping, it may have the opposite effect on your circulation, causing swelling and difficulty breathing.
Part of the dangers of sleeping with compression socks stems from the fact that when you toss and turn at night, you might not notice if one of your socks accidentally rolls up in an area of your leg. When you're awake and moving around, it's easy to notice and adjust your socks to fit properly, but if your socks are left on for hours at a time, it can cause poor circulation. The last thing you want is for your compression socks to have the exact opposite effect as intended. You can prevent this from happening by remembering to remove them before climbing into bed.
Usually wearing compression socks all day is fine, but one thing you don't want to happen is that your muscles become so dependent on compression socks for proper circulation that they "forget" how to do their jobs and become "Lazy". "If this happens, your muscles may become weaker and more prone to injury, which is especially problematic for athletes and runners. Get all the benefits of compression socks, but don't make your legs too dependent on them .
Matters needing attention
If you notice hard and swollen veins in your veins, tenderness/lack of circulation in one or both legs, cramps in one or both of your legs, pay close attention and contact a medical professional. If you notice red and warm in an area of your veins, your pulse is weak/feeling irregular, your skin turns blue/purple, or you have trouble breathing at a normal rate, stop wearing socks and contact your doctor immediately doctor.
People who are prone to dry skin or who live/travel to places with particularly dry climates may find themselves chafed, scratched or even bruised from wearing compression stockings. Also, socks that don't fit you can pierce the skin on your legs, leaving temporary indentations and itching. Any of this is much less likely if you make sure to wear the right socks, but older people, people with skin conditions, and people with more fragile, brittle skin may experience more skin-related problems because Their compression socks are bigger than most.
People with the following medical conditions should not use compression stockings without express authorization from a healthcare professional:
Skin disease/infection Heart disease Peripheral vascular or arterial disease (affecting your lower extremities) Diabetes Nerve damage
Compression socks can make a world of difference for those who need them, but make sure you wear them responsibly so you don't accidentally hurt yourself in the long run.