Why do nurses wear compression socks?

Why do nurses wear compression socks?

Nursing is a dynamic profession with specialties ranging from home health to administration and management. Travel nurses need to stay active, work long shifts and stay on their feet. This is why almost all nurses complain of tired feet. Travel nurses are not unique in this regard. Whether you're moving from patient to patient, working in a hospital, or providing care in a private practice, if you're a nurse, your job often involves standing for long periods of time. By the end of the workday, you may find yourself complaining of swelling and pain in your legs.

Nurses with tired legs and feet are advised to take the following measures:

  • Stretching exercises
  • foot bath with epsom salts
  • leg raise
  • Orthopedic shoes or insoles
  • compression stockings

Fortunately, in addition to providing comfort, compression stockings allow nurses to reduce the risk of dangerous blood clots and blood vessel problems. For many people, including nurses, compression stockings provide immediate relief from swelling and pain. Compression stockings also provide a low-cost, convenient solution to the leg and foot pain that most nurses experience after long shifts.

Beyond Compression Socks: A Nurse's Guide to Leg and Foot Self-Care

What Makes Nursing Different?

The list of modern careers that require long standing is long. From cashiers to bartenders, many jobs require hours of shifts without any breaks to sit down. Nursing can be considered an extreme example of this larger trend, especially since 12-hour shifts are so common in the medical field. "A study exploring the impact of breaks on nurse staff found that in 10 percent of shift work, nurses reported not having the opportunity to sit down for breaks or meals." Because labor laws vary from state to state, nurses often work shifts. Some reported shifts as long as 23 hours and 40 minutes. Employers often require nurses to work overtime, so standing for long periods of time has become the norm in the nursing profession.

Numerous studies have shown that these long-term changes can negatively impact patient outcomes. Long shifts are equally problematic for nurses themselves. According to a 2010 study, "Extended working hours and shift work are associated with a number of deleterious cognitive, psychomotor, and behavioral effects, including errors, emotional disturbances, and occupational injury." Standing work can endanger the health of employees. In fact, research shows that all occupations that involve standing increase the risk of health complications.

When does sitting and standing become dangerous?

By consulting the scientific literature, you'll find that holding the same posture for extended periods of time can cause problems, whether you're sitting or standing. Either position reduces blood circulation in the lower legs. Arteries pump blood and oxygen from the heart, while veins carry deoxygenated blood and waste fluids back to the heart. For people in a chair or standing position, their veins must resist gravity. This behavior puts undue stress on the body over a long period of time.


A large number of jobs require standing, and while these occupations vary in skill level and pay, their health effects appear to be consistent. A 2018 study showed that all standing jobs have the same health effects: "Occupations that primarily involve standing are associated with approximately 2 times the risk of heart disease compared to occupations that primarily involve sitting." (Smith) vs. Some risk factors associated with prolonged standing include blood pooling in the lower extremities, elevated hydrostatic venous pressure, and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulate in the bloodstream. Any professional who stands all day, such as a nurse, can be susceptible.

Another study, published in Occupational Medicine, examined health care workers, which may explain one potential reason for the tripling of heart disease. "Healthy workers who worked more than 90% of their hours had increased ROS production, which was reversed by the use of compression stockings," the researchers wrote. (Flore 340) If oxidative stress continues unchecked, it can become toxic to cells. High levels of ROS are associated with systemic diseases such as atherosclerosis, chronic venous insufficiency, and even cancer. Compression stockings reduce the accumulation of ROS in the lower extremities, thereby reducing the risk of major health problems. The study concluded: "The use of compression stockings in workers who stand for prolonged periods of time should be considered when other preventive measures, such as rest and changes in posture, are not feasible."


Like standing, sitting has been linked to health problems, especially when this position is held for hours at a time. In a review of the existing scientific literature on occupational sitting, the researchers concluded: "...recent studies have revived interest in the health effects of prolonged sitting. Metabolic syndrome is associated with diabetes, a marker of cardiovascular disease risk and premature death.” (van Uffelen) Whether sitting for long periods of time for leisure activities, office work or long-distance travel, there is evidence that this behavior may be associated with Health can be negatively affected in a number of ways.

For example, the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) appears to increase during long-haul flights. As the Harvard Health Men's Health Observatory advises, "sitting for long periods of time, such as on a long flight or in a car, increases the risk of developing blood clots in the veins of the legs." Because blood clots in the deep veins can rupture and cause pulmonary embolism (pulmonary embolism) A blockage can be fatal), so many doctors recommend walking around and wearing compression stockings on long flights. Likewise, nurses who sit for long periods of time may benefit from wearing compression stockings to keep blood circulating. Knee-length compression socks with true graded compression, providing more pressure at the ankle and less pressure at the calf. By exerting upward pressure on gravity, these socks help prevent blood from building up in the feet and calves during prolonged sitting.

How do compression socks work? What do they do?

How can compression socks help?

To understand why nurses wear compression stockings, it is important to understand the health effects of stagnant blood flow and impaired circulation. Compression stockings and compression stockings can help prevent the following conditions, and they can also relieve existing symptoms.

deep vein thrombosis

As mentioned earlier, DVT occurs when deep vein thrombosis occurs. DVT can develop without any symptoms and lead to fatal complications. Sometimes, a blood clot can rupture and travel through the bloodstream, causing a blockage. A pulmonary embolism is a blockage in the lungs and is one of the most dangerous outcomes of restricted blood flow.

Progressive compression therapy, like the kind we use for socks, has been shown to reduce the incidence of DVT in airline passengers ( Clarke ) and hospitalized patients ( Cayley ). A pair of compression stockings allows your vascular system to function properly, reducing your risk of blood clots. Doctors also recommend compression therapy to treat DVT and post-thrombotic syndrome if a blood clot has formed.

chronic venous insufficiency

Normally, the veins in your legs work in one direction to carry deoxygenated blood and waste fluids from your feet to your heart. Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) occurs when the valves in the veins fail, allowing blood to flow to the feet. When a vein valve fails, blood no longer flows in one direction. Instead, near the failed valve, blood begins to flow downward. As a result, people with CVI may develop varicose veins and spider veins, which can be unsightly and painful.

Compression stockings not only prevent the valves in the veins from failing, but also provide support for existing varicose and spider veins. By applying gentle upward pressure on your legs, compression stockings allow your blood to flow in the right direction—from your feet to your heart.

pain and suffering

Nurses often complain of lower extremity soreness, leg fatigue, leg pain, plantar fasciitis, or foot pain. By improving blood circulation, compression socks make the legs feel energized. Progressive compression prevents blood from building up in the calf, even after long shifts. This reduces the feeling of heaviness, fatigue and discomfort. Additionally, there is evidence that compression stockings aid in muscle recovery. (Ali) So, during a long day with a patient, you can avoid soreness and swelling by using compression stockings. When you forget to wear compression stockings, opting for compression therapy after get off work can help sore muscles recover faster.

fabric selection

There are many socks to choose from. For nurses, shoes and socks should be practical. When considering which compression socks to buy, I recommend avoiding fabrics that can cause blisters during a 16-hour shift. At ZSZBACE, we design antimicrobial fabrics with nurses in mind. Our signature knee-high sock fabric not only wicks away moisture, but it's also silver-treated to prevent bacteria and odors. Plus, our long sleeve cuffs prevent socks from slipping and sagging.

Nursing is hard work, but that doesn't mean your socks have to be serious. We offer a variety of colors and patterns so you can express yourself at work. Whichever style you choose, you can count on the padded toe and heel to make your day easier—especially during the last hours of your shift.

Compression level

Our 15-25 mmHg Companions provide healthcare professionals with the perfect combination of comfort and support. They offer a mix of light and medium compression and are designed to provide all the benefits of medium compression without feeling too tight.

Mild compression: 15-20 mmHg

This is the most commonly used over-the-counter compressive strength. Doctors usually recommend mild compression for first-time wearers. This is a great option for those looking to prevent swelling, leg pain, and DVT.

Moderate Compression: 20-30 mmHg (Medical Grade I)

Class I compression stockings have many health benefits. Moderate pressure provides adequate pressure for the management of active ulcers. In addition, symptoms of post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS), orthostatic hypotension, and superficial thrombophlebitis were significantly reduced by moderate pressure.

When we created these compression socks to occupy the "compression sweet spot" between medium and medium, we gave nurses the perfect choice for all-day comfort. Our socks allow you to take care of your own health just like you take care of others throughout your shift.

For professionals who never rest - 23 hours? Now, it's been a long working day! - Quality footwear is not an indulgence.

Patients depend on the work you do every day. Let your socks support you while you care about those around you.

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