Compression stockings can improve blood circulation and fight swelling and discomfort.
Good blood circulation is one of the most important parts of your health. Blood flow problems can cause uncomfortable pain, and in some cases, they can even be dangerous. While it may seem harmless, sitting in one position for long periods of time can prevent blood from flowing the way it should, but compression socks may offer an easy solution.
Compression socks have so many benefits, it's pretty much what they sound like. By providing consistent pressure along with leg movement, they encourage blood to flow from the ankle up the deep veins in the legs and back to the heart.
Some breeds are gradients, which means more pressure on the ankles and less pressure on the legs. This simple technique can help fight swelling and discomfort, and it can also reduce the risk of developing DVT (deep vein thrombosis), a type of clot that forms in a deep vein. The danger of DVT is that the clot can rupture, travel through your body, and block the flow of one of the arteries to your lungs, leading to a potentially fatal condition called a pulmonary embolism.
Whether you're at high risk for deep vein thrombosis or just feel a little sore and heavy in your legs, compression stockings may help.
The benefits of compression stockings
With a few exceptions, there's usually no harm in trying compression socks, but it's wise to consult your doctor before buying. You should not use them if you have nerve damage or other conditions affecting skin sensation in your legs, peripheral arterial disease, history of peripheral artery bypass grafts, skin infections on your feet or legs, exudative dermatitis, or fragile skin. Leg swelling, or pulmonary edema from congestive heart failure. Compression stockings are most likely to benefit you when:
You have recently had surgery or are on bed rest - inactivity increases your risk of DVT.
You are going on a long flight. You will be inactive and confined to a small space for hours, which increases the risk of blood clots. Studies have shown that people who wear compression stockings during air travel are less likely to develop DVT or leg swelling.
You have a blood clotting disorder that puts you at risk for DVT, or have a family history of DVT.
You have varicose veins or leg ulcers. Compression stockings do not cure these ailments, but they can combat the pain, swelling, and general discomfort that often accompanies them.
The fit of the compression socks is more important
It's not the length of time you wear the compression socks that will determine if you have any problems; it's more about whether the compression socks are right for you. If your compression socks fit, you can wear them for as long and as long as you want. If they are not installed properly, you may experience many problems, from pain and discomfort to numbness and circulation disturbance.
What types of problems can occur if you wear the wrong compression stockings?
If you don't wear the right compression socks, many problems can occur. Some of the issues you might encounter include:
Calluses and corns on the feet – if the compression stockings are too tight, calluses and corns can develop
- Lower extremity numbness and tingling
- Rash, extreme itching and skin irritation
- Sudden and unexplained joint pain, especially in the knee
- Weak circulation
- swollen legs, feet and toes
- Sudden cramps in feet, toes and legs
How to tell if you're not wearing the right compression stockings
It's not always easy to tell if you're wearing the right compression socks. However, if you experience any of the following, it may be a sign that your compression stockings may be too small, too large, too tight, or the wrong length:
Stockings are very difficult to put on - stockings should be tight, but you shouldn't have to struggle or pull them up to your legs
- Stockings are difficult to take off - compression stockings should be relatively easy to take off. However, they should not be so loose that they will slide off immediately.
- Stockings fall off the legs or wrap around the ankles
- Legs tend to swell when wearing compression stockings
- Pain - wearing compression stockings should not be painful