Why You Need Compression Socks
Posted by EcoSox on May 8th 2023
You may think of socks and assume they simply keep your feet warm and comfortable. However, there are specialized socks that go beyond comfort. Compression socks are specialized socks designed for compression therapy. They help promote healthy blood circulation from your legs to your heart by applying gentle pressure.
The benefits of compression socks for women and men range from overall health benefits to support for specific conditions. EcoSox bamboo compression socks offer the advantages of these socks combined with the superior quality of bamboo materials, but before getting into these advantages, let’s go over some of the basics.
Basics of Compression Socks
Saying that compression socks are specially designed to apply gentle pressure to the legs is a very basic description. The pressure these socks apply supports healthy, functioning blood vessels in your legs. They increase blood flow by allowing the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to your muscles to relax and boosting veins by pushing blood towards your heart. Better blood circulation promotes various improvements, from reducing the chance of blood pooling in your veins (and clotting) to pain and swelling relief to preventing serious medical conditions.
Compression socks range in support with values identifying the level of pressure in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The standard levels include:
- Low: <18 mmHg (over the counter)
- Medium: 19-23 mmHg (over the counter / medical class 1)
- Moderate to High: 24-32 mmHg (over the counter / medical class 2)
- Firm: 34-50 mmHg (medical class 3 / prescription only)
The Types of Compression Socks
There are different types of compression socks for men and women that function differently, with three main types including graduated compression socks, anti-embolism socks, and nonmedical support hosiery. The pressure each applies can vary in strength and location. Some can be found in stores or online retailers while others require a doctor’s prescription.
- Graduated compression socks: The most common type, offering the strongest compression at the ankle, gradually decreasing as it goes up to the knee.
- Anti-embolism socks: Also called thrombo-embolic deterrent (TED) socks, they are designed for people that have to stay in bed because of surgery or health conditions and need increased circulation to prevent swelling and blood clots.
- Nonmedical support hosiery: This type offers uniform compression and comes in lower pressure levels.
Benefits of Compression Socks
Although there are various types of compression socks that offer different levels of pressure, they offer the same main benefits. Whether you’re looking for compression socks for men or women, a wide range of people benefit from these socks. The people who use them range from the elderly to those with serious health conditions, wheelchair-bound or bedridden people, pregnant women, those sitting or standing all day, and even athletes. The collective benefits of compression socks come from the increased blood circulation and include the following.
Relief for Excessive Sitting or Standing
Whether you sit at a desk all day or are constantly on your feet, gravity causes blood to pool in your legs and feet. The boost that blood circulation gets from compression socks helps prevent it from being trapped in the legs. This provides much-needed relief and, when worn early on, acts as a preventative measure for fatigue and varicose veins.
Reduced Swelling & Fluid Retention
Improving circulation is vital for reducing or preventing swelling and fluid retention (edema) in the legs. Those with edema can prevent symptoms by putting compression socks on before getting out of bed. The gentle squeeze these socks provide increases the pressure in tissues under the skin. This reduces fluid buildup from leaky veins. This fluid causes swelling and inflammation. With compression socks, that fluid is decreased and blood flow is increased, effectively reducing swelling.
Help With Vein Health
Compression socks significantly benefit venous insufficiencies, which are responsible for reduced blood flow and can happen with age or be caused by medical conditions. Poorly functioning veins can’t send blood from your extremities back to your heart, resulting in the blood pooling up in the veins. The excess blood enlarges the veins, further damaging and weakening them, leading to varicose veins.
Deep vein thrombosis is another condition compression socks help treat. With DVT, dangerous blood clots form in veins. This often affects the lower legs or thighs and causes swelling and discomfort. Compression socks' ability to decrease swelling and improve circulation makes them vital for treating varicose veins and DVT.
Relief for Medical Conditions
Besides venous insufficiency, compression socks help provide relief for various other conditions. Chronic edema, POTS, dysautonomia, orthostatic hypotension, and pregnancy are just a few of the conditions that these socks benefit by improving blood circulation. For example, pregnancy causes increased blood volume and pressure, which can restrict blood flow, resulting in swelling, discomfort, fatigue, and varicose veins. Compression socks for women who are expecting can be a lifesaver for comfort and relief.
Enhanced Athletic Performance
Athletes are very familiar with the benefits of compression socks in their performance. These socks reduce the stress on the muscles caused by a hard workout and support recovery afterward by preventing lactic acid buildup. Exercises and competitions take a lot out of the body, but with improved oxygen-rich blood flow, you can reduce muscle fatigue. You can enhance your athletic performance with less discomfort.
How to Pick the Right Compression Socks
People wear compression socks for different reasons, including for comfort, athletic support, athletic recovery, and medical conditions. Since they come in various sizes and strengths, it’s important to determine what type of support you need to pick the right ones. Compression socks for women and men vary in length from over the calf, knee-high,thigh-high and up to waist-high tights. The ideal fit is snug and not painfully tight, but the right compression level depends on the type of condition you have. The more serious the condition, the more compression you need.
Low-pressure compression socks are ideal for those with desk jobs, standing for long periods, or on an upcoming flight. Medium or moderate to high compression socks are best for those with DVT, varicose veins, or swelling and pain. The more severe the swelling or pain is, determines if medium or moderate is more appropriate. Firm compression socks are recommended for the most severe vein problems or blood clots.
Experience Sustainable Relief
If you’re looking for compression socks for women and men, look no further than EcoSox bamboo compression socks. These socks are perfect for recovering from workouts or making it through the workday. They extend over the calf (OTC) and offer mild graduated pressure (8-15 mmHg), improving circulation and reducing foot fatigue and swelling.
Manufactured with sustainable bamboo viscose, these socks provide the ultimate comfort and relief. The natural fibers are silky smooth and wick away moisture, keeping your feet dry and comfortable. Make your feet smile with a pair of EcoSox compression socks!