You may have heard of compression socks before, and may vaguely associate them with keeping varicose veins or swelling at bay. What you might not know though is precisely how they work to protect the body. Can a piece of external clothing really work to change your internal chemistry? We'll look at what compression socks do, and how different people can use them to their benefit.
What Do Compression Socks Do?
Compression socks apply pressure to your calves and ankles to increase blood flow and decrease the odds of a blood clot. They can also relieve pain associated with swelling. Vein specialists tend to be huge proponents of these socks because better blood flow isn't just good for your lower extremities — it's good for your whole body. As blood is stimulated up and away from your legs, it's less likely to pool toward the bottom and cause a clot.
Note that not everyone will need the same amount of compression. Those with aching legs or minor swelling will only need mild compression, while someone with severe varicose veins will need more moderate compression. Those who are managing ulcers or facing post-thrombotic syndrome will need the firmest degree of pressure.
How Fast Do Compression Socks Work?
The answer really does run the gamut, depending on everything from your condition to your body chemistry. The general answer though is that if you suffer from swelling, it might take several days of use before you see any kind of noticeable reduction.
Because your limbs are less swollen in the morning, experts recommend putting compression socks on first thing. The socks and the body should work in tandem with one another to keep the swelling down the whole day through. If you're hoping for less prominent veins, it could take up to 6 weeks of use before you see a difference.
Compression Socks and Nurses
Nursing is both demanding and dynamic, and often requires long shifts where you're never off your feet. Leg and foot fatigue is nearly universal amongst nurses, regardless of whether the nurse is in a hospital or a nursing home.
While other professionals may stand for a good portion of the day, nurses tend to work more 12-hour shifts, which makes them more susceptible to circulation issues. When the veins have to work that hard and that long to pump against gravity, it can take its toll. Compression socks help to reverse the effects of oxidative stress in the lower limbs which may help nurses avoid anything from plaque in their arteries to cancer.
Compression Socks for Travelers
We usually think of travelers as on-the-go, but the truth is that they spend a lot of time sitting on buses, planes, and trains. Getting up and stretching periodically helps, but even when you take those measures, it can still dangerous to be immobile for long stretches of time. The most common problem associated with long flights is deep vein thrombosis, or a clot formation buried deep in the leg. Compression socks can reduce the possibility of this occurrence.
Compression Socks and Everyday Professionals
Similar to the traveler, many of us spend our lives at a desk. And while we know we should use our breaks for a brisk walk, it's not always easy to work up the motivation. Whether it's someone flying across the ocean or an office worker, we can't stress how important it is to move around and shift whenever possible. When you can't though, compression socks are there to support you. They can be particularly valuable when you're up against a deadline or in the zone on a project.
Compression Socks and Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis affects the heel of the foot and can cause serious pain to the affected party. Compression socks put pressure along the arch to give you a little stretch through that all-important band of tissue. It should make it a little easier for those with plantar fasciitis to stand up after sitting while reducing pain when on their feet. It can also give you more arch support when you're not wearing shoes.
Performance Meets Functionality
Compression socks are not all created equal, and it can often be difficult to find the right level of compression for you. Talking to your doctor can help, and so can finding the right company to support you. Pedestal Footwear prioritizes both form and function, ensuring that each pair of compression socks benefits the person who wears them.