Do Compression Socks Work? – Questions About Graduated Compression

April 18, 2016 - Comment

There are plenty of frequently asked questions about graduated compression. But the number one question always seems to be…… Do compression socks work? Work for what, is the first question that comes to my mind? Are you looking for relief from swollen ankles and feet? Are you looking for an edge in athletic performance and quicker muscle recovery after a

There are plenty of frequently asked questions about graduated compression. But the number one question always seems to be…… Do compression socks work?

Work for what, is the first question that comes to my mind?

  • Are you looking for relief from swollen ankles and feet?
  • Are you looking for an edge in athletic performance and quicker muscle recovery after a workout?
  • Are you looking for compression socks or stockings for arthritis or diabetes?
  • Do you need a fix for tired achy legs?
  • Are you suffering from DVT?
  • Are you looking to get rid of unsightly varicose or spider veins?
  • Are you looking for an aid to ease some discomfort during pregnancy?

The large number of questions related to the use of compression socks, stockings, sleeves and other garments is possibly a testament to the value of graduated compression and its effectiveness.

Compression socks for health is a website that was created to not only offer compression products, but to spread the word and put information together about the positive effects that can be achieved by using them. Compression socks are just one way that products can be used to benefit the body with graduated compression therapy. Compression has been used for years in the medical world for all parts of the body as a way to heal the body through its major benefit of improved blood flow and circulation.

Here is some information about compression socks and products that will hopefully answer some of the frequently asked questions.

What is graduated compression?

Graduated compression is a therapy that uses garments such as socks, bandages, stockings and sleeves to help boost blood flow and circulation in the veins. It is a technology that is woven into the garments fabric. The amount of compression is measured in mmHg where the lower number means less pressure. The reason for the use of compression products will determine the sock or product that is right for your needs.

A mild compression level would be in the 15 to 30 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) level and have such uses as relief from mild ankle and foot swelling, tired and achy legs, pregnancy and to improve circulation during long periods of sitting or standing. This is the level of most compression products that are widely available for athletics and everyday use.

The next level would be from 30 to 40 mmHg and these products would be used for chronic venous insufficiency, varicose veins, venous ulcers and DVT. Compression garments at the highest level would be 40 to 50 mmHg. They are usually prescribed by your doctor for after surgery and for more serious medical conditions like Lymphoedema.

Graduated compression works in these products because they are scientifically designed to apply the most pressure at the bottom of the sock near the ankle.The amount of pressure will gradually decrease as the sock goes up the leg towards the heart. This controlled pressure will increase circulation in the leg veins by pumping blood more efficiently upwards to the heart. Healthier legs and feet and a relief from swelling (as well as other health benefits,) will occur due to oxygen and nutrients being more efficiently distributed throughout the body.

Graduated compression therapy is not just for the legs. If you watch a professional basketball game or attend a long distance race, you will notice the use of compression sleeves on the arms. They are said to give athletes a boost in performance by cutting down on arm fatigue during activity. For Lymphoedema, an arm compression sleeve is sometimes suggested, and the compression works in the same way as compression socks, to increase blood flow and improve circulation. The pressure of the sleeve is greatest at the wrist and decreases as the fabric travels up the arm towards the heart.

Relief from swollen ankles and feet

Swelling in the ankles and feet is a common problem that we will all experience at some point in our lives. There are many causes and forms of swollen ankles and feet including the obvious strains and sprains from injury. Swelling can occur as a result of pregnancy, edema, blood clots,and lymphedema, as well as more serious diseases of the heart and liver.

Swelling is a symptom of something, and in most cases it has resulted from a cause that is not a serious medical condition. However, if you can not easily pinpoint the cause of swelling, it is advisable to be diagnosed by a  healthcare professional.

Gradient compression socks and stockings can make your feet and legs just feel better.Swollen feet and ankles along with tired achy legs can happen from simple things like standing too long or even sitting too long on a flight. This is a simple, effective and affordable way to get some relief.

Swelling is an increase in fluid buildup and in the majority of cases the use of compression socks or stockings can help. Not only will the graduated compression help with fluid circulation, but the tightness and warmth of the fabric can help speed up recovery and keep the area more comfortable.

Compression socks and athletic performance

You don’t need to be a professional athlete to get results from compression garments, but professionals do use them for a reason. They work! If compression stockings are used in the medical profession for health benefits, it only makes sense that they just might help the body during athletic activities.

It is believed by many that wearing  graduated compression socks and sleeves can give your performance a boost, or at least, aid in muscle recovery time. I am a long distance runner and I started using compression products a few years ago while training for a fifty mile endurance run. I became a believer right away. There was a noticeable improvement in  my leg muscle recovery time after the longer runs.

Effectiveness of techniques and products will vary from person to person and the only sure fire way to see if something works is to give it a try. In addition to my use of compression sleeves and socks for running, I wear a mild compression sock daily. I know that there are health benefits to be achieved with improved circulation and the way I figure it, I have to wear socks anyway, so why not make them count.

Here are some of the benefits that have been associated with compression products and athletics.

  • Aid and improve performance.
  • Prevent soft tissue damage such as shin splints.
  • Increase oxygen delivery and blood flow.
  • Improved balance with the added compression around the calves and ankles.
  • Increased endurance and slower muscle fatigue.
  • Faster recovery and reduced soreness after hard workouts.
  • Reduce jarring, stress and vibration to the muscles.

As with anything, nobody can definitively tell you that compression athletic gear will work for you personally. Give a pair of running compression socks a try. It’s an affordable piece of equipment that has the ability to aid you in a number of ways during any sporting activity.

Compression stockings and pregnancy

One of the unfortunate by-products of pregnancy is the ankle and feet swelling. This swelling is usually accompanied by its friend, tired and aching legs. The good news is that the use of compression garments can help. This is maternity wear with benefits. Graduated compression and the resulting improved circulation and blood flow can go a long way to energize tired aching legs and reduce ankle swelling during pregnancy.

Of course, it goes without saying that you should always consult your doctor before trying any treatment during pregnancy. But you just might be surprised at how many doctors do actually recommend compression products.

During pregnancy the extra weight on the legs and the pressure on the pelvis can hamper circulation in the leg veins. The veins close to the skin can bulge and the result is the dreaded varicose veins. Improving your circulation and blood flow can help to prevent varicose and spider veins.

Preggers Knee High Stockings

Rejuvenate and re-energise your legs during pregnancy with a mild 10 – 20 mmHg compression stocking.

The Benefits Of Graduated Compression

Graduated compression garments come in many styles, colors and names. Compression socks, stockings, hosiery and sleeves for legs and arms. Just name a body part and you can find a corresponding compression product for it. Why is that?

Well, it’s because graduated compression technology built right into these garments works for so many things. Here is a starter list:

  • Relief of tired and achy legs from sitting or being on your feet for extended periods of time.
  • Improved athletic performance and quicker muscle recovery.
  • Relief from swelling and pain during and after pregnancy.
  • Treatment for mild edema and prevention of varicose veins.
  • Prevention of blood pooling in the veins in the legs.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) management after surgery.
  • Prevention of (DVT) during long flights and travel.

Almost anybody can benefit from the use of compression socks and garments. You don’t need to have a medical ailment and you don’t need to be a professional athlete to experience the health benefits of gradient compression.

Improved circulation and blood flow from graduated compression therapy increases the body’s ability to transport nutrients and oxygen throughout the body for better health, strength and vitality. Who wouldn’t want that?

Compression socks for health.


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