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What benefits can compression socks bring?

Compression Socks used by athletes

Compression socks are designed to apply pressure to your legs and feet. Commonly used by athletes, walking enthusiasts/hikers, and individuals with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or varicose veins, they can bring a lot of relief. They work by improving an individual’s blood flow and reducing any inflammation they may be experiencing, which can benefit their feet and legs if they’re likely to be putting them under pressure.

Compression socks predominantly improve circulation. They achieve this by graduating the compression they apply. The pressure you’ll feel from wearing them is typically highest at the ankle and it gradually decreases towards the knee. Such pressure helps the oxygen in your blood reach your feet and legs; this can help to reduce swelling and pain.

Compression socks are also effective at reducing the risk of blood clots, which can be a serious problem for individuals who are immobile for long periods of time. This includes those who may be bedridden, as well as people taking long-haul flights, which are themselves pressurised environments when the plane is in the air. By improving blood flow, this reduces the likelihood of blood clots forming. Blood clots are the main feature of the condition deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which can potentially be life-threatening.

With compression socks, anyone suffering from inflammation in their legs and feet can move around more easily and perform daily activities with less pain. Additionally, compression socks can help to prevent injuries by instilling support and effecting greater stability to your lower limbs.

Athletes often use compression socks as a way to improve performance and reduce the risk of injury. Better blood flow brings greater oxygen to the muscles, which can improve their endurance and speed up their recovery time. They can also help prevent injuries by reducing muscle fatigue and providing support to joints.

Woman putting on Compression Socks

Compression socks are also an effective solution for people who suffer from varicose veins. Varicose veins are caused by a breakdown of the valves in the veins, which can lead to the pooling of blood and swelling. The socks can reduce the sometimes unsightly appearance of varicose veins and alleviate their discomfort.

When choosing compression socks, it’s important to select the right level of pressure. Compression levels are measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). They range from mild (8-15 mmHg) to extra firm (30-40 mmHg). Mild compression is suitable for individuals who are on their feet for extended periods of time or those who are recovering from an injury. Medium compression (15-20 mmHg) is suitable for individuals with mild to moderate swelling or varicose veins. Firm compression (20-30 mmHg) is suitable for people with moderate to severe swelling for any reason. Extra firm compression (30-40 mmHg) is suitable for individuals with lots of swelling or severe varicose veins, as well as individuals who have had surgery on their veins.

As you may be wearing compression socks for a period of time, depending on the reason you need them, it’s worth going for higher-quality versions, so that they will continually apply the pressure you require.

If you’re unsure of the level of compression you need, or you’d like to chat over your concerns surrounding such items, just give us a call. Our Wombwell clinic can be reached on 01226 492412 and our Morley clinic via 0113 238 0330.


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