Compression socks have been around since the 1950s. They were created by Conrad Jobset: an engineer seeking a cure for his varicose veins. Compression socks have come a long way since then and have many more uses than their original purpose. Of course, compression socks or stockings can still be used to treat varicose veins, but what else can they do?

Compression socks are knee-high socks designed to offer pressure to the vessels of your lower limbs. They can help treat lymphedema, varicose veins, and other lower-leg conditions.

It might surprise you to find out that even those who don't have diabetes or vascular diseases can still benefit from them! 

athlete wearing compression socks

What Are Compression Socks?

Compression socks are made to fight tightly and have just the right amount of stretch to remain breathable while still gently squeezing your leg. This snug fit allows the compression stocking to work its magic! Compression sleeves are also available and serve the same purpose. The sleeves fit over your calves, leaving out your foot and ankle.

How Do Compression Socks Work?

Compression socks help increase blood flow to your feet and legs by offering pressure to the vessels of your lower limbs. Because the arteries, which are the vessels responsible for taking blood away from the heart and distributing it around the body, can relax, your heart doesn't have to work as hard to deliver oxygenated blood to the legs, calves, and feet. They are probably most well-known for helping to get rid of or prevent varicose veins. 

Do I need Compression Socks?

Diabetes

Compression socks are a must-have addition to your diabetes management toolkit! They can help if you have poor circulation and neurological issues. Compression socks improve nerve sensitivity if you suffer from nerve damage or neuropathy. Because compression socks help hinder excess swelling and inflammation, utilizing them can decrease swelling and, therefore, lessen the risk of infection.

Vascular Conditions

Diseases of the veins and arteries can also be aided by the use of compression socks. These socks, sleeves, or stockings help to improve the blood flow to your legs. Wearing properly-fitted compression socks can lessen the risk of blood clots. If you live a more sedentary life or have a job where you are seated for long periods of time, consider trying out a pair of compression socks! Doing so will reduce your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and avoid swelling that can become common if you are seated for extended lengths of time. 

Athletes and Runnersrunners

If you lead an active lifestyle, needless to say, you are probably used to dealing with aches and pains. Compression socks have been shown in some cases to help runners and other athletes reduce swelling and muscle fatigue and improve recovery. You don't need a prescription for compression socks, and we encourage you to explore all the wonderful options available online. Coordinating your cool, patterned compression socks with your running shoes is optional, but in the words of Matthew McConaughey: It'd be a lot cooler if you did.

Compression socks were previously only available in shades of beige and white; however, they are now available in a multitude of colors! The well-known sock brand Bombas offers a great variety of compression strength and patterns! 

Sedentary Lifestyles and Post-Surgical Patients

Those who work in positions that require long periods of sitting may be more prone to lymphedema and swelling of the lower extremities. If this sounds like you, consider picking up a pair of compression socks. It's also important to try standing up at least once every hour to avoid numbness and discomfort of the feet, ankles, and legs. If you're recovering from surgery, talk to your care team about using compression socks during the recovery process to avoid blood clots.

Types of Compression Socks

By choosing from a variety of compression levels, you can tailor the effectiveness of the socks to your specific needs. Use the chart below to figure out which level of compression is right for you.

Compare the available compression levels.
Compression Level Who Should Use Them?
15-20 mmHg
  • Athletes
  • Runners
  • Those who lead active lifestyles

If you always get hit your step goal, this is the level for you.

20-30 mmHg
  • Post-surgical patients
  • Those with varicose veins
  • Sports recovery

This level is ideal for general, daily wear.

30-44 mmHg
  • Those prone to blood clots (DVT)
  • Patient with severe swelling
  • More severe cases of varicose veins

If you're concerned about your vascular health, this level will likely be recommended by your doctor.

All in all, wearing compression socks daily has been shown to produce great benefits! If you have diabetes or vascular issues, it is important to consult with your doctor before changing up any part of the maintenance of your condition. We can help! Give us a call at 989-695-6788 with any questions you might have relating to the health of your feet, and we will be happy to answer them. You can also fill out our handy online contact form.

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