What are compression stockings/socks?
Compression stockings and compression socks or commonly know as anti-emoblism stockings are designed to increase blood flow back up to the heart. It works by applying gentle pressure to your legs and ankles which helps to promote circulation back to your heart. They also help to reduce pain and swelling in your feet, ankles and legs.
The pressure in the stockings/socks works by helping the veins carry the blood back towards your heart through a pushing effect caused by the compression of the surrounding structures, this can help to decrease swelling, pain and blood clots from occurring.
Individuals wear compression stockings and socks for a wide range of reasons including, sport performance, medical reasons and to help prevent serious medical conditions ( blood clots)
Types of Compression stockings:
There are 3 different type of compression stockings/socks
- graduated compression stockings or also known as anti embolism stockings
- These are the most common compression stockings available. The graduated gradient compression works by delivering distributed compression to the calf and ankle. The degree of compression gradually decreases from the ankle to the knee. These are most commonly used for medical conditions such as venous disease and edema in the lower limb. This style of compression support is generally expressed in mmHg (millimeters of mercury) and has 4 levels of pressure.
- 15-20mmHg -usually over the counter – These are the two most popular ones here at Foot Centre Group.
- 20-30mmHg Medical Class 1
- 30-40mmHg Medical Class 2
- 40-50 mmHg Medical Class 3
The- FS6+ Foot sleeve and a knee high calf sleeve knee-high, lightly ribbed, graduated compression (15-20 mm/Hg) with non-binding tops. Every pair of FS6+ Foot and calf sleeve High Socks includes comfort support stitching in the heel and toe. Made with Micro-Cool Lycra microfibers for a soft, cool, comfortable and stretchy sock. Anti-microbial agent wicks away moisture and prevents bacteria and fungus within the fiber, leaving the skin cleaner and healthier. This compression stocking is common in treatment of Heel pain, Tendon pain and Muscle pain of the foot.
- Anti-embolism stockings
- As the name suggests this stockings are usually recommended for individuals who have previously had deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) or individuals who are immobile, clients suffering from venous insufficiency and post-operative for the management of oedema or when travelling. This stocking is 15mmHG in compression.
- Non medical compression stockings
- These stockings are not used to treat high risk medical conditions as they provide a mild, grade 1 level of compression which is ideal for tired aching feet and legs, mild swelling and small varicosities and when participating in sport to help muscle recovery.
Who are compression stockings suitable for?
Compression stockings/socks are recommended for individuals who are:
- At risk of Deep vein thrombosis (DVT or commonly known as Blood clots), varicose veins or diabetes or other circulatory issues.
- Those have had surgery and are advised to rest
- Who have reduced mobility, issues moving their legs or are on bed rest.
- standing all day at work
- Athletes who want to reduce their Delayed muscle soreness and increase oxygen uptake for better performance and recovery.
- When flying or in a sedentary position for long hours at a time.
Who can not wear compression stockings?
While compression stocking helps to improve blood flow back up towards the heart there are a few contraindications on who should use them, before self prescribing always talk to your doctor or podiatrist who will take a full medical history to ensure they are right for you. You should not prescribe or buy compression stockings if you have any of the following conditions:
- Peripheral Vascular Disease as the pressure provided by compression socks may make ischemic disease worse and cause further complications
- Cardiac failure
- Severe leg oedema
- Unusual leg size/shape that may cause it to be fitted incorrectly
- Individuals who have had a recent skin graph
What precautions need to be taken when wearing compression stockings?
When wearing compression stockings it is recommended that we ensure they are worn correctly to prevent any adverse events from occurring. Typically there is no right and left foot. When wearing compression stocking or socks it is important to not allow your stockings to roll down as this can cause constriction and blockage of blood flow and cause complications. Other important precautions that need to be taken are not to turn down the top of your stocking, do not cover any portion of the knee with calf length compression stockings/ socks and ensure there is no bulging of skin over the end of the compression stocking/ sock. It is also important to not wear your compression stockings to bed at night.
What do compression stockings feel like?
When putting on compression socks/ stockings it is important that they are not too loose or not too tight. Compressions should be hard to put on but not impossible to get on. Once on they should feel firm, but not cutting off blood flow. It is important when ordering, to measure properly to ensure the right size.
We have included some recommendations on how to put them on below.
- Insert hand into stocking as far as the heel pocket.
- Grasp center of heel pocket and turn stocking inside out to heel area.
- Carefully position stocking over foot and heel. Ensure the heel is centered in the heel pocket.
- Start pulling the stocking up around the ankle and calf, once fully up it should fall between one to two inches below the bend of the knee.
If you would like any more information please contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions.