Learn About Compression Sock Benefits
- 13 September 2021
Tackle Lower Leg Issues with Supportive Gear
Compression sock benefits can be enjoyed by large segments of the population and be implemented to address an assortment of issues from simple fatigue to blood flow. You may have seen compression socks, or sleeves, used by high-level athletes in competition or for recovery, but their benefits extend far beyond those in the athletic realm.
For instance, compression socks are sometimes prescribed to those confined to a wheelchair in order to promote blood flow. Pregnant women can also use the relief provided by these garments to aid in reducing swelling in their lower extremities. Airplane passengers, or flight crews, on long or frequent flights can use compression socks to help increase circulation despite prolonged periods of sitting in tight quarters.
In fact, anyone who is on their feet all day at work may find relief from sore feet or leg fatigue with the addition of compression socks as part of their regular attire.
Even some diabetics (Type 1 and Type 2) may benefit from mild or moderate compression socks. However, in general, those with diabetes should instead opt for diabetic-specific socks to address lower leg or foot issues with circulation.
Compression sock benefits, or those provided by similar compression gear like stockings, can apply to many people. But how do compression socks work? What do the different compression levels mean? Let’s dig into those questions and more.
The Basics of Compression Socks
Compression socks, to put it simply, are tight-fitting yet stretchy socks that gently squeeze and apply pressure to your lower leg and foot. Compression sleeves are just the tube part, without the foot. The squeeze provided by compression socks is a bit more than typical footwear and the intent of that pressure is to promote better blood circulation in the legs.
The increased blood flow will help tired or taxed muscles relax, and also encourages blood to move back toward your heart to re-oxygenate. The pressure generated also increases the pressure in the tissues beneath the skin, which can reduce the excess leakage of fluid from the capillaries and increase the absorption of this tissue fluid by the capillaries and lymphatic vessels. If that sounds complicated, think of it this way: compression socks reduce swelling and help prevent swelling in the feet, ankles, and lower legs.
Compression socks are available over the counter, but can also be prescribed by your doctor. If they’re prescribed, your insurance may cover the cost.
Different Levels of Support
Compression socks come with varying levels of compression, or in different strengths. Compression levels are measured in mmHg on the label, which stands for millimeters of mercury, and indicates the level of pressure. The higher the number, the more compression you’ll receive. If there is a range of numbers, the higher number is the pressure at the foot while the lower number indicates the pressure at the top of the sock.
Here are the standard compression levels, and who might benefit from each:
- 8-15 mmHG: Very light compression for minor swelling, and good for extra support if you spend a lot of time on your feet.
- 15-20 mmHg: For minor and occasional swelling, this range is most recommended for preventing potential blood clots during long travel times. Also recommended during pregnancy to prevent edema.
- 20-30 mmHG: Provides relief for heavy aching and fatigued legs, and is recommended for those who typically have swelling by the end of the day.
- 30-40 mmHg: Use for severe swelling, and can also provide relief from severe varicose veins and swelling. Typically only found in medical supply stores.
- 40-50 mmHg: Extra firm, or max, compression. Should only be worn under a doctor’s supervision.
Two Types of Compression Socks
Compression sock benefits reside in two different types as well: graduated and anti-embolism stockings. As always, be sure to check with your healthcare provider with any questions you have about which type you should use.
Graduated compression socks are the more common type and are usually available as an over-the-counter purchase. While available in a range of compression tightness, these socks are all tightest around the ankle, getting looser the higher up the leg they go. Compression socks generally come in two lengths — knee-high and thigh-high — but full compression tights are growing more common with athletes.
Anti-embolism stockings are more specific in purpose. They’re designed to help maintain circulation, thus preventing blood clots, for bed-bound patients, particularly those confined to bed after surgery.
Five Ways Compression Socks Benefit You
The benefits of wearing compression socks on a regular or consistent basis center on the following attributes:
- Reduce soreness from standing or sitting for long periods
- Improve blood flow
- Reduce leg and foot swelling
- Help prevent spider and varicose veins
- Assists in the prevention of blood clot formation
Lakeview Pharmacy has Partnered with Sockwell For Compression Socks
We’ve partnered with Sockwell to provide high-quality compression socks for customers who could benefit from the support and rejuvenation properties they provide.
Lakeview Pharmacy offers compression socks for both men and women in two levels of comfort support: 15-20 mmHg and a more firm 20-30 mmHg. Healthcare providers receive 20% off all Sockwell products they purchase through Lakeview Pharmacy.
Sockwell is our preferred partner in this area because of the quality of their products, which includes graduated compression, a reinforced heel and toe area, mesh breather panels and flex zones, and availability in a wide array of colors and styles.
Sockwell’s Merino wool, sourced in America, is blended with Lambswool and Alpaca for the ultimate in performance fiber. The wool’s ability to naturally absorb and evaporate moisture will keep your feet and shoes dry and helps regulate the temperature around the foot to help prevent bacteria growth. All of which will help prevent blisters and control odor.
Explore Lakeview’s Selection of Specialty Products
Whether you’re interested in learning more about compression sock benefits or need supplements to complement your nutritional or medicinal needs, Lakeview Pharmacy has you covered with our line of specialty products.