Top 10 Reasons to Wear Compression Socks
No matter your age or interests, the health of your legs has a huge impact on your day. Muscle strains can slow anyone down and poor circulation can lead to some pretty serious health issues. While everyone faces different challenges when it comes to fitness, compression socks offer solutions for all kinds of ailments. Here are the top 10 reasons you should have at least one pair of compression socks in your dresser.
1. Reduce Soreness and Cramping in the Legs and Feet
At the end of a long day, your feet are sore and your legs feel like jelly. Some days you have time to soak in the tub and recover, other days you have to go straight to cooking dinner, picking up the kids, and every other piece of adulting that keeps you from tending to your aching extremities.
As nice as a bath sounds, you don’t need to spend an hour in the tub to help your legs and feet feel better. Compression socks offer a similar treatment, getting the blood flowing so oxygen can work on helping those muscles repair. Improved circulation is the quickest way to get back on track.
For people who are on their feet all day, compression socks can fend off soreness before it even starts. Nurses, bartenders, teachers, dentists, flight attendants, and everyone else who spends most of the workday standing will benefit from consistent compression while they go about their business. If the blood keeps moving, it’s a lot easier for you to keep moving as well.
2. Improve Athletic Performance
High-endurance activities put a lot of strain on your muscles. As the workout progresses, tearing muscle fibers use oxygen for fuel and leave little deposits of lactic acid in their path. The buildup of this acid causes that post-workout pain that you’ve come to know so well.
By using compression socks, you improve circulation, increase blood flow, and keep that lactic acid from settling in and causing discomfort. As more fluid moves through and deals with the lactose, you also get a fresh round of oxygenated blood for those hungry, overworked muscles. Those professional athletes you see wearing compression gear? It’s not just for style (even though they are pretty stylish).
3. Reduce Swelling and Edema
When your circulation gets hampered for any reason, fluids start to pool in the feet and ankles, resulting in uncomfortable swelling. Almost all pregnant women deal with edema because their bodies retain lots of extra fluid as the baby develops. Whatever the cause of your swollen feet, compression socks support healthy blood flow and greatly reduce that uncomfortable buildup.
For years, bedridden patients and those dealing with swollen legs related to other health issues would be directed by doctors to wear compression stockings. That created a lasting stigma that’s finally being shaken as more and more people in good health use compression socks to relieve swelling and stay active. Instead of waiting for the doctor’s orders, go get your own socks and take care of your body.
4. Decrease Risk of Blood Clot and Deep Vein Thrombosis
When people sit for prolonged periods, the likelihood of developing blood clots in the lower legs goes way up. Long flights increase the risk even more, making the threat of dangerous conditions such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism very real.
Most people have to sit in front of a computer for work, and you can’t very well ask the pilot to go faster on your trip across the country. When you have no choice but to sit, compression socks step in and do the moving for you. Graduated compression keeps blood from pooling in the lower limbs while you enjoy a movie at 30,000 feet or spend eight hours pouring over excel sheets. The improved circulation fights clotting and helps you avoid the pins and needles feeling you get after too many hours in a chair.
For those previously diagnosed with DVT, compression socks provide excellent treatment and preventative care. The steadied circulation helps to prevent serious issues while also treating the more immediate swelling and pain caused by thrombosis.
5. Prevent Varicose and Spider Veins
For the most part, varicose veins aren’t dangerous. They’re mostly viewed as an unavoidable sign of aging and side effect of pregnancy. However, common as they are, these issues can be avoided in a lot of cases.
Varicose veins pop up when poor circulation keeps blood from flowing back to the heart. As the stagnant fluid pools in the veins, they become enlarged and turn into those familiar raised lines. It’s not a matter of your veins being too big for your legs; it’s just a matter of making sure you keep the blood flowing so your veins don’t have to grow to accommodate the buildup. Not surprisingly, compression makes a huge difference when it comes to dealing with these types of vein issues.
While varicose veins are typically experienced by aging adults, the younger generation isn’t in the clear. And while they’re usually harmless, engorged veins can leak and cause the surrounding tissue to swell. In some cases, damaged veins can lead to thrombosis. Compression and circulation help with both the cosmetic issue and the underlying health risks, offering an excellent aid for varicose sufferers young and old.
6. Increase Muscular Stability
While blood flow helps muscles do their job, your calves have a lot more going on than whatever the veins are up to. The impact of each step during your walk or jog causes muscles to oscillate and that repetitive vibration is a big part of the reason your legs start to wear out.
By applying compression to the muscles, lateral movement goes down and your legs don’t have to work quite as hard. This makes a particularly noticeable difference for people who run on pavement. The combination of reduced movement and increased blood flow will have your legs feeling fresher and your workouts lasting longer.
7. Speed Up Recovery Time
If you’re going to work out, you have to plan on at least a little bit of pain. After all, muscles have to tear in order to get stronger, so a certain level of injury is a given. However, there are a lot of inconvenient pains and pressures that get in the way of your exercise routine, and those can be avoided or alleviated with the use of compression socks. A few common names on the list of injuries compression can help with:
Plantar Fasciitis affects athletes and anyone who spends a lot of the day up and about. When the plantar tendon is overworked, you feel a sharp pain with almost every step. Because the cause of the fasciitis is inflammation, compression socks can combat the condition by improving circulation and drawing more blood to the inflamed area.
Almost every runner has dealt with or knows of shin splints. The condition is characterized by swelling and inflammation in the inner calf muscle along the tibia, often as a result of the cumulative stress from your workout. Compression socks help by both reducing swelling and also by stabilizing and supporting the calf and shin muscles.
Calf Strain or Sprain
It doesn’t take much more than an awkward step or a quick jump to strain your calf. Once sprained or strained, your body will keep sending fluids toward the injured area until the tearing has healed. While the healing is good, the associated swelling and tenderness won’t make your leg feel too hot. Compression clears out deoxygenated blood quickly and replaces it with a fresh batch, limiting the swelling and making the healing process go much more quickly.
Ankle Sprain or Strain
Unlike a calf injury, an ankle sprain makes it much more difficult to bear weight. This leaves you stuck in bed or a reclining chair, which means you’re waiting for the swelling to go down while actively decreasing circulation. Compression socks help blood move as it would if you were able to stand and walk, speeding your recovery along without forcing you to actually move and potentially reinjure yourself.
8. Prevent Injuries
As nice as it is to recover quickly from an injury, it’s infinitely better to not get hurt in the first place. Compression socks work just as well - if not better - when used as preventative care.
A significant number of injuries happen when the body gets fatigued, with muscles straining after a little too much use. A compression sock or sleeve helps reduce extraneous muscle movement, adding a bit of control that might be lacking when you’re on mile 10 of a race.
Chronic inflammation also leads to unfortunate injuries, as excessive swelling causes tissues and joints to operate improperly. Flushing out fluids will keep things moving and working properly. This improved circulation provides the best preventative care, which is keeping a steady flow of blood and oxygen to your muscles, allowing them to perform at a high level without getting overworked too quickly.
9. Treatment for Chronic Conditions
As injuries build up and bodies wear down, chronic conditions develop. All too often, people accept these aches and pains as the reality of aging, when just a little bit of TLC - by way of a comfortable pair of compression socks - can turn things around and put you back on the path of good health.
Many lasting conditions relate to valves not properly moving blood from the extremities back to the heart. These conditions lead to swelling and occasionally ulcers, both issues people are willing to deal with but would rather live without. Compression improves circulatory function to the point that blood will stop pooling in the legs, moving all the way back to the heart to get recycled and properly used.
People who suffer from chronic clotting tend to alter their lifestyles to reduce the risk of a clot. With how dangerous detached clots can be, it’s important to take every precaution. Since compression socks increase circulation throughout a signification portion of your body, just wearing them greatly minimizes the likelihood of a clot.
Regular use of compression stockings has helped people avoid surgeries and resume active lifestyles. If you’ve been dealing with pain and letting it affect the way you live your life, compression socks might be the perfect solution.
10. Virtually No Downside
Unlike other devices, treatments, and programs, it’s hard to find a drawback with a good pair of compression socks. While wearing them might take a little while to get used to, as soon as you notice the improved circulation and reduced swelling, you start to appreciate the feeling pretty quickly.
The best way to avoid any trouble with your socks is to wear them properly. When they start to bunch up, either because they’re worn out or they weren’t pulled up the right way, then compression socks don’t work as they should and can have an adverse effect on circulation. It’s a pretty easy fix, though - just make sure to pull your socks up so they run smoothly over the leg.
You might expect more caveats for something so helpful, but there really are none. Compression socks are safe to wear and can help with a plethora of ailments. They also might up your style game, coming in a variety of colors and patterns. It’s rare for something to have so many pros and so few cons, but that’s the case with compression socks and exactly why you need to own a pair.