Beginner’s Guide to Compression Socks: What They Are and Why You Need Them

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Helping the body's circulatory system fight the downward forces of gravity, compression socks are extremely beneficial for all sorts of people from pilots and flight attendants, to runners and those who are diabetic - and for good reason. Compression therapy is a common form of maintenance and recovery for many different injuries and conditions because it effectively increases blood flow. If you’re new to the world of compression therapy, below is a crash course in compression socks and how they can benefit your specific needs.

What Are Compression Socks?
Compression socks aren’t your ordinary ankle or knee-high socks that you can pick up from the store. Rather, compression socks are tightest around the ankles and become less constrictive as they head towards the knee. Compression socks and stockings are best known to stimulate blood flow in the legs and feet, but how does this actually work? Since your legs and feet are at the bottom of your body and because of the natural force of gravity, the blood in your veins in your feet have to work extra hard to travel back up to the heart. Poor circulation or other medical conditions can cause your blood to pool, which leads to varicose veins, foot and leg swelling, fatigue, and pain - among other things, to say the least. Compression socks relieve these issues because they are designed to squeeze the foot and leg tissues enough to improve blood flow to the heart and limit tissue swelling. With how simple and beneficial they are, compression socks can be used for almost any situation.

Compression Socks Help Manage Medical Conditions
Many medical conditions can cause swelling and discomfort in the legs and feet. Circulation problems lead to issues with blood flow, and some people are more prone to leg swelling in general. If you’re suffering from foot conditions like plantar fasciitis, compression socks for plantar fasciitis promote circulation for faster healing and provide a bit of additional heel and Achilles support. For those who are at risk of developing leg ulcers or clotting disorders like deep vein thrombosis, compression socks can limit the amount of swelling that occurs, as well as lessen the chance of clotting, preventing the presence of more serious health issues.

Compression Socks Are a New Running Accessory
Have you ever driven down the street and seen runners wearing bright and colorful knee-high socks? As stylish as these socks may be, these runners aren’t trying to start a new clothing trend. Instead, runners have found that women’s running compression socks and men’s running compression socks can actually help when training for a marathon or race. During long runs, the socks provide extra comfort and help reduce lactate concentration in the legs. After training runs and races, compression socks circulate the blood, reduce the amount of soreness, and help runners recover faster.

Compression Socks Are Often Used Post-Surgery
Compression socks are oftentimes recommended as a recovery tool after surgery. While some surgical procedures are quick, in and out experiences, other surgeries require you to be off your feet for long periods of time. Doctors recommend compression socks and sleeves for people who won’t be able to stand and move around freely for days or weeks after surgery because they keep blood flow in the legs going and reduce the risk of blood clots.

Compression Socks Are a Must-Have for Frequent Flyers
You may not think about it, but sitting or lying around for extended periods of time without giving your legs exercise can cause blood clots and weaken the health of your legs and feet overall. For pilots, flight attendants, and anyone who has to fly frequently, compression socks provide that stimulation and circulation their legs are missing by sitting in a plane day in and day out.

Compression Socks Can Provide Overall Comfort
So, what if you’re not a runner, a pilot or flight attendant, and don’t have any medical conditions or surgeries? Do you really need compression socks? The great thing about compression socks is the average person can use them without having a medical or occupational need for them. If you’ve been on your feet all day and your legs are tired and worn out, compression socks are a good way to recover from your long day!