Compression socks & stockings use graduated compression to provide relief from the symptoms of medical conditions resulting from poor circulation. This includes conditions like lymphedema, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), varicose veins, ulceration and shin splints. Generally speaking, individuals with poor circulation in the legs will benefit from wearing these products.
Deep vein thrombosis is a medical condition caused by the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein. DVT usually occurs in the legs. It is a potentially life threatening condition, particularly if the blood clot breaks off and travels to the lungs. DVT is one of several medical conditions that can result from having poor blood circulation in the legs.
Graduated compression stockings are also sometimes referred to as anti embolism stockings.
Both the socks and stockings are specially manufactured snug fitting leg garments that gently squeeze the legs using graduated compression technology. Socks are knee high while stockings can be purchased in knee high, thigh high and panty hose designs. Panty hose designs cover the entire lower body from the waist down.
In addition to varying lengths, you can buy graduated compression stockings with different levels of compression.
Stockings with moderate compression usually have a 15-20 mmHg compression level. Those with medical grade graduated compression usually have 20-30 mmHg compression levels. These compression levels are explained in more detail below.
You can buy these stockings at any medical supply store. Many employer sponsored insurance plans provide coverage for them as part of the annual benefit allocation.
If your doctor prescribes compression stockings for you, you will probably be able to get partial insurance reimbursement for them. This may be the case even if your plan does not specifically mention them.
What Is Graduated Compression?
Graduated compression socks and stockings are designed to improve blood flow of individuals with poor blood circulation in the legs. This has multiple benefits in terms of relieving medical conditions such as the venous insufficiencies listed in the first paragraph above.
Graduated compression stockings apply the highest compression at the ankle, and then gradually reduce the compression level as one moves upward. They counter the effects of gravity by forcing the blood up through the veins and back to the heart.
This in turn helps to counter pooling of blood in the legs and leg swelling. These are conditions suffered by people with poor blood circulation.
Socks & stockings with moderate graduated compression of 15-20 mmHg will apply 20 mmHg of compression at ankle level. The compression level gradually decreases until it is 15 mmHg at the knee.
Socks & stockings with medical grade compression apply 20-30 mmHg of compression. This means the compression level is 30 mmHG at ankle level and gradually decreases to 20 mmHG at knee height.
Graduated compression therefore improves circulation of blood and other lymphatic fluids through the body. It has become a standard feature of modern compression socks and stockings.
However, the graduated compression benefits of compression socks & stockings are not only for individuals with compromised blood circulation. Athletes and physically active individuals will experience improved energy levels and quicker recovery times from training or competition.
What Are The Other Benefits Of Wearing Compression Socks & Stockings?
The compression applied to the legs by these socks and stockings also reduces muscle vibration. This mitigates the risk of damage to muscles and associated structures, particularly during physically intense activity.
Other associated benefits of compression socks & stockings include reduced pain and swelling.
Finally, compression also improves the body’s ability to supply nutrients to damaged tissues. As a result, it shortens the time required to return to full health after injury.
Who Can Benefit From Wearing Compression Socks & Stockings?
Many types of workers wear compression stockings and socks to gain relief from the demands of their jobs. Most of the individuals have jobs that require them to spend long hours on their feet. Examples include bus conductors, air hostesses, teachers, waitresses and traffic wardens.
Many of these workers end the day with aching legs due to the long hours spent standing up. Compression stockings and socks help to maintain a constant supply of fresh blood and oxygen to the legs. This helps them stay fresh and energized for longer periods. The end result is a less achy, tired and swollen pair of legs at the end of each day.