Today’s sedentary lifestyle has given birth to many health problems. People who spend most of their time in sitting or standing position suffer from several leg problems such as swelling, aching, varicose veins, post-thrombotic syndrome, lymphedema, healed venous ulcer, venous insufficiency etc. Compression stockings can help with all these problems. These stockings are also worn by sports persons during running or other workouts.
What are compression stockings?
Compression stockings are specially designed stockings that help with various leg ailments that are resultant of sedentary lifestyle or other venous disorders. Just like normal stockings, these are worn around the legs, the difference is they compress limbs, improving blood circulation. It greatly helps in swollen legs. Formation of blood clots in lower legs is effectively controlled using these stockings. Hence, these are very effective in treating ulcers of the lower legs. The fabric used for making compression stockings is usually hosiery.
How do compression stockings work?
Compression stockings support natural pump mechanism of leg muscles while the wearer walks or exercise. It greatly helps improve blood flow back towards the heart. These are also known as graduated compression stockings as they exert maximum pressure on ankles reducing while going up the legs.
How long should one wear compression stockings?
To get maximum benefit from compression stockings it is important to wear them the whole day. However, you should take them off while sleeping. You should daily wash your legs properly and keep checking your skin. Apply a good moisturizer on your legs daily after washing your legs after taking off the compression stockings as skin is likely to get dry while wearing them. You need to check following things:
- Broken skin
- Skin color changing to purple
- Tingling or numbness
- Sore marks or pinching of skin at top of stockings
If you experience any of the above symptoms, you need to stop using compression stockings and consult some doctor.
How to wear compression stockings?
People having physical limitations may find it difficult to put on compression stockings, for example, people having less muscle power and restricted movement range. It is difficult for such people to bend forward or lift their leg. A lot of stretching is required to wear compression stockings and people with reduced muscle strength in hands may find it very difficult. Hence, such users who cannot wear and take off them independently may have to wear them for a prolonged period of time or they will need the assistance of a nurse or family members every time. There are stocking aids or support hosiery applications available that help such people wear and take off compression stockings independently.
The benefits of wearing compression stockings
It will be wrong to link compression stockings with only medical conditions. Rather, there are many benefits of wearing compression stockings. These stockings are now available in various styles, colors and fabrics and are getting popular among people. These stockings help improve blood circulation, boosting energy levels and help reduce soreness, swelling and tiredness of the lower body. Following are some benefits of using compression stockings:
- These stockings are extremely helpful for people who are frequently on long trips either by plane or by car. They help reduce the risk of economy class syndrome. It is a condition where there is an increased risk of blood clot formation due to sitting in the same position for long duration’s. In addition, improved blood circulation helps lessen body fatigue and post travel soreness.
- Compression stockings are helpful for people whose job requires them to sit or stand for prolonged period of time. Their graduated pressure provides relief to sore, tired and achy lower legs. However, one must consult doctor about the maximum length of time for which he/she can wear compression stockings. Wearing them more than recommended times can actually worsen the condition rather than providing help.
- Compression stockings are getting extremely popular with sports people. They prefer wearing them during workouts, training sessions as well as recovery. These stockings are made up of high quality tech fibers to provide support for ankles, feet legs and calves. At the same time graduated pressure helps improve blood circulation. It helps in better performance during long workouts and supports faster recovery as well. Compression stockings especially designed for sports people also have padded foot soles to provide additional comfort to the wearer. They are made up of extra breathable fibers supporting moisture and heat management.
- Compression stockings are also helpful for pregnant women. It helps in the prevention of varicose veins during pregnancy. These help pregnant women to deal with hazards that come with extra pressure on the circulatory system of expectant mother. During pregnancy, a woman generally faces swelling, achiness and leg cramps. Compression stockings help ease such conditions.
Buying guide for compression stockings
Compression stockings come in different levels. They can be categorized into 4 levels depending upon compression level that is measured in mmHg. It is advisable to consult some doctor to find out right compression level as per your requirement. Usually you should start with low level if you are using compression stockings for the first time. Then, you can find out the best compression level that suits you.
- 10-15mmHg (light support)
- Helpful in providing energy to tired and sore legs
- Helpful in improving blood circulation
- Helps prevent swelling.
- 15-20mmHg (mild support)
- Helps improve blood circulation
- Provides relief to achy, tired and fatigues legs
- Helpful in mild swelling or ankle or legs
- Helpful in mild swelling of legs during pregnancy.
- 20-30mmHg (moderate support)
- It is helpful in improving blood circulation of the lower legs
- Helpful in providing relief to fatigued, tired and achy legs
- Helps reduce mild to moderate swelling of legs and ankle
- Helpful in mild to moderate leg swelling that may happen during pregnancy
- 30-40mmHg (firm support)
- Helps in improving the flow of blood in the lower legs
- It soothes tired, fatigued and achy legs
- Helpful in reducing moderate swelling of legs and ankle
- Helpful in reducing moderate swelling of legs during pregnancy.