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Feb 2015

What are Compression Socks?

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Compression socks – also called compression stockings – are a medical garment used to improve blood flow in your legs. They’re a specially designed sock running from your feet up to your knees, but can be full length.

Compression Socks

Compression socks are meant to help improve or prevent problems with venous circulation in the legs. These problems develop when the valves that transport blood don’t work properly. The valves allow blood flow in one direction back to the heart, but when venous circulation issues developblood ends up flowing backwards.

Compression socks/stockings are often used to help treat tired aching and swollen legs. Conditions such as varicose/spider veins, and heavy tired legs are treatable by compression socks. Conditions such as deep vein thrombosis or venous insufficiency can also benefit from compression socks/stockings.

Venous circulation problems can develop in a wide variety of people. Some factors can lead some to develop more problems than others do.

These possible risk factors include:

  • Those over the age of 40
  • Someonetaking frequent long-distance flights, which see the legs kept stationary for extended periods of time
  • If you have a history of venous circulation problems in your family
  • Those who are pregnant
  • People whose work sees them stationary for long stretches, either by sitting a lot or standing for extended times
  • Recent surgery patients

Common symptoms also include swollen ankles and calves, as well as those who frequently feel tired or comfort in their leg or legs.

How do compression socks work?

The socks are designed to help restore circulation in the legs, getting blood pumped back to the heart. To do this, the socks are designed to apply special amounts of pressure at different points in the leg. This gradual compression is applied at measured intervals up the leg to assist the flow of blood.

For example, the greatest level of pressure is at the ankle. This pressure then slowly lets up through the upper length of the sock up to the bottom of the knee.

The socks will be specially fitted to your specific body needs. By measuring your legs, your therapist will be able to ensure a proper sock is used.

If you have any questions regarding compression socks/stockings contact our staff at Dynamic Physiotherapy.

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