Usage of compression socks has become a growing trend recently, for reasons ranging from medical to daily usage to sports and other areas of life. They are defined as the leg or arm wear used to better the circulation and keeping incidents of swollen veins at bay and stop their progression into more dangerous and severe venous disorders. Many people think that the usage of compression socks is for older people, but they are wrong because that’s not the case anymore. People of all ages and use them depending on their needs and activity level. Especially men compression socks that are used the most. To understand how they work, we will have to look into the working mechanism of our veins.
The makeup of compression socks
The compression socks are worn around limbs. The secret is they apply enough pressure on the limbs to improve the velocity with which veins pump blood and increase blood flow for better movement of the affected area. There are many types of socks and stockings according to their use and usage area.
Tissues are clusters of innumerable cells. These cells are kept alive by oxygen, blood, and nutrients. Veins are elastic blood vessels that are present throughout our bodies, and their function is to carry blood around the body. They bring blood from all parts of the body towards the heart and the heart is the reservoir of oxygenated blood that provides oxygen. The blood circulates through arteries and capillaries. The reason oxygen is so important is that it keeps the limb functioning. Due to lack of oxygen, the cells present in tissues, cells start to die; hence tissue decaying starts which means it can’t function, i.e. limb becomes useless.
The phenomenon of compression socks
To understand how compression socks provide benefits, we need to understand how the leg circulatory system works. Oxygenated blood from the heart descends via the abdomen to the pelvis (the portion from where the leg starts). This blood comes from the main artery called the aorta, which divides into the pelvis into many small arteries. It’s from this point blood flows to our lower body ranging from thigh to knees until toes.
Blood flowing in veins is always under pressure because veins carry deoxygenated blood from limbs towards the heart which lies in the upper region, so blood must be moved against gravity pull, and that at times take a toll on vein health resulting in damaged veins. These veins contain one-way valves that allow blood to flow towards the only heart. At times, muscular spasm hinders the blood flow, which causes the vein to work extra for taking blood towards the heart. Sometimes these valves become worn out. When this happens, veins can no longer work, and blood starts to accumulate in tissues, causing swollen veins; this phenomenon is also called varicose veins. It’s here where inventions like compression socks play a very significant role.
There are many reasons to use compression socks. Most commonly, they have medical applications. They are used to provide aid for Many circulatory disorders like edema, thrombosis, phlebitis, chronic venous inflammation, varicose vein, lymphedema. They are used by pregnant women to get rid of muscular spasms.
MEDICAL REASONS OF USING COMPRESSION SOCKS
Edema is a medical condition in which veins start to leak, causing swelling. The swelling can cover a small area or at times, the entire body, depending upon the severity. It can happen in the legs due to being overweight or not moving enough. People from the 9-5 job routine are usually at a high chance of developing this because they barely walk for longer periods.
Compression therapy is the actual term used for the treatment of such a condition. This therapy involves compression around the affected area to start blood flow and reduce swelling. It is simple understanding, by excessive pressure the blocked area could be unblocked likewise the compression socks put enough pressure to resume blood flow in limbs.
Thrombosis is a medical condition that occurs when the blood pressure in the leg region is reduced, causing blood to accumulate and resulting in the formation of blood clots. These clots are called a thrombus. These clots resist the pumping of blood in veins. Compression socks are beneficial for reducing thrombus formation.
- Varicose Veins
Those purple-blue appearing veins that you see after an injury. They are called varicose veins. These veins get damaged, causing intense inflammation and pain in the affected area. This condition also happens when faulty valves present in veins hinder blood flow causing it to flow in the wrong direction and thus resulting in a blood pool within veins.
People suffering from this condition wear compression stockings or socks, which help to clear the clots and helps in redirecting blood flow.
- Chronic venous inflammation
It is a medical condition in which veins in limbs stop functioning. It tends to be a severe medical condition, and if not treated in time, it can permanently cause limb loss. In this condition, blood flow gets restricted in veins, tissue stops receiving oxygen, and they start to die. When this happens, the limb stops working. For such instances, doctors prescribe compression therapy which involves wearing compression socks for an extended period until the regain of normal pressure.
This condition occurs when tissues start to leak their fluid around veins. This condition can also be treated easily with compression stockings.
In the course of pregnancy, a women’s body is constantly growing and changing. Body stretches mean tissue stretches, and this clearly and directly affects the blood flow rate in veins and arteries. When this happens, muscular spasms increase in a great amount. Compression socks and stocking in this case work wonders, they not only provide enough warmth to muscles but also keep the blood flowing at a normal rate.
This medical condition occurs when a vein in the leg gets inflamed due to an infection or trauma, and this condition usually occurs suddenly. People who have a history of varicose veins are more prone to developing this condition. After given expert medical care, patients must keep wearing compression socks to prevent them from happening again.
Reasons to use Compression socks in sports
The popularity of compression stockings and socks has increased among athletes, especially those who take participate in endurance events like marathons, running, or cycling. Their use has increased in most sports that involve leg activity because they help them in improving their efficiency and provide strength to muscles, thus preventing muscle fatigue. It is clear that when muscles are active and far from lethargy, they will be able to function even better. It is what is the main thing that runners and athletes use because when they run, they work out their leg tissues. Compression socks have now become a tool in improving venous health, thus enhancing the performance of athletes.
Impact vibrations defined as vibrations that are felt by sportspersons while working out and running, these impacts produce vibration in calf muscles; with times muscles get weaker, tear, and sore. Compression stockings compress muscle to diminish the adverse effects of these vibrations in the leg by providing support to leg muscles. It minimizes fatigue and increases pain endurance. By improving oxygen flow and circulation, compression socks prevent blood from forming pooling into leg veins. It increases endurance because the active and quick supply of oxygen helps your muscles to work consistently by gaining energy from oxygen, thus enabling your muscles to train harder and stronger.
Application in post-workout
Moreover, compression socks are not beneficial while working out, but they are equally effective in post-workout soreness. When we exercise, our muscles develop lactic acid, which makes them stiff and hard, hard workout produces even more amount of lactic acid, thus more soreness. Compression socks speed up the breakdown of lactic acid, which enables muscles to break buildup lactic acid quickly. It also enables athletes to work out even harder and to recover quickly from workout fatigue.
Use of compression socks in sports training contributing towards increasing skeletal muscle pump, i.e. increasing blood velocity rate, prevention from blood clots in veins, especially calf veins.
Application in athletic performance
Wearing compression socks is seen positively correlated with athletic performance. It helps in enhancing performance by increasing oxygen deliverance and blood flow, keeping sprains fingers at bay, and relaxes the muscle. Some sportsmen reported that wearing stockings while playing helped their balance positively. Wearing compression garments increases muscle endurance. Not only that but also these socks helped to make fast recovery at times of sore or strained muscles.
In terms of recovery, the use of compression socks in sports is very positive. Athletes pointed towards reduced muscle soreness after they started wearing compression socks and garments on fields and during training sessions. They also reported that wearing compression socks after a workout helped to cure their sore muscles faster in comparison with wearing none. Also, many recent studies suggest that using compression socks during workout sessions has very greatly contributed to their never-ending problem of muscle soreness. Some studies also support the relationship between the use of compression socks and recovery time. For athletes who wore compression socks to their work out sessions post-injury, their injured muscles healed very quickly.
The feeling of compression has a psychological effect on athletes’ minds. The common perception that compressing the affected area reduces pain. Likewise, athletes felt that when they wore compressed stockings, their sense of pain and soreness felt lesser because they believed that compression would keep soreness at bay.
So, their current preference seems to suggest that wearing compression socks and stockings to workout sessions have enhanced their mechanical capacity and work efficiency and have made their endurance power double.
Points to consider while buying compression stockings
Keeping in mind the amount and quantity of compression is very important. Too much compression can adversely affect movement whereas too little compression can make not much of a positive difference in athletic performances, so getting the right amount of compression is crucial.
While buying compression stockings, you are required to measure your calf size, ankle circumference. The correct measurement of these two will determine the right amount of compression for you. We recommend Soxy’s compression socks because they have fun colors while also maintaining high quality, which is important when you’re buying compression socks.
Compression socks come into different levels of compression and strength. The unit of firmness mmHg. 15-20 mmHg is the lowest firmness you can buy without needing a doctor’s prescription. Any firmness level exceeding 20 requires a prescription from a doctor because that amount of firmness suggests a harder workout which can be dangerous for your muscles, so that’s why it’s important to have consulted with your doctor to prevent any irrevocable muscular damage.
Reason to use compression socks after surgery
People are prone to developing blood clots post-surgery in most cases. Doctors prescribe compression socks for recovering and preventing the formation of clots after a sensitive surgery. Patients who are prescribed bed rest post-surgery and their moment have to be limited for some time until they recover fully, doctors ask patients to wear compression socks to prevent any damage to the healing area. Also, the stocking will make sure that blood keeps flowing in the surgery areas.
Reason to use compression socks in daily life
Apart from the use of compression socks in medical, sports, post-surgery care; compression socks are equally well fitted to use in our daily life activities.
Compression socks offer you protection from scratches, cuts, minor injuries, chemicals. In our daily life, we encounter many situations or conditions in which our limbs get exposed to threats, and seemingly people don’t realize how extremely important it is for people to make sure to keep their limbs in proper health, this includes protecting them too. For example, one will injure their knee lesser if he would be wearing protection, i.e. compression socks. Their material is very durable and keeps your legs safe from any injury and minimizes the chances of any injury that can pose great damage.
People who spend their day sitting, for example, 9-5 job employees, barely have any walking regime included owing to their work nature, these people are more prone to leg stiffness and swelling. Such people can make most of the compression socks to prevent swelling without having to compromise on their work.
Our limbs are the most important assets that must function and do daily life chores properly. At times, harmful substances present in our environment can cause great damage to our skin, its suggestive for such case scenarios that people must wear very less firm compression socks to prevent harmful substance direct contact with skin.
There are a lot more reasons to use compression socks like they can be used to prevent venous ulcers. Venous ulcers are wounds that develop in veins with time due to extreme exercise and workouts. They also help to reduce pain caused by varicose veins.
Moreover, compression socks prevent blood from pooling into veins and enabling veins to keep up the good and healthy pressure.
They also support blood circulation in the legs and give the required support to our legs while walking or running or jogging.
Another interesting reason to use compression socks is to keep orthostatic hypotension at bay. Orthostatic hypotension is the kind of hypotension that’s dependent on body balance. Blood pressure drops because the body can’t keep balance. For such patients, doctors prescribe them to wear compression stockings so that they can keep up the right balance. The right balance will not let their blood pressure drop and make their head go lightheaded, dizzy, and unsteady.
About The Author:
Christine Rudolph is a passionate lifestyle blogger. She is an enthusiastic writer, inclined towards ever-changing trends. For more updates follow her on Twitter @RudolphBlogger.