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What do compression socks do?

What do compression socks do?


You may have heard of compression socks and wondered what they are and what they do. In summary, what compression socks do is reduce the risk of blood pooling in the leg veins. They are used as a preventative measure against DVT.  Here’s a more in-depth, but easy to read, explanation.

What are compression socks?

Compression socks are designed to apply pressure to the lower legs. This helps to reduce medical problems such as swelling, discomfort and pain, and encourage a healthy blood flow in the legs.

These socks can reduce the risk of blood pooling in your veins which reduces the risk of clots.

Combating DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) is the biggest use of compression socks. The socks are useful for people who may have recently had surgery or are immobile for long periods of time. Moreover, people may be given these type of socks if they have any blood flow issues, such as varicose veins or lymphoedema.


Who needs them?

Typically, these socks are prescribed for health conditions and for immobile or recovering people. In other cases, they are used by elderly people, frequent fliers, pregnant women, and people who have to stand a lot perhaps for work.

Athletes have increasingly begun to wear compression socks for running and other activities. Moreover, it is thought the socks can improve running performance in terms of circulation, oxygen delivery and recovery, although this has not been proven.

It is important you seek medical advice before deciding whether or not you may need compression socks.


Are there different kinds of socks?

You will be able to find both below the knee and over the knee socks, or even tights.

Pressure levels are the indicator of the type of sock you are buying. You can find mild compression socks which may be for those who stand a lot at work, athletes, or fliers. These graduated socks help those who do not have a medical condition and can move around for example.

Alternatively, anti-embolism socks work for medical conditions and immobile individuals. These individuals may be bed bound or recovering from surgery, as a result they are at much higher risk of circulation issues.


Tips for wearing compression socks

Firstly, seek professional advice before you purchase the socks (unless already prescribed).

Follow the instructions thoroughly from the manufacturer or your GP.

Make sure your socks are clean and dry before putting them on.

Size your socks accurately to ensure comfort and safety. In addition, they should feel snug but not painful.

Schedule a regular check of your skin for any issues, and when you change your socks. Look for rashes, chafing, drying, redness or irritation.

Regularly wash and dry your socks properly after each use. Always replace socks with a clean pair daily.

Follow the manufacturers washing instructions well.

Socks should sit flat against your legs, they should not bunch up or be too long.



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