Gone are the days when compression socks were just solely for the sickly or for elderly folks. With many athletes and fitness enthusiasts proudly displaying their own pair for everyone to see, more and more people are willing to give these socks a try. Here are some benefits and myths about compression that you should know about.
What they are
What exactly are compression socks? Also known as compression stockings, these socks are elastic and knee high. As the name suggests, these are meant to compress the entire lower leg including the feet, ankles, calves, and shins.
How do they work?
Leg swelling or achiness could be a direct result from poor blood flow. Such impediment can be caused by different things. It could be lack of leg movement due to old age, surgery, or injury. It could be because of circulatory issues or weak veins. Whatever it is, it brings about pain, stress, or fatigue to the leg making movement a lot more difficult. This is where compression socks come in. By applying sufficient pressure to the lower leg, the tissues found in your leg as well as the walls of the vein respond by catalyzing better blood flow through the veins. Better blood flow means drastic reduction of risk of swelling as well as relief for leg fatigue.
There are many benefits of wearing compression socks and you do not have to be an athlete to enjoy them. Here are some of the awesome benefits that this type of socks can potentially offer you:
It improves circulation even when you are at rest
This is especially beneficial for those who sit behind the desk or on an airplane seat while traveling for hours. Because of the lack of movement, leg pain and swelling are almost inevitable because of poor circulation. Compression socks help prevent that. By squeezing the calf muscle, it applies pressure on the veins spurring these into action. The result? Better flow of blood to and from the heart which, in turn, means lesser risk of swelling and pain.
It relieves leg fatigue
The main focus of compression socks is to get the circulation going. Improved blood flow lessens leg fatigue so these socks are perfect for post-exercise recovery. It would also be good for those who stand for hours due to work or for post-game recovery of athletes.
It reduces inflammation and pain following an injury
A doctor usually prescribes compression socks especially if the patient needs to be rehabilitated for a serious injury. Better circulation means lesser risk of inflammation. This will definitely lower the pain down a notch.
It promotes better blood flow
Better blood flow keeps your legs a lot lighter and reduces risk of inflammation and swelling.
It has medical-related benefits
Compression socks are usually prescribed to patients after undergoing surgery. Vein diseases are also minimized by wearing this type of socks.
Alongside tried-and-tested benefits, there have also been some myths about compression socks that ultimately, need to be laid to rest. Here are some of those myths:
Myth 1: Compression socks help you lose weight.
Well, indirectly this could be true. Compression socks themselves do not make you lose the weight. Its effect on the lower leg most probably does. Better circulation equals lesser leg fatigue equals better movement. More physical activity can definitely help keep unwanted weight at bay.
Myth 2: It removes cellulite.
This is, sadly, not true. Cellulite is very difficult to get rid of and no amount of time wearing compression socks can help remove it. If you want to get rid of your cellulite, wearing compression socks is certainly not the way to do it.
Myth 3: You can wear any type of compression socks.
Again, this is not true. Studies would show that a lot of times, people wear the wrong type of compression socks. Too tight means over-constricting of your veins which could have serious side effects. Too loose and you will not be able to appreciate any chance in blood circulation. Some people need heavier grade of compression. They usually suffer from chronic issues. Heavy compression socks meanwhile would go well for runners and athletes. Lower grade compression is for regular folks who do occasional exercise and travel. To maximize the benefits of compression socks, you must know the exact type that you need. Higher grade of compression would typically need prescription.
Myth 4: Compression socks will get rid of varicose veins.
Just like the cellulite myth, this is unfortunately not true. Varicose veins cannot be reversed. You can prevent varicose vein formation but it is not through wearing compression socks either. Compression socks boost vein activity during circulation but they do not, in any way, remove varicose veins.
Myth 5: Compression socks heal your injury.
It is not the compressions socks that do the healing. What these do is that it helps prevent injury and it aids in post-recovery to lessen the risk of inflammation and swelling while improving circulation. Compression socks do not take the place of proper intervention such as appropriate medication or surgery.
Compression socks really do have their plus side for as long you wear them right. If you are coming off an injury or have a medical condition, it would be best to consult your physician if wearing compression socks should be the right thing for you. Your physician can then prescribe your grade of compression if needed. However, there is virtually no risk involved for low grade compression socks. You can give these a try at work or if you are a frequent traveler.