Chances are, at some point or another, you have seen someone wearing compression socks. Whether it be on a long-haul airplane trip or even nowadays in the gym. Some people wear them for medical reasons, while others try to promote muscle recovery from the gym.
Compression socks mainly improve blood circulation and blood flow in the body thanks to their design. But how does it work? Let’s talk about it.
What Are Compression Socks?
Compression socks, sometimes known as compression stockings, are specifically designed socks that often stop short somewhere around your knee. They are designed to apply a certain amount of pressure to your legs, calves, ankles, and in some cases, feet for medical purposes.
Their main purpose is to prevent or improve your blood flow, and core spun compression socks are often used for sometimes serious medical conditions, such as people who are at risk for blood clots. But to understand how compression socks, like core spun ones, improve blood flow, it’s worth understanding that there are different types of compression socks for different purposes.
Different Types of Compression
- Graduated compression stockings are stockings or socks that apply the most amount of pressure at the ankle and then gradually decrease in pressure as the sock goes towards the knee. This type of compression sock is typically prescribed by a doctor and requires a professional fitting.
- Anti-embolism compression stockings are designed specifically for people who are not mobile. The design is similar in the way that it is a graduated pressure that is the most at the ankle and decreases towards the knee. They are mostly used to prevent deep-vein thrombosis, which is a higher risk for those who are not mobile. As graduated stockings, this requires a professional fitting with a doctor’s prescription.
- Non-medical compression stockings are the most common, as many people wear them to increase their blood flow or prevent swelling when sitting on long airplane rides. The amount of pressure is placed equally throughout the stocking, and you can find this at most pharmacies as it does not require a doctor’s prescription.
So How Do Compression Socks Work?
Compressing the muscles help prevent blood from pooling and becoming stagnant. Instead, when the muscles are squeezed, it sends blood back to the heart more efficiently. Depending on how poor your blood flow is will depend on the level of pressure you need from the socks.
Generally speaking, manufacturers can make their compression socks fit into three pressure categories.
- Low – This is less than 20 mmHg
- Medium – This is 20 to 30 mmHg
- High – This is more than 30 mmHg
How Do You Know Which One You Need?
Here are some general rules of thumb to follow. If you are in doubt about which level of compression you need, you can always consult your doctor.
Those who are looking to add compression socks into their daily routines and are looking to improve blood flow for sports recovery should generally choose a lower-grade compression sock. It’s a comfortable fit that’s not too tight and can also be used for travel.
If you have mild or light symptoms of spider or varicose veins, you can look to buy a medium-grade compression sock. It also may not be a bad option for athletes that need more sports recovery, daily wear, or someone who is teetering in need of medical recovery.
Lastly, if you are dealing with a medical condition that has to do with poor circulation that puts you at risk for blood clots, you will want to choose a high-grade compression sock. This is something that should be prescribed and talked about by a doctor.
Who Can Benefit From Compression Socks?
The answer is simple. Everyone can benefit from wearing compression socks because better blood flow is always good. Having said that, there are some situations where it can be more desirable to some than others.
- Women who are pregnant may benefit from buying women’s medical-grade compression socks. This is because their legs are bearing more weight; they may be less active and have swelling.
- Athletes that are under rigorous exercise routines and are looking to recover quickly and more efficiently from their workouts.
- Anyone that feels like their legs is tired and achy. This is especially true after traveling around the world. Wearing them on long flights is a great solution.
Don’t Wait To Try Them
Since anyone can benefit from wearing compression socks, there is no harm and trying them out today. You can take advantage of immediate benefits that make you physically feel great and help with long-term health.
Just be sure that you read up on reviews and buy from brands with expertise in making them. Compression socks only work if they are designed properly and made with high-quality products. Investing in the right pair makes a huge difference.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2018. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.