The Basics Of Compression Socks

By | November 1, 2017

Compression socks are specialized therapeutic socks made from woven spandex or nylon used to create pressure on the lower legs. The gradient pressure applied by the compression sock is highest at the ankle and decreases in pressure upward to the knee or thigh. The pressure applied to the leg helps circulate blood to the heart to prevent blood pooling in the vessels of the lower extremities. The result is improved blood circulation in the extremities, reducing swelling and the risk of blood clots. A healthcare provider will recommend the size and strength of the stocking based on the patient’s condition. Compression socks and stockings are used to treat a number of conditions in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

The majority of hospitals follow a protocol that recommends all surgery patients, and especially those who are non-ambulatory, to be fitted with compression socks. This reduces the risk of blood clots forming following surgical procedures or clots caused by certain circulatory conditions. The formation of blood clots in patients is a major contributor to inpatient hospital deaths.

Compression stockings or socks are an effective and noninvasive method of treating disorders such as varicose veins, thrombosis, lymphedema, chronic venous insufficiency, chronic circulatory diseases and post phlebitic syndrome. In each of these conditions, the goal of the compression sock is to reduce edema of the legs, improve circulation to prevent blood pooling, and reduce the risk of blood clot formation.

Primarily, this form of therapy is worn during daytime hours and is removed for nighttime. It is recommended that the socks be put on before getting out of bed in the morning and be worn throughout the day. Periods of rest and elevation are also recommended, to reduce pain and inflammation. The length of use depends on the patient’s condition and the risk of developing blood clots. Conditions such as varicose veins, lymphedema, and chronic circulatory diseases will require long-term or life-long use.

Studies indicate that there are no known complications that arise from this form of therapy; however, there is a period of adjusting to feel and application of the stockings. A doctor will recommend a sock’s compression level based on the amount of pressure applied to the leg. The pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury, mmHg. The four levels are; mild 8-15 mmHg, moderate 15-20 mmHg, firm 20-30 mmHg, and extra firm 30-40 mmHg.

There are certain people who should not use this form of therapy. People, who are diabetic, have decreased blood supply to the legs, and smokers should not use compression socks because they may complicate these diseases.

Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information about Compression stockings, please visit

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