Do Compression Socks Work For Swelling?

do compression socks work for swellingYou have probably seen somebody competing in races or running around the streets with compression socks on. You may also have heard of compression socks being recommended to people who have swollen and heavy feeling legs. This might have gotten you thinking to yourself, “Do compression socks work for swelling?”

How Do Compression Socks Work?

Well, compression socks and stockings have been designed to help control the swelling in the legs, feet, and ankles. If you have been suffering from swollen legs and feet, then compression socks should be a must have for you if you would want to prevent further swelling or even eliminate the swellings totally.

Compression socks reduce swelling by applying pressure to your lower legs, thereby helping to improve blood flow. This will reduce discomfort and swelling. To understand how socks that help with swelling work, having a basic understanding of how blood circulates in the body is important. Let me help to jog your memory of biology a little bit.

The heart pumps blood containing oxygen to all body cavities including the working muscles through the arteries. Once the oxygen in the blood has been exhausted by the cells in the muscles and other body organs, the deoxygenated blood that contains lactic acid are taken back to the heart through the veins where it is oxygenated again by the heart and the process repeats itself.

During exercises, a lot of lactic acids is produced by the muscles, and if they are not removed as fast as possible, the muscles can become sore, and this can reduce their performance. The accumulation of lactic acid together with continuous muscular vibrations as a result of the physical activities are what lead to muscle fatigue.

Think about it, you are running on the pavement, and your leg muscles have to support 5 times your bodyweight. Over time, the muscles in your feet and your lower leg area may start to swell when they become fatigued.

Compression Socks and Swelling

Now let’s talk about compression socks and what they do to help with the swelling. Compression socks help the body in venous return of the deoxygenated blood back to the heart by providing graduated compression throughout your feet muscles and the muscles in your leg area. This will also help your feet muscles to fight the effects of gravity as the weight of your body pounds on your feet muscles as you run.

When the muscles on your feet are consistently compressed, the walls of the arteries dilate hence increasing the amount of blood flowing through them. This can both be useful during physical activities or when you are recovering from an injury.

Compression also helps to reduce the number of muscular vibrations hence reducing fatigue as the muscles become more stabilised. Compression also helps the walls of the veins to contract, which  increases the velocity of flow of blood as they head back to the heart.

This means that the deoxygenated blood containing the lactic acid finds its way back to the heart much quicker. This leads to a decrease in muscle soreness, which reduces swelling. The rate of muscle recovery from injuries and swelling is also improved.

The Strength of Compression Socks For Swelling

It’s important to look at the strength of compression socks before buying any so you get what suites you best. Compression socks for swelling come in four main strength categories. They include: 8 to 15 mmHg, 15 to 20 mmHg, 20 to 30 mmHg, and 30 to 40 mmHg. The unit used to express compression strength is mmHg, and it stands for millimetres of mercury.

The compression strength is always described as a range. For example, 30 to 40 mmHg will have a strength of 30 mmHg at the top of the compression socks and a compression of 40 mmHg at the bottom around the ankle area.

For the purposes of swelling, 20 to 30 mmHg will be the best. However, if you are not sure about the compression sock strength that would be good for you, then you can seek a prescription from a doctor.

How You Can Use Your Compression Stockings

If you want to reduce swelling, it is recommended that you put on your compression stockings as soon as you wake up, you should wear them all day, and they should only be taken off when you want to take a shower or before you go to bed.

The Bottom Line

If you have been asking yourself “Do compression socks work for swelling?”, then the answer is yes. Compression socks are the best remedy for people suffering from swollen feet. They have been proven to work in promoting blood circulation in the feet area and reducing swelling by applying pressure to the muscles.

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