How Long Can You Wear Compression Socks?
Compression socks are worn by a wide range of people, each of who benefit from their ability to improve circulation. They can help with various leg problems and are useful for people whose lives require them to be walking around all day, but how long can you wear compression socks? The answer comes down to the particular reason why you need to wear them, but usually it’s totally fine to wear them for long periods throughout the day.
What Are Compression Socks?
Compression socks are made from elasticated fabrics and are designed to apply pressure to your lower legs, ankles, and feet to encourage better blood flow. They come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colors and, depending on your requirements, can extend up to your calves or knees.
What Do Compression Socks Do?
By creating a constant pressure around your legs, compression socks are able to improve your circulation and reducing the amount of swelling and discomfort you may experience when there is a problem with blood flow. They are often recommended by doctors as a way to aid patients who have:
- Varicose Veins – When veins have become enlarged and swollen because of the presence of excess blood
- Lymphoedema – When the lymph glands are unable to clear properly
Both of these symptoms occur because your body is struggling to pump fluids back towards the heart and lymph system. They usually start in the legs because the legs are furthest from the rest of your body, which in conjunction with gravity can make circulation more strained. Compression socks will help prevent fluid from remaining in the legs and can also help prevent blood clots from forming in people susceptible to deep vein thrombosis.
Who Uses Compression Socks?
People who have been recommended to use compression socks by their doctors are not the only groups who will, and can, wear them, though. They are really helpful to people who have symptoms of poor circulation in their legs, but can also be useful to those who want to prevent these conditions from developing in the first place, or who are active and need to be on their feet all day and want to encourage better circulation.
In these cases the increased blood flow can provide higher levels of oxygen to the muscles and help to prevent aching, and encourage recovery when there’s a chance to rest.
Compression stockings are also worn by people who want to prevent problems occurring, especially deep vein thrombosis. This is when blood clots form in the legs, and can be more likely to occur when staying in bed for a long time (recovering in hospital for example), sitting down for extended periods (particularly associated with long flights), pregnancy, or as a side effect to certain drugs.
Can You Wear Compression Socks All Day?
If your doctor has recommended that you use compression socks, then you should follow their advice on how to use them. Usually they are designed to be worn while you are up during the day, so put them on in the morning when you wake up and take them off before you go to sleep at night.
Wearing compression socks all day will help the circulation and make your legs feel much better, but it’s important to give your legs time to relax outside of the socks and there’s no benefit from wearing them while you are asleep, so there is no need to wear them constantly.
There are exceptions to this, though. If, for example, you are on a flight and wearing compression socks to keep a healthy circulation while sitting down for a long time, it’s perfectly fine to wear them for the entire flight and for a few hours afterwards.
For those who want to see if compression socks can help them with their job that requires them to stand up a lot, then the best idea is to experiment and see what produces the best effect. No harm will happen if you wear them for too long, just remember to take them off occasionally.
Are Compression Socks Suitable For Everyone?
Compression socks are suitable to be worn by the vast majority of people, but there are some groups who should be careful with them. If you have a skin infection, have skin that reacts to various fabrics, have swelling in your legs unrelated to blood or lymph glands, or concerns about your heart, it would be best to consult your doctor before using compression socks just to be sure it will be safe.
The Final Verdict
Compression socks can be helpful to a wide range of people who either suffer problems with circulation, or want to prevent any problems from developing. Whether it be varicose veins, or deep vein thrombosis, the pressure will prevent the blood from pooling in your legs and make them feel a lot better.
If you’re wondering “how long can you wear compression socks for”, then the answer is for as long as you like. Just remember to take them off when you are sleeping so your legs have a chance to be unrestricted.