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How to choose compression socks?

Compression socks are used to provide compression and support in conditions related to venous insufficiency or oedema. Compression socks are graduated and this means they exert the greatest degree of compression at the ankle, and the level of compression gradually decreases up the garment.

Which compression level?
The degree of compression is measured in mmHg at the angle where the maximum compression is provided. The higher the number, the greater the compression is. If you are new to compression socks, it is a good idea to start low and gradually work your way up the compression level. As always, consult with a doctor to determine which compression level works best for you.

Liners (10 mmHg)

  • Suitable for those starting out with compression therapy who are unable to tolerate low compression.

Liners can be layered to provide higher levels of compression (for example a double layer of 10 mmHg will provide compression equivalent to 20 mmHg)

Low Compression (14-17 mmHg)

  • Superficial or early varicose veins
  • Varicose veins during pregnancy

Medium Compression (18-24 mmHg)

  • Varicose veins of medium severity
  • Treatment of, and prevention of the recurrence of, leg ulcers
  • Mild oedema
  • Varicose veins during pregnancy

High Compression (25-35 mmHg)

  • Gross varicose veins
  • Post-thrombotic venous insufficiency
  • Gross oedema
  • Treatment of, and prevention of the recurrence of, leg ulcers

Knee-high or thigh-high?

Studies were done to compare knee-high and thigh-high graded compression stockings in regards of deep vein thrombosis prevention in medical and surgical patients. It was concluded that there is no significant difference in the length of compression stockings when used for deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis. It was also suggested that knee-high compression stockings should be the first choice for the deep vein thrombosis prevention in medical and surgical patients. Knee-high stockings are more comfortable, easier to apply, and wearing them increases patients’ compliance with treatment. Knee-high stockings are easier to size for limb measurement than thigh-high compression stockings. Thigh-high compression stockings may create a tourniquet effect and cause localized restriction when rolled down.

Closed-toe or open-toe?

Open-toe socks are great for wearing flip flops or sandals. Especially during the warmer months, the exposure to your toes will have your feet breathing much better. If you experience discomfort with tightness on your toes or have any structural toe conditions, the open toe option will allow more freedom of motion for your toes. In regards to toe comfort, open toe compression stockings are also an ideal choice if you have a rather larger shoe size to prevent your toes from feeling cramped.


By indiannascott @ deviantart.

Compression: Does it really work?

Throughout the year, we frequently receive questions with regards to compression socks. A large number of these inquiries come from National Servicemen, professional athletes and patients with chronic knee conditions. Some of the most common questions we receive are:

“What are the benefits of wearing compression socks?”

“Will compression socks help shin splits or calf cramps?”

In this article, we prefer to delineate the vast benefits of making use of compression socks. Here, we will explain the concepts behind compression, its benefits and application to many areas of your life.

Compression improves blood-flow

The human body supplies oxygen to all organs of the body through the human circulatory system. The heart is a pump which delivers oxygen to our extremities and working muscles by making use of arteries and capillaries. Blood cells transport small amount of oxygen from the lungs to vital organs of the body. The deoxygenated blood then returns to the lungs and the whole process repeats. This enables the human cardiovascular system to function effectively and efficiently.

Performance and Blood Flow

The amount of oxygenated blood flowing to the muscles is directly linked to sports performance. A higher amount the amount of oxygen available, the better they will function. During exercise, lactic acid builds up in the muscles and the body naturally needs time to remove such waste products. The result of an inefficient cardiovascular system results in the familiar symptoms of soreness, muscle fatigue, cramps, and on rare occasions, death from spontaneous combustion.

Compression socks have been proven to improve performance

Compression socks provide graduated compression, meaning that the compression is highest at the ankles, but gradually decreases towards the thighs. This type of compression has been scientifically proven to reduce the effects of gravity on blood-flow, by creating a pressure difference in physical extremities of the body and driving blood-flow back towards the heart and lungs.




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