Compression stockings are used to increase blood flow in the legs and feet. They come in a variety of styles including: below the knee, thigh-highs, thigh-high with a waist attachment, and tights. Additionally, they come in various strengths for compression ranging from moderate to severe and extra firm.
There are an assortment of uses for compression stockings including those used for athletics and those used to treat or prevent medical conditions. Studies show athletes who wear compression socks/stockings can typically run or exercise for longer periods of time. This is due to a decrease in cramping and fatigue, because of the increased circulation.
Individuals who use compression stockings for medical prevention or treatment of conditions also see benefits. Doctors frequently use compression garments on patients after surgery to prevent life-threatening blood clots from forming. They also aid in preventing and treating venous conditions like varicose veins, phlebitis, and edema.
How They Work
Compression stockings work in numerous ways to aid circulation for different types of lifestyles. Those who are sedentary or overweight benefit from compression stockings because they force blood flow through the smaller passages and into the heart, disallowing it to gather in the feet and ankles.
The compression of the sock is tighter in the foot and ankle area and lessens its strength as it moves up toward the knee or thigh. This helps the blood constantly fight gravity and its tendency to flow downward. Compressions stockings are also great for long trips or occupations that require a lot of sitting.
It’s important that those who wear compression stockings for medical reasons are sized by their physician for the best results. They should be put on shortly after waking up (this is when the legs are least swollen) and worn throughout the entire day. Replace compression stockings as soon as they show signs of wear and tear (about 3-6 months).
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