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Compression Socks for Blood Flow

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A man putting on a pair of black knee-high compression socks.

Compression socks aren’t just for athletes or pregnant individuals. They’re actually a powerful tool that can help anyone looking to improve their circulation and reduce swelling in their legs. Whether you’re sitting at a desk all day or spending hours on your feet, investing in a quality pair of compression socks might make a big difference in how your legs or feet feel. 

When it comes to supporting circulation, compression socks emerge as a potentially simple yet effective option for support. Properly constructed compression socks can apply gentle pressure to your legs, ankles, and feet, decreasing inflammation by promoting blood flow from your legs to your heart.

During an assessment for pedorthic care, we can help you learn more about compression socks and whether they might be right for you. As part of your physiotherapy and healthcare team, our goal is to provide care and support for your complete physical and mental wellness, from the ground up! 

Understanding Compression Socks

Compression socks are specialized garments designed to apply gentle pressure to the legs, ankles, and feet. The pressure is graduated, meaning it is strongest at the feet or ankle and gradually decreases as it moves up the leg. This unique design helps facilitate blood circulation throughout the body.

When using compression socks, you should:

  • Make sure that they fit properly
  • Wear them according to recommendations from your healthcare team
  • Stop using them if you have an allergic reaction

When you visit us for pedorthic care, we can provide advice and have you custom-fit with compression socks that fit your feet and meet your needs. 

Benefits of Compression Socks

One of the primary purposes of compression socks is to enhance blood circulation. The graduated pressure they exert on your legs can assist in moving blood back up to the heart, preventing inflammation in the legs. 

Wearing compression socks can be particularly beneficial for individuals who spend long hours sitting or standing, as it helps stop blood from pooling in the lower extremities.

Reduced Swelling & Edema

Swollen ankles and feet can be common issues for those who sit or stand for extended periods of time. Compression socks can alleviate this problem by preventing the accumulation of fluid in lower tissues, reducing swelling and helping provide relief from edema.

Prevention of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Deep vein thrombosis is a serious condition where blood clots form in deep veins, often in the legs. Compression socks can play a preventive role in treating DVT by aiding blood circulation and minimizing the risk of clot formation, particularly in situations where the risk of DVT is higher, such as during long flights, during pregnancy or after surgery.

One study that involved participants receiving general surgical procedures and undergoing orthopedic surgery found that only 9% of those who wore compression socks before and after surgery got DVT, compared to 21% of those who did not wear compression socks.

Improved Athletic Performance & Recovery

A man wearing compression socks while running outdoors.

Athletes are increasingly turning to compression socks to enhance their performance and speed up recovery. There is some evidence to suggest that compression socks may help promote athletic recovery, but there is still research needed to confirm whether or not compression socks can aid in enhancing athletic performance itself.

Comfort & Support

Compression socks offer not only health benefits but can also offer comfort and support. They may be able to provide additional support to the arches of your feet and help reduce the impact on your feet and legs during physical activities, making them a potentially helpful choice for those with an active lifestyle.

Varicose Vein Prevention

Varicose veins are often a result of weakened vein walls and valves, leading to inefficient blood circulation. Compression socks can help prevent the development or worsening of varicose veins by supporting the veins and improving overall blood flow.

Support for Frequent Flyers

Compression socks can also be helpful for people who travel frequently. 

When you’re flying or driving for long periods of time, the lack of movement can contribute to blood pooling in your lower legs. This can lead to swelling and discomfort, and in rare cases, even blood clots. Wearing compression socks can help keep blood flowing freely, reduce the risk of clots, and help keep your legs feeling more comfortable during long journeys.

Choosing the Right Pair of Compression Socks

There are many different types of compression socks on the market, each designed to address specific needs. Some socks are designed for athletes, while others are meant for people with medical conditions.

Compression socks also come in different styles, including knee length, thigh length, and full pantyhose length. Your compression socks should cover the area that is affected by the condition you’re experiencing to give sufficient support. Knee-high socks are a common choice, as the affected area is frequently in the lower leg.

Compression socks come in different grades of compression and it’s important to consult with a pedorthist about which type is best suited to your needs, and to be fitted appropriately. A certified pedorthist at Running Shoe Restorative Healtcare can help diagnose issues like flat feet, overpronation, and under pronation that can be causing pain and other problems.

Healthy Lifestyles & Compression Socks

It’s worth noting that compression socks are not a replacement for a healthy lifestyle, and wearing them incorrectly can cause harm

While they can certainly help improve circulation and reduce swelling, it’s important to also exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and maintain a healthy weight. Combining compression socks with healthy habits can help you attain a full level of support for your overall wellness. 

Step into Health with Compression Socks

Compression socks can be a versatile and powerful tool for those looking to improve their circulation and reduce swelling in their legs. If you’re considering investing in a pair of compression socks, be sure to consult a healthcare professional. 

At Running Shoe Restorative Healthcare, we can help you choose the right pair for your needs and provide care for your feet and legs based on your personal health. 

Contact us today to learn more. 

Written by Shaheeza Haji

Shaheeza Haji graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta in 2009, followed by a Master of Physiotherapy from the University of Western Ontario in 2011. Being a staunch believer in “exercise is medicine” she attained her Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist status though the National Strength and Conditioning Association in 2013. At the end of that same year, Shaheeza was involved in a major life-altering electrocution incident whereby she sustained a number of injuries which required surgery and years of rehabilitation. One of these injuries was a traumatic brain injury; it is thought that the electrical current exploded within the confined space of her skull, which for lack of better terminology was coined by her medical team as an “electrical concussion.” This lead to her becoming certified in the treatment and management of Concussions in 2018. Also in 2018, Shaheeza began instructing at CDI college, heading up the Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant Diploma Program. Today, Shaheeza combines her love of teaching, her passion of concussion research, and the empathy & experience from her own injury to help those with acute and chronic concussions. Shaheeza also has a drive for entrepreneurship, being the CEO of Running Shoe Inc., directing both Running Shoe Restorative Healthcare and the Calgary Concussion Centre.
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