How Do Compression Socks Benefit Health?

March 28, 2024

Our legs are one of the things we use to move around in the world. It is vital that they, like all parts of the body, get enough blood and oxygen. Unfortunately, certain medical conditions can interfere with blood circulation to the legs. For anyone suffering from poor circulation in the legs, compression socks can come in handy. These are used in terms of the lymph nodes or leg's veins being affected. They are called compression socks as they come in a design that gives the leg a gentle squeeze. Because of this, many do not find these socks the most comfortable thing to wear. With their compressive design, however, they offer several research-supported benefits.

Here are some benefits of wearing compression socks.

Reduce Risk Of Blood Clots

The main objective of using compression socks is to allow blood to better circulate throughout the body. Thus, the socks can help reduce the risk of blood clots and help prevent conditions like deep vein thrombosis, which is a condition that occurs when a blood clot develops deep in a vein. The most common suggestion for surgical patients is to start wearing compression socks after their operation. The reason for this is because surgery poses a great risk for developing blood clots.

Multiple research studies back up the idea compression socks can protect against deep vein thrombosis. From a 2014 review, it is reported the usage of graduated compression socks lowered the risk of deep vein thrombosis in a number of research studies. A 2000 review also noted studies in which most results showed wearing compression socks is effective in fighting against deep vein thrombosis. Moreover, an early study from 1977 concluded graduated compression socks were effective at reducing the risk of the condition.

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Treats Varicose Veins

Wearing compression socks treats varicose veins as well. These veins appear as twisted forms on the legs. There are studies demonstrating compression socks as a useful tool in treating varicose veins. One study followed varicose vein participants who had completed surgical operation. The group that wore compression socks saw a greater reduction in edema compared to the group that used bandages. An earlier study from 2001 also showed a beneficial effect of compression socks on varicose veins in pregnancy. The socks helped make venous reflux less common. Of course, more research is currently necessary to truly dive into how compression socks affect varicose veins.

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Lessens Swelling In The Legs

Wearing compression socks lessens swelling in the legs. How they work is by putting pressure on the legs, thus stimulating the blood vessels. As a result, blood and fluid are pushed up from legs and into the upper body. An early 1999 study that focused on participants suffering from chronic venous insufficiency demonstrating wearing these socks helped decrease swelling as well as other symptoms. In a 2014 study, researchers volunteered twelve individuals in testing the effects of compression socks on evening edema. The study indicated pressure from the compression socks helped ease evening edema by a significant amount. A review from 2016 showed wearing compression socks helped decrease edema, typically characterized by swelling of the legs over other body parts.

An earlier review from 2003 mentioned several studies featuring DVT participants. In the studies, physicians instructed the participants to wear elastic compression socks to prevent post-thrombotic syndrome. Many of the participants stated the compression socks were useful in easing swelling as well as other symptoms.

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Boosts Circulation

Compression socks' pressure on the blood vessels boosts circulation. In a study from 2016, researchers tested the effects of medical grade compression socks on upper limb circulation during physical activity. The participants who wore the socks saw better circulation than those who exercised without them. Compression socks have also been shown to benefit circulation in pregnant women. A 1987 study focused on twenty-one female participants who had gone through uterovascular syndrome in the late stages of pregnancy. Usage of compression socks improved blood circulation in the fetus. In another study, researchers investigated whether compression socks would benefit microcirculation in individuals suffering from chronic venous insufficiency. The study featured healthy participants who saw an improvement in blood circulation.

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Benefits Venous Leg Ulcers

In a 2019 review, there is mention of several studies assessing the effectiveness of compression socks in preventing the recurrence of venous leg ulcers. A couple of the studies state participants who wore the socks had lower risks for recurrence of venous ulcers than those who did not.

Positive results of compressing socks are also exhibited in a 2004 study following 121 participants with chronic venous ulcers. For twelve weeks, the participants were asked to wear specialized compression socks or bandages for eight hours daily. At the end of the study, the compression socks were found to be more effective than compression bandages. An older study followed fifty patients with venous ulcers. Half of the participants received Rosidal K compression bandages while the other half sported Sigvaris 503 compression socks. Results showed a higher percentage of patients healed come from the group that wore the compression socks.

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