Archive for : June, 2014

Using Compression Socks – Quick Tips!

Wearing compression socks and stockings (or travel socks) is one of the best ways to maximise the health of your legs and their blood vessels during long periods of sitting, like during flights or following surgery, or for people who spend a lot of time on their feet. They are scientifically proven to assist in the prevention of deep vein thrombosis, to relieve tired, achy legs, and to help prevent varicose veins, ulcers, and fluid retention (cankles) in the lower legs.

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Compression socks are, by their nature, required to be tight – but not uncomfortable. The fit should be firm but not restrictive. Follow these guidelines for wearing your compression socks or stockings:

  • Only ever wear graduated compression stockings or sock to bed if advised to by a doctor
  • Purchase your travel socks from a reputable supplier or a pharmacist
  • Put your compression socks on first thing in the morning, when your legs are at their smallest (that is, with the least amount of swelling)
  • Applying a little talcum powder to the bare leg may make it easier to pull the socks up
  • The fabric of the sock should be distributed over the leg evenly, without wrinkles, and not pulled tight at the top
  • Ensure seams are straight and the heel is positioned properly
  • Never fold the top band over – this will restrict the flow of blood to and from your legs
  • If you ever experience tingling of the foot or toes while wearing compression socks, remove them promptly and seek advice from your doctor or a pharmacist
  • Try wearing rubber gloves to put your stockings on – it will help ensure nails and rings don’t snag on the fabric
  • Never dry your travel socks in a clothes dryer – always wash according to instructions and air dry naturally

Who Should Wear Compression Socks?

  • Anyone flying for longer than three hours
  • Smokers
  • Overweight persons
  • Women aged over 35 who take the oral contraceptive pill
  • Previous clotting issues or DVT
  • Have cancer
  • Are pregnant or up to 6 weeks post partum
  • Recent surgery
  • Aged over 60
  • Have varicose veins

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Graduated compression travel socks are designed to be firm and supportive. They are not meant to be easy to put on – so be patient and persevere. Once on, you’ll know they fit correctly when they feel supportive but do not cause discomfort.

 

 

What Are Compression Socks – and Why Wear Them?

Compression socks and stockings (or travel socks) are specialized socks and hosiery which are designed specifically to prevent and treat disorders of the veins in the legs. They are highly recommended for wear during flights, extended periods of sitting, and for those in occupations where there is a majority of time spent on one’s feet. Here’s why:

Compression leg wear improves blood flow in the legs. In the veins, blood must flow upwards towards the heart; there are “valves” in the veins to prevent blood flowing backwards. Over time, these valves can weaken and blood can pool in the legs and cause veins to swell and twist, and become unsightly and even painful. These are varicose veins. If the blood pools and doesn’t keep moving quickly throughout the body, blood clots can form (deep vein thrombosis). This is a serious condition which can be life threatening.

Compression stockings and travel socks provide a gentle pressure, slightly squeezing the muscles and veins of the leg in order to keep blood moving up the legs. This prevents legs swelling, and can also help to prevent blood clots. Compression is firmest at the ankle, reducing gradually up the leg.

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Compression stockings or socks can be of benefit to prevent swollen or aching legs, varicose veins, ulcers of the legs, and fluid in the legs. They are also invaluable during flying.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a major health concern on long haul flights. When seated in cramped conditions for extended periods, blood can flow too slowly in the legs and a blood clot can form. Early symptoms include swelling or pain in the calf, with a feeling of heat in the area. If part of the clot breaks away (embolism) it can travel to the lungs, heart, or brain, potentially causing death.

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Image Courtesy of Google

One way to protect against DVT when flying is to wear travel compression socks – and these also prevent tired, aching legs and swollen ankles.

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While there are some serious, heavy duty, and quite unattractive prescription stockings available for wear following surgery, there are plenty of everyday options for wear which are quite stylish. Browse a range of stylish products here

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Next time, we’ll look at how to put on compression socks, some tips and care instructions. Stay tuned!