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!