When it comes to modern healthcare products, there are also a lot of myths out there. This is certainly the case for compression stockings.
Many people assume garments like compression stockings are just for older adults with health conditions, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. They’re also suitable for younger people from all walks of life and offer comfort, performance enhancement and blend in well with virtually all your outfits. They’re the perfect wardrobe staple and are super comfortable. Your friends and family may not even realize you’re wearing them!
If compression stockings pique your interest, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re going to dive into the topic of compression stockings to answer all your questions.
Compression Stockings: An Overview
Compression stockings are garments designed to apply pressure to the legs’ veins, muscles, and arteries. They gently squeeze the limbs, applying the most pressure in the ankle area, and gradually decreasing as you go up the leg. The graduated pressure helps push blood from your feet back up to the rest of your body. The additional elasticity and extra snug fit with compression stockings sets them apart from standard hosiery. Their unique construction also makes them more durable, so you don’t have to worry about runs and holes in your stockings.
The primary purpose of compression stockings is to promote proper blood circulation back towards the heart and prevent blood pooling in the legs. This helps combat tired, achy legs, feet, and ankles, so your legs and feet feel more energized after a long day. Compression stockings also help treat swollen feet, swollen legs and venous diseases like varicose veins. They can even sometimes help with that light-headed feeling you get when you stand up too quickly.
Depending on your needs, you can wear compression stockings for the whole day or several hours – just remember to take them off before bed! Some compression stockings also offer more compression than others. Manufacturers measure compression levels in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), with higher numbers indicating a tighter stocking with more compression.
Compression stockings treat the following:
- Sore, tired legs
- Edema (buildup of fluid in the lower limbs and feet, which causes them to swell)
- Pregnancy (the hormone fluctuations during pregnancy can cause circulation issues and discomfort in the legs and ankles)
- Chronic venous insufficiency (ineffective venous walls/valves in the legs)
- Varicose veins
- Phlebitis (vein inflammation)
- Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot formation in the deepest veins)
- Lymphedema (damaged or blocked lymph nodes can cause fluid buildup in soft body tissues)
- Arthritis: Compression stockings can sometimes help reduce swelling and inflammation caused by rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.
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Who Can Use Compression Stockings?
Anyone can benefit from compression stockings! While they’re great for people with swollen feet or venous diseases, it’s time to shake the myth that compression therapy is solely for older people. Younger people with varying lifestyles can also benefit significantly from investing in compression stockings. Compression stockings offer many health benefits and are exceptionally comfortable. You’ll probably even forget you’re wearing them!
Let’s look at who they can help the most:
- People who spend long hours on their feet: People who work on their feet without many sitting breaks can experience vein inflammation. This in and of itself is painful (think of that tired achy feeling from being on your feet all day). Even worse, if neglected, vein inflammation can ultimately lead to painful varicose veins. The pressure applied by compression stockings counteracts this by helping your veins work against gravity to pump blood from your feet back up to the rest of your body. The increased blood flow also relieves sore feet and ankle swelling. If you’re a teacher, server, or hospital worker, compression stockings will make a big difference in how your legs feel after a long hard day – you’ll never want to go without them!
- People who sit for long periods: Frequent flyers and flight attendants spend long hours cooped up in airplanes and during stopovers at the airport. Likewise, office workers and people in other sedentary professions spend a large portion of the day sitting down. When we spend too much time sitting, our legs and feet suffer from poor blood circulation. The gentle pressure from compression stockings gives them a much-needed blood flow boost.
- Pregnant people: Pregnancy puts more pressure on your veins as the uterus grows. Compression stockings can help prevent the risk factors associated with this, such as blood clotting and pooling. Protecting your legs with compression stockings during pregnancy can also reduce swelling in the feet and legs and manage aches and pains.
- Athletes: The National Library of Medicine notes that compression stockings are becoming more popular amongst athletes, specifically runners. They decrease blood pooling in the calf veins, alleviate muscle soreness, and increase deep venous velocity (boosting blood flow in veins that run underneath muscle tissue). All these benefits combine to provide performance enhancement and improve endurance.
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How Do Compression Stockings Look?
Compression stockings aren’t clunky, heavy, uncomfortable devices that make you feel self-conscious. In fact, they’re quite fashionable! They come in many attractive styles and colours that pair with your outfits and look like regular hosiery and socks. Best of all, they don’t tear the same way regular hosiery does (and there’s nothing worse than going out, only to realize your pantyhose have a run!)
Feet First Clinic carries compression gear exclusively from Sigvaris Group. They’re a high-end brand that focuses on curating compression therapy for anyone who needs it. These stockings are not like what you’ll find at the drug store; they’re medical grade and you’ll immediately feel the difference! Let’s look at some types of compression stockings from Sigvaris Group:
Knee-High Compression Stockings
Available in cotton, microfibre, merino wool and nylon, knee-high socks are excellent for everyday wear. They are available in compression levels ranging from 15-20 mmHg all the way up to 50-60mmHg.
For physically active people looking for faster recovery, performance enhancement and muscle pain relief, knee-high socks are the way to go! Knee-high socks are also the best choice for travellers, as socks are much easier to wear with a hassle-free outfit than thigh-highs or pantyhose.
Knee-high compression stockings are available in various fun colours and pattern options. From checkers to solid colours, you’ll be able to find a pair that matches your personality. Several varieties also come with padded soles for extra foot comfort.
Pantyhose / Thigh-High Compression Stockings
It’s wise to look for a compression stocking that reaches your thighs or waist if you need something that benefits the whole leg. This includes knee swelling or a need to boost circulation in the entire leg. Some people also get spider or varicose veins in their thighs, which would require a longer stocking.
A fashionable product that keeps your legs healthy, compression pantyhose are perfect for those on their feet and stuck at their desks. With available compression levels ranging from 15-20 mmHg to 30-40mmHg, they deliver the same benefits of knee-high stocking to the rest of your legs.
Universally pairing well with everyday, professional and dressy outfits, they come in a variety of colours and patterns, making them a great companion to your favourite skirt and dress. Compression pantyhose are also much more durable than regular hosiery, so you don’t have to stress about potentially ripping them. Likewise, they offer excellent tummy control – a healthy alternative to your Spanx.
For extra support during pregnancy, microfibre compression pregnancy pantyhose with 20-30 mmHg compression levels are also available. These exceptionally soft pantyhose help make pregnancy as comfortable as possible by targeting those nine months of discomfort, and the circulation issues that come with it.
Many people prefer thigh-high styles over pantyhose that go above the waist. Available in a variety of style options, thigh-highs offer the same benefits as pantyhose and can be easier to put on. They also add a sexy flair to your everyday style and have a grip top to keep them from sliding down.