Unlike other typical socks, the "pressure socks," commonly known as compression socks, don't only keep you comfortable but can also help preserve your health. They are snug legwear that improves fluid circulation and prevents unnecessary fluid buildup in your legs. They also prevent health problems like blood clots and leg swelling in seniors.
What Are "Pressure Socks"?
The pressure socks are socks of various lengths designed to gently squeeze your legs and ankles more than the standard socks. They prevent fluid retention in the lower parts of the leg that causes swelling. The pressure socks help prevent the formation of blood clots and are mostly prescribed to individuals with spider veins, varicose veins or those who undergo surgery.
If you wear the pressure socks properly and regularly, they can help you treat vascular conditions such as post-thrombotic syndrome, deep vein thrombosis and chronic venous insufficiency.
Sometimes, shifting body fluid from some body parts, especially the legs, may not work perfectly fine for all. It can be problematic, particularly for people with liver disease or heart failure. Compression is not a good idea for individuals living with active infections and peripheral arterial disease because it may restrict blood flow, leading to more health complications.
Do you need a prescription to buy pressure socks with low compression levels? Not really. But if you have some of the aforementioned complications, you may need a prescription or medical advice before buying pressure socks that are likely to give you high-level compression. The prescription will help you get pressure socks of the right type and length to minimize your risks of other contradictions.
Types of "Pressure Socks" and Their Benefits
The compression (pressure) socks are made of elastic fabric. They come in different types and lengths to meet different needs. The common types of compression socks are:
1. Graduated Compression Socks
Graduated compression stockings offer the strongest compression level at the ankle but gradually become loose towards the top. They are medically designed to meet particular strengths and lengths for medical reasons.
The graduated compression stockings that end at or below the knee are used to limit lower leg swelling or peripheral edema. The stockings that extend above the knee help to prevent orthostatic hypotension and reduce retention of blood in the legs.
2. Non-Medical Support Hosiery
These types of socks have less compression, which is consistent throughout their length. They give relief to the aching, heavy and tired legs. Although they may not meet the technical and medical specifications, they may benefit people who take frequent and long flights, the pregnant, and people who spend long hours on their feet. You don't require any prescription to purchase these types of socks.
3. Anti-embolism Compression Stockings
These are stockings often used by patients who are not mobile. They provide a strong level of compression depending on the specific reason for use. They are designed to prevent deep vein thrombosis or prevent blood clots by pushing the blood from the legs to the heart. You require a prescription when purchasing or wearing these types of socks.
What Factors Should You Consider When Buying Pressure Socks?
Tightness: Low pressure socks help with aching and mild swelling legs. Med-level compression can treat sports injuries and varicose veins. The high compression socks help in deep vein thrombosis, lymphedema, and severe edema.
Length: Pressure socks come in different lengths, such as thigh-high, knee-high, and full-length styles. Your appropriate length will depend on your specific needs.
Comfort and Fit: If not on medical grounds, you should choose pressure socks that feel secure but not very tight.
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