Socks allow your feet a barrier between it and the interior surface of the shoe, which prevents friction-related irritations to the skin. The protective barrier that socks provide also keeps your feet dry. The wet and moist conditions within shoes are what can facilitate the formation of foot-related conditions. Without the drying ability of socks, many people would develop conditions like foot fungus, trench foot, and other foot-related infections.
To add another level of health benefits to socks, you can opt for compression socks. Compression socks provide all of the benefits described above in addition to supporting your circulation in your legs. The support compression socks offer can assist with supporting blood flow, reducing inflammation, and much more.
How Do They Work?
Compression socks are fairly basic in the way that they work. As the name entails, compression socks provide compression to the legs. The added pressure and support provided externally from the socks provide a better internal flow of fluids which includes the lymphatic fluid as well as the blood.
The most conventional way compression socks are used is to improve lower extremity blood circulation. When looking at the blood circulation of the body it is easy to understand why your lower extremities may need extra assistance that compression socks provide.
Looking specifically at the circulation of the legs: blood is pumped out of the heart where it travels through the aorta, arterioles, and eventually the capillaries in the legs and feet. The journey from the heart to the legs is a downhill journey where the direction of blood is the same direction that gravity is acting on the blood. It is the uphill climb back to the heart that requires added assistance.
To counteract this, veins have one-way valves that allow the movement in the upward direction and inhibit backflow. Extended periods of standing, having poor circulatory flow, and other conditions can wear on the vein walls and valves, which leads to the pooling of blood and ballooning of veins. The failing of these leads to what is known as varicose veins, which are also known as spider veins.
Compression socks give the vein walls assistance by providing counter-pressure. This counter-pressure adds support to the walls of the veins which is able to aid in circulation while also preventing venous wall stress-related issues.
An additional way compression socks help is to aid in your lower lymphatic system circulation. The lymphatic system consists of a series of ducts, lymph nodes, and lymphatic fluid. In the case of the lymphatic system, pooling of fluid can result in lymphedema and an appearance of swelling. Just like blood, compression socks are able to give a helping hand to push fluids back to the trunk of the body.
What Are the Benefits of Compression Socks?
Compression socks have many benefits, which is why many athletes, healthcare workers, and other professionals utilize compression socks. These benefits include helping with recovery, reducing swelling, and promoting healthy healing.
Recovery – Compression socks and compression leggings have been utilized by many as a means of supporting recovery. Typical muscle soreness arises from lactic acid buildup in muscles. The body rids the muscles of lactic acid through the circulatory system. Compression socks are able to increase circulation in the extremities and therefore are able to support proper recovery time.
Swelling – Many people who are on their feet for many hours a day have experienced swollen legs. Swelling occurs due to fluid pooling to the legs from the constant downward force of gravity. Compression socks are able to counteract some of this swelling by helping to improve circulation, thus pushing the fluid back up to the heart.
Promote Healing – Compression therapy is a commonly used aspect of compression wear in the healthcare setting. Both wound recovery and muscle recovery benefit from compression because it is able to reduce excessive inflammation and improve circulation to the site of injury.
When Should You Wear Compression Socks?
While it may be tempting to keep comfortable and supportive Hempvana Compression Socks on all the time, it is important to limit the utilization of the socks to wakeful hours of the day. In essence, it is not advised to wear compression socks to bed.
The reason compression socks should not be worn to bed is because of the decrease in pressure associated with having the legs in line with the heart while lying down. Compression socks are designed to counteract the effects of gravity on fluid buildup in the legs. When the legs are in line with the heart, pooling does not typically occur and hence the socks are not needed.
If the socks are left on they could potentially reduce blood supply to the lower limbs and lead to your feet falling asleep, or worse depending on the level of compression. If you are looking for a solution to swelling legs for sleep, a Hempvana Leg ramp is a much better option.
What Are the Different Types of Compression Socks?
Compression socks come in many variations of compression. The range is quite large with compression ranging from 8mmHg all the way to 40mm. The most commonly utilized and most beneficial for the everyday person are those that have graduated compression. Rather than having a compression sock that provides uniform pressure to the leg, graduated compression socks act by providing more pressure to the feet and gradually lessen the amount of compression as it moves up the leg. This is advantageous because it provides just the right amount of pressure where it is needed.
Some individuals with severe edema may require more pressure in the 40mmHg range. These compressions typically need a prescription and as such, you should see a doctor to determine the right compression level for your needs and goals. Graduated compression is a great over the counter solution to leg fatigue that will work for most people.
Best Materials for Compression Socks
While compression socks all provide comfort by adding compression to the legs and feet, they are not the same in the materials utilized to produce them. In order for compression socks to be effective, they need to be worn continuously during wakeful hours.
To accomplish this, a good compression sock needs to find a balance of longevity, comfort, and moisture-wicking capabilities. The best material to utilize to achieve these qualities is hemp. Hempvana has created our compression socks with a blend of hemp fibers which gives it all of these qualities.
Standard compression socks tend to be thick and retain moisture and heat. Compression socks with hemp allow for a thinner overall construction while providing comparable levels of compression. A thinner construction allows for Hempvana’s compression sock to be worn in the heat of summer without having to worry about your legs excessively sweating. In addition, the socks are anti-odor.
In summary, compression socks are socks specifically designed to offer your legs compression and support. Compression socks provide lasting benefits by assisting your blood and lymphatic fluids from pooling in the legs. This assistance is accomplished by giving support to your vein walls and pushing lymphatic fluid back toward the heart. The simple squeeze and pressure provided can help with recovery, reducing swelling, promoting your body’s natural healing process, all without breaking the bank.
Step up your sock game by stepping into a pair of compression socks and feel the amazing relief and comfort only compression can provide.