While most people start wearing compression socks when advised by a doctor to do so, they are actually helpful for a multitude of different reasons. It is best not to think of compression socks as a prescription for a doctor prescribed problem, but rather, compression socks can be worn for general well-being, and to help alleviate pains associated with pregnancy, grueling workouts, strenuous walks, or travel. Provided you are comfortable while wearing them, there are no downsides to using them daily.
How Compression Socks Work
If you wanted to know how compression socks work, try to imagine using a straw so big that you can barely get your mouth around it to suck up some water from a glass. When the straw is that big, it is very hard to suck up and move the water. This is similar to how the blood vessels work in your legs, because regularly the piping is quite large, however, when you use compression socks, the blood vessels are constricted. When they are constricted this way, the passage is smaller, and easier to pump up to your heart. This improved circulation also affects the lymph fluids in your legs, all in all leading to less achiness and swelling, as well as a reduction in fatigue.
Rating Compression Socks
Additionally, the way compression socks are rated is based on millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). This rating system uses mercury to determine the change of blood pressure while using the socks. A moderate rating for socks would be between 10 to 20 mm Hg, and a firm rating would be between 20 to 30 mm Hg. Very rarely will you need to have a rating higher than 30, but if you are in the market for some, there are specialty shops that sell these types of compression socks. The most common type of compression socks are graduated compression socks, and they are made to be tighter near the ankle to provide stable circulation throughout.
Don’t sleep in Compression Socks
While you can use compression socks for a variety of activities, it is not recommended to sleep in them unless prescribed by your doctor. The compression positively affects blood flow when you are vertical, but when lying horizontally they can constrict blood flow to the point where your heart can no longer pump effectively
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