Compression socks are one of the most popular treatments for tired legs and for swelling in the calves. These socks can help support healthy circulation and can help you increase your energy levels and lower your risk of getting blood clots. They can benefit those who work standing up a majority of the day, distance runners and older adults.
However, compression socks are not the best solution for everyone and some research suggests that incorrectly using them can be harmful. Here is what you should know about using compression socks and making sure you are not harming yourself by wearing them when you shouldn’t.
What are Compression Socks?
Your circulatory system works hard to pump fresh, oxygen-rich blood through your veins from your heart. Once the oxygen becomes distributed throughout your body, the blood is depleted and returns through other veins to get replenished. The blood in the veins in your legs needs to work against gravity to return back to the heart. Because of this, the veins and arteries in your legs are prone to getting weak and becoming inefficient. This is where compression socks and stockings can help.
Compression socks apply pressure on your ankles and calves. This gentle and continuous squeezing helps to support the veins in your legs as they work to send blood back up to your heart. Compression socks are recommended by prescription for people who have certain medical conditions. They are also popular over the counter for those who work standing up, frequent fliers and adults over the age of 65.
Are Compression Socks Bad for My Health?
Typically, compression socks are safe to wear when they are worn correctly. This doesn’t mean that they will be safe for everyone or that they are the right solution for every situation. Some people should not use compression socks, like those who have delicate or easily irritated skin. It is also important to make sure that your compression socks are properly fitted. There are a few risks that you should be aware of:
Can Compression Socks Cut Off Circulation?
Compression socks and stockings are meant to give you continuous pressure, which supports blood circulation. But when they do not fit properly, they can actually have the opposite effect and prevent blood from circulating in your legs.
Can Compression Socks Cause Chafing and Bruise Your Legs?
If you suffer from dry skin or travel in locations with dry air, your skin will be prone to chafing or scraping. People who have a compromised skin barrier might experience cuts, scrapes or bruises from using their compression socks. If compression socks or stockings are fitted properly, this is much less likely to occur.
Can Compression Socks Cause Itching, Redness or Irritation?
Compression socks can aggravate already existing skin irritation and cause itching. When compression socks are ill-fitted, redness and temporary dents in the skin can appear on your legs at the edge of the sock’s fabric.