Compression socks are medical hosiery, designed to provide extra support and increase blood circulation in the leg. They are also called compression stockings, or support socks and are often recommended by doctors for individuals with frequently swollen legs and ankles, varicose veins, insufficient circulation and blood clots.
Throughout an average day, the body pumps blood to all of the extremities as equally as it can. Gravity, however, often causes blood to pool in the lower legs and feet, causing circulatory problems such as swelling of the feet or veins and blood clot. This blood pooling can cause fatigue, leg cramps, varicose veins and spider veins. The main purpose of compression socks is to provide graduated pressure on the leg and foot to increase blood circulation. By compressing the surface veins, arteries and muscles, the circulating blood is forced through narrower channels. The arterial pressure is increased, causing more blood to return to the heart and less blood to pool in the feet. Compression socks are tightest at the ankles, gradually become less constrictive towards the knees.
Although compression socks were originally marketed to those with compromised circulatory systems, many people now find their everyday use beneficial. Athletes or active people benefit from compression socks as it provides their leg muscles additional support while running or jumping. Those with occupations requiring long periods of standing may also benefit from the use of compression socks as it will make the feet feel less sore and tired. During long periods of immobility when it is impossible to move about and flex the legs, blood pools in the legs and may form clots which can be life threatening, so it it helpful for those who are inactive or who do a lot of sitting down for long periods.
The stockings are available in different ranges of pressure. It is important to consult with a physician about the level of pressure needed for specific conditions so the right type can be purchased and used correctly. Compression socks comes in crew length, knee high, thigh highs, panty hose, close and open toes.
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