Compression Socks for Nurses: A Guide

The human body is a marvel of evolution. All the feats of engineering humanity have created often pale in comparison to the complexity of our interior functions. But it is a sad truth that our bodies, while incredible, are delicate and prone to damage as we age. And our legs are no exception to this. Tasked with carrying out bodyweight around all day and competing against gravity, our legs are a powerhouse that needs love and care.

And one profession that works harder than most is nurses. These frontline heroes spend all day on their feet. They rush about a busy, hectic hospital making sure all the patients receive the care they need. And, as a nurse, it can be all too easy to put aside your own pain and discomfort during a work shift. This generous and heroic mindset is admirable but can lead to some serious issues. Fortunately there are plenty of good compression socks for nursing available that will help you by giving you extra support through graduated compression.

Edema and Other Issues

Any profession, not just nursing, that requires you to spend a lot of time on your feet is filled with risks to your legs. Edema (the medical term for swelling) is a very common issue that is often overlooked and can lead to complications down the line. Circulatory issues. Blood clots. Pain and discomfort and other problems related to blood flow. These are all conditions that can occur if your legs are left neglected and not given the right level of support during your long hours of work.

Like nurses, athletes face similar issues, but one of the methods they have adopted to counter this is the use of compression socks.

Should Nurses Wear Compression Socks?

As a nurse, you are most likely already aware of compression socks. But if not, let us fill you in. Compression socks, or stockings, are exactly what they sound like. They are socks that use varying amounts of compression on the legs to boost circulation and help reduce Edema and other issues that might occur.

The human veins have a special valve that stops blood falling back down the leg once it starts its trek up. But these valves can become damaged over time and this will make it increasingly difficult for your legs to circulate the blood while stood upright. This leads to varicose veins and other issues, alongside causing a lot of pain.

Compression socks work by encouraging the blood flow upwards, assisting the body's natural functions. They do this by applying more pressure closer to the ankles. As you go further up the leg, the socks reduce this pressure creating a natural flow of blood up the leg.

While compression socks are often prescribed by doctors to patients who need them, you do not have to be suffering from Edema or any circulatory issues to make use of them. They can be worn as a precautionary measure to simply reduce the natural strain put on your legs during a busy work shift.

What Compression Socks are Best for a Nurse

It isn’t as simple as slapping on any old pair of compression socks nurses can put on and wearing them for your entire shift. If your legs don’t suffer from any pre-existing issues, like issues with blood circulation, then wearing socks that are too tight can cause more problems then they solve. There are a few different types of compression sock, so you will want to pick one that best suits you and the type of shift you are working, especially if you work long hours.

The best compression socks for nurses are Over-the-calf compression socks are well suited for anyone who is working a slow, short shift. These socks will boost circulation a bit, but don’t target the lower leg areas that much. If you are finding your feet and legs are a bit stiff but not hurting, these could be a good choice.

The most popular choice of compression sock for nurses is mid-rise compression. These socks cut off around midway up the calf and focus their efforts on the feet and ankles, where most swelling issues occur. These socks are best suited for long, intense shifts at the hospital. They aren’t tight enough that they will cause you pain but offer the most support in terms of compression sock.

It is important that you rotate through your nurses compression socks and wash them thoroughly between uses. It is important that you do not wear them to bed either or while laying down. If you have any concerns, do not be afraid to seek out more advice from fellow medical practitioners

Size Guide
OTC Compression Socks
XS
S
M
L
Women’s US Shoe Size

5 – 7

7.5 – 9.5

10 – 12

Men’s US Shoe Size

6 – 8

8.5 – 10.5

11 – 13

Calf Circumference

26 – 34 cm

30 – 38 cm

34 – 42 cm

38 – 46 cm

Crew Compression Socks
XS
S
M
L
Women's US Shoe Size

5 – 7

7.5 – 9.5

10 – 12

Men's US Shoe Size

6 – 8

8.5 – 10.5

11 – 13

Compression Sleeves
XS
S
M
L
Calf Circumference

27 – 31 cm

32 – 36 cm

37 – 41 cm

42 – 46 cm

Tees
XS
S
M
L
XL
Body Width
16"
18"
20"
22"
24"
Body Length
27"
28"
29"
30"
31"
Sleeve Length
7"
7.50"
8"
8.25"
8.50"