How to Use Compression Socks for Swelling and Edema

When it comes to caring for ourselves and keeping an eye on our bodies, it can be difficult to know every possible ailment we have to look out for. There is so much the average person is unaware of and this can lead to a lot of issues down the line. So staying informed and educated is vital.

One of the lesser-known, but potentially dangerous medical conditions, that anyone could face relates to edema. Edema is the medical term for swelling and is often used to describe swelling that can cause lasting circulatory and blood flow issues if not dealt with properly. Far different from your normal swelling when you bump into a table, edema is often persistent, painful and can lead to greater issues down the line

When it comes to our legs, edema is a serious threat and one that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible, and one of the ways we can reduce the symptoms is to wear compression socks.

Edema and its Causes

Edema is not a typical ailment, it has a number of different causes and can affect almost anyone. Swelling is caused when excess fluid becomes trapped within the skin. This fluid build-up causes pain, discomfort, and can cause permanent damage to veins.

Some of the more common causes of swelling within the legs (or anywhere on the body) are injuries, such as blunt force trauma. Allergic reactions can also cause swelling within the legs. Most people often associate allergies with food and the throat. But not all allergies are food-related and the way an allergic reaction shows itself can vary from person to person.

Some less common, but more serious causes, include kidney and liver failure or issues relating to diabetes. If you have any history of these issues or family history of it, it is worth mentioning to your family doctor.

Pregnancy is another state of being that can cause swelling, especially in the feet and ankles. The excess weight and strain caused by pregnancy are well known but because of that people often assume it’ll be fine eventually. Many pregnant individuals aren’t aware that you can use compression socks to help during pregnancy.

But what exactly are compression socks? And how can they be used to assist in reducing swelling?

How Compression Socks Helps with Edema

Compression socks are specially designed socks that helps ease swelling, improves circulation, and reduces the pain and discomfort caused by edema. They work by applying pressure low down on the leg, near the ankles, and this pressure lessens higher up the leg.

This pressure assists in circulation by encouraging the fluids to travel back up the leg. While standing, gravity is working against you and can put a strain on your veins. Poor circulation can lead to issues, such as varicose veins. So compression socks provide valuable assistance to your body’s natural functions.

If you notice any symptoms of edema, such as pain, discomfort, or discoloration in your legs or veins, make an appointment with your doctor immediately. They might prescribe your compression socks.

If they do, they will take your measurements and run a few tests on your legs to determine what size and type you need. They will provide you a few pairs. It is very important that you cycle through them and are washing them regularly as well. You don’t want to add infections to your already compromised legs.

Wearing Compression Socks

Compression socks slide onto your feet and legs like any normal sock. They will feel different though and require some time to get used to. That feeling is perfectly normal, but if you are unsure don’t hesitate to ask your doctor.

Compression socks are not a medical cure in the traditional sense. They are designed to assist bodily functions as opposed to repair. To that end, you will find wearing them may not be a one and done situation. You may have to wear them for weeks, months, or even years. In some cases, a patient may have to wear compression socks for edema the rest of their life.

When Should You Wear Compression Socks?

In terms of a day-to-day basis, it is highly recommended you put your compression socks on before you even step out of bed in the morning. While sleeping, gravity is not working against you and your legs will be able to circulate the blood easier. But the moment you stand up, your body is working against gravity. So having the socks on before that is a huge help. Do not sleep with your compression socks on.

How Long Should You Wear Compression Socks for Edema?

It can be confusing to know how long to wear compression socks for edema and, as a rule, you should defer to the advice and guidance of your doctor. When they prescribe you compression socks, they will most likely go through a time scale with you and call you back in after a few weeks for a check-up. It is important to note, however, that should you experience pain and discomfort while wearing compression socks, you should book an appointment straight away and have your legs checked. It could be an issue with the socks being ill-fitted or too tight, which presents its own issues.

How Compression Socks Boosts Circulation to Reduce Swelling

Compression socks will boost circulation and you should notice the benefits of this soon after wearing them. You should notice any swelling you previously had should lessen, especially in the ankles. The color of your skin and veins should return to normal and you should be able to walk normally without any pain or discomfort. It is important to note you shouldn’t ignore any new or different injuries to your leg while wearing compression socks.

As with any medical issues and concerns, independent research is useful, but always seek advice from a licensed doctor.

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"