Can Compression Socks Cure Varicose Veins?

You may have run into them on your last Amazon search for winter wool socks: compression socks. What are they though? Compression socks can be prescribed by a doctor or bought over the counter as "smart" socks that distribute pressure through your feet, ankles, and calves. They are recommended for anyone over the age of 65, and they aim to relieve muscle fatigue by helping your veins pump blood more efficiently. They can also potentially prevent various vein conditions such as varicose veins. Let's learn all about them.

What Are Compression Socks?

Compression socks
Compression socks can be open-foot as in the picture above, or closed-foot like any other sock. They apply light pressure on the legs in order to promote blood flow from leg veins back to your heart.

Your heart pumps out warm, oxygen-rich blood. After finishing its route through your legs, the blood that circulates back into the heart for oxygenation has to flow up against gravity on its way to its destination. This happens by contracting calf muscles and a series of one-way vein valves.

There are several reasons for damaged valves, the main one is old age. Damaged valves lead to blood backtracks and pools around the damaged valves. Compression socks help support your veins. 
Dr. Caroline Novak will explain how the socks may help with varicose veins:

What are the Health Benefits?

Compression socks
Compressions socks' purpose is to boost blood circulation in your legs. They offer support to the muscles and veins and by doing so they may:​​
  • Prevent blood from pooling in your leg veins.
  • Reduce swelling.
  • Prevent ulcers.
  • Prevent blood clots.
  • Relieve varicose veins pain.
  • Reduce pressure inside veins (venous hypertension).
  • Improve lymphatic drainage.
There are three types of compression socks:
Graduated compression stockings. These are given by prescription. They apply the strongest pressure around your ankles, gradually loosening towards your knees. These help with swelling that is caused by fluid buildup.

Anti-embolism stockings. These are given by prescription. They reduce the possibility of deep vein blood clots (otherwise known as deep vein thrombosis) and are designed for people who aren't mobile. People who are bed-bound or are in a wheelchair will benefit the most.

Nonmedical support hosiery. These can be purchased over the counter in any pharmacy or medical store. They apply uniform pressure throughout the leg, which is generally weaker than a prescribed compression sock. They relieve tired and aching legs, are recommended for pregnant women, people who fly a lot, and people who stand up all day. Athletes also use them for a more efficient workout. 

What are the Risks?

Compression socks
If your compression socks do not fit perfectly, they can prevent blood from circulating to the leg. 
People with extremely dry, sensitive, or irritated skin should avoid the use of compression socks. Here are some tips to manage and avoid risks:
  • Have your prescription socks professionally fitted. When losing or gaining weight, have them refitted. 
  • Check your skin daily for signs of irritation or redness. 
  • Hand-wash and hang to dry to prolong the life of the socks.
  • Dispose of the socks after 30 daily wears. 
  • Use a new clean pair every day. 

Enjoy these additional tips and information from vascular surgeons:


Source: Healthline, Healthline

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