As we go about normal daily activities, our body circulates blood to our extremities fairly equally. However, as the day continues, that old culprit gravity kicks in causing blood to pool heavily in the lower legs and feet. Chronic blood pooling can lead to such conditions as edema, thrombosis, phlebitis, and lesser complaints of cramps, varicose veins and recurring leg fatigue. Elevating the feet can temporarily alleviate these symptoms, but they usually return after a short time.
Many are finding relief from the use of compression socks (sometimes called support socks). This begs the question: are all socks created equal? Even a good sport sock can provide some compression but not on a therapeutic level. By any measure, regular socks cannot compete with the health benefits of a good pair of compression socks. The secret is found in graduated pressure that constricts more intensely at the ankles and lessens toward the knees. By compressing surface veins, arteries and muscles, arterial pressure is increased and more blood begins to flow back toward the heart. Compression stockings are made of stronger elastics like spandex and rubber designed to provide additional support and encourage good blood circulation. They are graded by degree of compression and some styles include additional padding for use when walking or running.
These socks have traditionally been utilized by sufferers of serious circulatory ailments, but a variety of more common uses and applications exists. Athletes wear compression socks for their usefulness in aiding recovery and limiting muscle soreness after intense workouts like marathons and endurance events. For the rest of us mere mortals who would not compete well in the Iditarod, compression socks have endless everyday applications. Blood pooling is often a particular problem for those with jobs that demand long periods of standing or walking. Compression socks are often thought to be more beneficial for reducing leg fatigue than ergonomic floor mats for those that must stand for prolonged intervals.
Other therapeutic uses of compression socks vary from those recovering from sprained or twisted ankles, other bone, joint or muscle injuries to swelling commonly caused by pregnancy or circulatory complications that arise during extended car or plane rides. Compression socks offer a non-invasive, easy and affordable remedy for those who suffer with general leg and circulation problems. They are invaluable at helping people defy gravity and conquer the effects of leg fatigue.