Compression socks : when should they be worn?

Compression socks

Standing for a long time, air travel, blood circulation disorders, venous pathologies… Find out when it is recommended to wear support socks, how to choose the right size and how to put them on correctly.

Compression socks

Photo Ketut Subiyanto in Pexels

The benefits of compression stockings and socks depend mainly on the level of the compression class. It has been scientifically proven that compression socks provide..:

  • promote venous return, thus avoiding stasis and venous reflux
  • reduce swelling
  • increase blood flow
  • improve symptoms related to prolonged standing

We must distinguish between restriction and compression, which are often confusing terms in common language. Restraint is made of non-elastic materials and therefore acts passively by opposing the increase in muscle volume.

In contrast, compression is carried out with elastic materials and therefore exerts a constant force both at rest and during effort.

Support socks: when to wear them?

Compression or support socks are intended for use in the treatment of venous and/or lymphatic diseases and their complications.

The indications depend on the compression exerted by the sock on the lower limb. The pressures exerted are divided into four classes (from 1 to 4, from the least to the most compressive).

For example, class 2 compression socks can be used in the following cases:

  • in the post-operative and post-sclerotherapy of varicose veins
  • during venous symptoms (pain, discomfort, cramps) related to pregnancy
  • in situations that disrupt venous hemodynamics (such as long flights, prolonged standing)

Class 3 compression socks can be worn:

  • in the case of varicose veins
  • in the post-operative and post-sclerotherapy of varicose veins
  • in case of chronic venous edema
  • in case of trophic disorders (pigmentation and eczema), chronic disorders (lipodermatosclerosis, venous hypodermis and white atrophy)
  • in case of treatment of venous thrombosis superficielle of the lower limb
  • for the treatment of acute deep vein thrombosis in the acute phase
  • in the prevention of post-thrombotic syndrome
  • in case of lymphedema

Wearing class 2 and 3 compression socks has been shown to reduce symptoms associated with prolonged standing, as is the case in certain professions (nurses, tradesmen, etc.).

Sedentarism is a risk factor for the development of chronic diseases such as venous diseases. “The percentage of individuals who show sedentary behavior is alarming, as half of adolescents aged 11 to 14, two-thirds of adolescents aged 15 to 17 and more than 80% of adults aged 18 to 79 are concerned,” says Dr. Olivier Joassard.

Wearing support socks at night: good or bad idea?

It is not advisable to wear compression socks at night. In fact, the calf can be considered to be at the heart of the venous system: the return of venous blood is ensured by the calf pump under the effect of muscle contractions when the person is standing.

On the other hand, when lying down, the pressure on the lower limbs is very low and the calf muscles are less stressed.

In some cases, however, it is possible to use non-elastic compression bands at night.

Choose the size of the sock or support sock

The choice of compression socks is made according to the prescription of the doctor who evaluates the type of product and the kind of compression required.

Rigorous measurement by the pharmacist or orthopedist is essential to obtain the size corresponding to the patient’s morphology.

Ideally, a tape measure should be taken in the morning to avoid swelling of the legs while the patient is standing.

Two or even three measurements of circumference should be taken:

  • at the thinnest part of the ankle
  • at the widest part of the calf (for knee/sock height)
  • The widest part of the thigh (for socks/tags)

In addition, a height must be measured: either the height from the ground to the popliteal gap (for socks/socks to the knee), or the height from the ground to the crotch (for socks/socks).

Once these measurements have been collected, reference should be made to the manufacturer’s table.

If the patient cannot be adjusted to a predefined size, especially if the measurements deviate from the standard, then custom manufacturing is the best solution for the patient in this case.

In all cases, an adaptation of the product is essential, and allows the health professional to give practical advice on how to put on and care for the product. Finally, it is necessary to repeat the measurements every time the socks are changed.

How do I put on my compression socks?

Compression socks are worn in the morning, in a sitting position. It is advisable to put the product on a dry skin and remove any jewelry that could damage the product.

The steps to put them on:

  • turn the sock on itself by pinching the heel
  • Thread the foot up to the heel, making sure the foot is well positioned.
  • Unroll the sock or stocking evenly along the leg, adjusting it without pulling, with slight movements from right to left to avoid wrinkles.
  • Massage the leg from bottom to top to help the tissue fall into place and erase the creases.

Reimbursement of support stockings

Gibaud’s socks/socks/labels, for example, are medical devices because they meet the specifications of the List of Reimbursable Goods and Services (LPPR).

In this case, venous compression socks are covered up to 60% of the PBDA reimbursement amount, provided they are prescribed by a physician and, under certain conditions, by a nurse or physical therapist.

The remaining 40% is covered by the mutual insurance company.

Other Options:

You can also get digital health manuals on this topic at Amazon, WalMart, Costco, Sams Club, Carrefour,  alibaba, eBay, Aliexpress, Zappos, Target, Newegg, Etsy, My American Market, Macy’s, Staples , MyKasa. Each of these manuals can be found in great online offers.

In big seasons they offer big discounts on health supplements.

In addition, you can find free health apps from Google Play or in the App Store.

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