People wear compression stockings for comfort, to do better in sports, and to help prevent serious medical conditions.
Basically, they improve your blood flow. They can lessen pain and swell in your legs. They can also lower your chances of getting deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a kind of blood clot, and other circulation problems.
What are they?
Compression stockings are specially made, snug-fitting, stretchy socks that gently squeeze your leg. Graduated compression or pressure stockings are tighter around your ankle and get looser as they move up your leg. Compression sleeves are just the tube part, without the foot.
Who uses them?
- People with or at risk for circulation problems, like DVT, varicose veins, or diabetes
- People who've just gotten surgery
- Those who can't leave their bed or have a hard time moving their legs
- People who stand all day at work
- Pregnant women
- People who spend long stretches of time on airplanes, like pilots
What do they do?
The pressure these stockings put on your legs helps your blood vessels work better. The arteries that take oxygen-rich blood to your muscles can relax, so blood flows freely. The veins get a boost pushing blood back to your heart.
Compression stockings can keep your legs from getting tired and achy. They can also ease swelling in your feet and ankles as well as help prevent and treat spider and varicose veins. They may even stop you from feeling light-headed or dizzy when you stand up.
Because the blood keeps moving, it's harder for it to pool in your veins and make a clot. If one forms and breaks free, it can travel with your blood and get stuck somewhere dangerous, like your lungs. Clots also make it harder for blood to flow around them, and that can cause swelling, discolored skin, and other problems.
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