Poor circulation can be a painful problem to live with. In many instances, compression socks may be advised to help you deal with the discomfort it brings. Compression socks are widely regarded as an aid on long-distance flights to help maintain healthy blood flow to the extremities and avoid complications such as DVT (deep vein thrombosis). However, they’re not necessarily something many people would consider for daily life.
Here’s an overview of the circumstances in which our team of podiatrists may recommend wearing compression socks, and a summary of how they can aid a healthy lifestyle.
What Are Compression Socks?
Compression socks or stockings are specialist hosiery that gently applies pressure to your legs and feet to boost blood flow and reduce swelling. There are various grades, thicknesses and styles of compression socks, so it’s important to discuss your needs with a medical professional rather than buying ‘off the shelf’.
When Might Compression Socks Be Recommended?
During a regular chiropody appointment at Feet By Pody, we check the blood flow in your feet using a Doppler. A Doppler is a painless ultrasound that will detect any abnormalities with the blood flow in your arteries which can be indicators of serious conditions, such as blood clots or peripheral arterial disease.
If no major conditions are recorded, a Doppler may still highlight poor circulation. Poor circulation can be a result of a variety of different conditions and lifestyle choices, and can present itself in your feet as numbness or ‘pins and needle’ type sensations, ulcers, extreme dry skin, and cracked heels.
While making good lifestyle choices like quitting smoking, doing more exercise, or losing weight will all help boost healthy circulation, in some cases this may not be enough. Compression socks may be advised if:
- You are diabetic
A common symptom for people with diabetes is damage to the blood vessels. This can be extremely serious in the feet, as reduced sensations can lead to accidental injury. Boosting blood flow to your feet is of heightened importance, so diabetics will often be advised to wear compression socks on a daily basis to slow down the worsening of the condition. In this instance, compression socks should be put on first thing in the morning and worn all day, then removed for sleeping.
- You are pregnant
Although temporary, painful, swollen lower limbs and feet can be an uncomfortable symptom of pregnancy, especially in the later stages when your body is carrying more weight and more pressure is put upon your circulatory system. Often, mid-weight compression socks can relieve achy, tired, swollen legs and aid comfortable movement. They can also be useful in avoiding longer-term complications such as varicose veins.
- You have varicose veins
According to the NHS you may develop varicose veins for a variety of reasons, such as being overweight, having to regularly stand for long periods, or being female. They can cause severe pain and discomfort, but compression socks are often the first point of resolution before more serious treatment options, like surgery, are considered.
We recommend visiting a podiatrist every six months for a thorough MOT of your feet and lower limbs. Here at Feet By Pody, our professional team has years of experience recommending the right course of treatment for all foot ailments. If you’re suffering with poor circulation in your feet or you just want a general foot health check-up, contact Feet By Pody today or book an appointment online.