Hello Zebras and Spoonies!
Thanks for stopping by and visiting with me. Today I’m going to be talking about compression socks.
There are many medical conditions that benefit from compression therapy. Everything from blood pooling, edema, pain management and sensory needs can be helped with compression. The challenge is that our doctors often recommend getting compression socks but then we’re left solo trying to figure out which socks we should be wearing. If you’re new to compression socks, here’s my list of tips to help you find your perfect pair.
- TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE STARTING COMPRESSION GARMENTS OF ANY KIND. This is essential. It is important that you are assessed for arterial disease before using compression. Using compression when you have arterial disease can cause major problems, so go get checked.
- Compression socks that are sized incorrectly may actually increase the incidence of vascular disease and may even lead to skin breakdown so it is essential that you wear the correct size.
- You can have a professional help you get the right socks. You can have your doctor refer you to a vascular clinic or to physical therapy to have a fitting done. This is a way to be sure that your measurements are done correctly. However, not all insurance companies cover these types of appointments. The up side is that it can be done in a single appointment.
- If you measure your own legs, make sure you follow good measurement guidelines like those explained here.
- Buy socks that the size is based on measurements of your leg rather than your shoe size. This is because it is pretty much impossible to get the right sized sock based on your shoe size.
- Make sure the socks you buy indicate that they are graduated compression. This means that it is tighter at the toes than at the top of the sock. This is an important feature for improving the blood flow in your leg.
- The amount of compression makes a difference. If your doctor is prescribing these, they should include the strength of compression. If they don’t, be sure to ask them. If you are trying compression on your own, start out with the lower compression and work your way up. Many brands of socks offer compression as low as 5 and 10. If you go with 40 or above, you really should have your doctor involved because this amount of compression can be damaging if the sock doesn’t fit properly. So, with the high compression it really is essential to get a professional fitting.
- The brand of the sock does matter. Cheaper compression garments don’t do as well with making a consistent product and don’t have as even compression.
- Style of sock can make a big difference. If your doctor is prescribing them, the script should indicate if they are recommending knee high, thigh high or tights. If you’re getting them on your own, knee high is a good place to start. If you are really short or really tall, you might have to do a combo of socks and leggings to get the full coverage that you would get from tights. This is a trial and error process.
- When you are trying a new sock, get just one or two pairs and try them out for a while. These socks are expensive and you don’t want to waste your money on buying a bunch of pairs only to discover that they aren’t going to work for you. Especially since they often cannot be returned.
- Once you have found a brand and style of sock that works for you, buy several pairs. Having numerous pairs means that they won’t wear out as quickly and it’s a good idea to buy them while they are available. You never know when a company is going to change it’s product line.
- I personally recommend Sockwell as a good starting sock. They are a mid range price, high quality sock that fits to measure.
- Just know that finding the right brand and style of sock for you will take trial and error. This can be a long and expensive process. This is important to know going into this.
- Before you start out on your compression sock hunting journey, talk with your insurance company and see what they require to cover compression socks. Some companies only cover certain brands. Others require that you order them through a medical provider. It’s important to know what their requirements are before you start the process or it is likely that you will miss a step along the way and they will deny your claim.
I personally love my compression garments. They have improved my pain and my POTS symptoms as well as providing me with deep pressure therapy which is helpful with the ADHD symptoms. I think they have been worth the challenge of finding the right garments as well as their cost. That being said, compression therapy tends to be something that you either love or you hate.
Good luck in your journey!