Zakka Lab

Choose the right Socks for your Swollen Feet

Swelling of the legs and feet often occur due to edema, diabetes, or foot injury, all of which can be extremely uncomfortable with the wrong footwear. Podiatrists and chiropodists recommend specialist socks for such cases to eliminate the restriction that could cut off the flow of blood. If you are struggling with aches resulting from swelling, appropriate socks can be a game changing addition to your wardrobe.  

There are several measures that can be employed, some as aggressive as surgery to repair blocked drainage system. The most popular solution to swollen feet is the snug-fitting compression socks. Compression socks are non-invasive and are readily available.  

These socks use granulated pressure, vital for increasing the flow of blood to the lower extremities. Compression socks, when worn all day, can reduce and prevent swelling associated with disease, standing/sitting for long or traveling.  

Compression Levels Right For Your Feet 

Compression socks are medical grade devices designed to boost the flow of blood to and from your feet. They come in different lengths. For instance, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) sufferers would require socks that go below the knee, but there are also thigh-high varieties. Although these socks should feel snug, they should not be painfully tight.   

Measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), these come in multiple support levels from mild, medium, firm, and x-firm.  

  • Mild compression (8-15 mmHg) – Provides relief to achy legs and relieves minor swelling of feet, ankles, and legs. 
  • Medium (15-20 mmHg) – Gives relief to moderate varicose veins and minor swelling of the feet. It also helps in the prevention of deep vein thrombosis. 
  • Firm (20-30 mmHg) – Relieves moderate to severe varicose veins and helps in the treatment of severe edema.  
  • Extra firm (30-40 mmHg) – Helps in the prevention of severe varicose veins and treats severe edema. 

Compression therapy stockings should be put on in the morning before swelling occurs and then removed before getting to bed at night. The pressure exerted on the legs by the stockings causes your blood vessels to work better. Arteries responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood to the muscles also relax, allowing for a free flow of blood.  

When worn during the day, blood is prevented from pooling in legs and forming a clot. Understand that clots can break and be carried by the blood to your vital organs such as lungs.  Should the clot travel to the deep veins, pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening condition can set in.  

Before purchasing these graduated stockings, it is advisable that you get a recommendation from your doctor to get the right grade.  

How should you Wear Compression Stockings? 

Compression stockings must be smoothed out to ensure they lie against your skin. Do not roll them because doing so could cause blood flow problems. Folding or rolling can also cut off circulation. If you have serious swelling issues and your doctor recommends them, wear the socks throughout the day but take them off when you shower or when going to sleep.  

Compression Stocking Styles 

High-quality compression stockings offer maximum pressure to your legs from the ankle to the upper calf. Style is a variable to consider, given that they range from ankle-high to full height. People with knee pain, for instance, will want to choose thigh-high stockings while those suffering from heel pain will select the foot-sleeve variety.  

Here, we discuss the 2 best compression socks that offer firm pressure without sagging, yet are comfortable and effective. 

1. Knee-high Compression Stockings 

These socks come in a variety of thicknesses. You can find them in ultra-thin sheer pantyhose material or thick cotton. They are available in the open and closed versions and come in varying colors.  

 2. Thigh High Compression Socks 

These are worn when compression is needed on either one or both legs. They also come in variations of closed and open toe options with varying colors and fabrics to choose from. 

What to Consider when Buying Socks for your Swollen Feet 

Materials used in socks vary by brand. The three most common are spandex, rubber, and Lycra. Personal comfort is vital, so try each to make a perfect pick. Specialist socks are made from cotton and nylon and can make a huge difference for people suffering from swollen feet.  

Time invested in selecting the right type of socks is vital. Here are some of the features you need to pay attention to: 

  • Non-elastic and non-constrictive top: Regular socks have elastic which can leave sock marks and cause discomfort and pain. With swollen feet, purchase socks with a loose nonconstrictive mesh to ensure blood flow is not restricted.  
  • Fitting socks: The socks must fit your shoe size and should contain extra material to accommodate the swollen foot.  
  • Cushion sole: Get socks with padding to reduce irritation on your sensitive pressure points such as the ankle or the sole of your foot.  The socks should have the right cushioning. Too much cushioning can also be very uncomfortable.  
  • Breathable socks: Purchase socks made from natural fiber such as merino wool or cotton for proper air circulation around your feet. This will prevent the occurrence of blisters and irritation.  
  • Seamless toe socks: A lot of modern socks have seams across the area surrounding the toe. The seams can irritate, especially if you have swollen feet. The socks you buy should have a flat seam. 

What should you do about your Swollen Feet? 

The first measure is to check with a medical expert. Swollen feet can be a signal of a serious underlying condition such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. If you are already diagnosed with diabetes, here are a few cautions to observe.  

  • Never walk barefoot 
  • Do not cross your legs while sitting. Doing so can reduce the circulation of blood to your feet 
  • Only wear socks and shoes with the features recommended for diabetics 
  • Wear fitting footwear. The shoes you wear must not put pressure to your feet 

If you have an illness that is leading to the swelling and have not had treatment, compression socks cannot be used as a diagnosis before a physician is consulted. While occasional sore feet are common, swollen feet must not be ignored especially when just one leg has the swelling.  

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