Can Compression Socks Cause Swelling?

You have been using compression socks for quite some time now. Perhaps you use it for running or because you know that it is suitable for avoiding the growth of varicose or spider veins. It could be due to pregnancy or a past surgery; that is why you once had worn a pair of compression stockings.
But for whatever reason you have this legwear, there is always that nagging question in your head about side effects since those socks aren’t your typical everyday footwear.

1. Do Compression Socks Cause Swelling

To answer this nagging question that may be bothering you, the answer is, “NO.” Compression socks help reduce the swelling. On the flip side, there are instances that it may cause swelling or undesirable alter effect if you wear the wrong pair.
Here are the possible reactions:
  • Poor circulation - too tight socks may cause poor circulation by constricting the veins too much.
  • Pain - when there's too much constriction around the feet or legs, you may feel discomfort due to the stress the socks are creating.
  • Numbness or pins and needles - when there's too much pressure, it can desensitize the veins causing pins and needles.
  • Unexplained joint pains mainly at the knees - the body produces Synovial fluid. Synovial fluid provides cushion, protection, and lubrication to the knees, elbows, and all other joints in the body. When compression is too much, it restrains this fluid from flowing correctly, which triggers pain in the joints.
  • Spasm of the whole feet and legs - following the logic of too much compression, when there's too much pressure, it can induce stress, pain, and fatigue which causes twitching of the muscles on the legs and feet.
  • Swelling at the lower extremities - applying too much pressure restricts fluid and blood flow, causing the legs, feet, and ankles to swell.
  • Growth of corn and calluses - imagine wearing tight shoes. This is the same with compression socks. If the socks or stockings are too tight, there is a strong possibility for corn and calluses to grow.
  • Rashes and irritation happen - because the socks are already dirty or just sticking too much in the skin. If your skin is too sensitive, look for hypoallergenic materials and, of course, wash them regularly.
Remember, all these reactions are like a domino effect when you wear compression socks too tight for you. On the other hand, loose-fitting compression socks will not do your feet and legs any good.

2. The Perfect Compression Socks is the Right Fit

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How can you tell if the compression socks or stockings you have are the right fit for you? These are the things that you have to consider:
  • Compression legwear is a tight fabric that makes it difficult to wear. Although if it's a struggle for you just to put your feet in, better have it changed.
  • It shouldn't roll down to your ankles or bunch up. It may be too loose.
  • Instead of relieving your pain, it causes you discomfort. The pair that you have may be too tight.
  • The most telling of all that it's not the right fit is if you feel sore and your feet are actually inflamed.

3. Best Practices When Wearing Compression Legwear

  • If you are getting over-the-counter compression socks or stockings, make sure it is the correct size for you.
  • If you need medical-grade compression socks, do not buy a second-hand one. Also, make sure that you have your compression legwear fitted by a health professional.
  • Regularly check your skin and apply a water-based moisturizer if necessary to prevent irritation.
  • Carefully follow instructions from the manufacturer or your doctor.
  • Have more than two pairs so you can change and wash them every day.
  • Never dry clean or throw in the washer and dryer. Always hand wash your compression socks.
  • Dispose of them if the fitting is already loose.
Reactions will only happen if you wear the wrong pair of compression socks. Hopefully, this will have answered your dilemma about compression socks. Don’t forget that the perfect fit will not make your feet swell.

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