How Does Compression Reduce Swelling After an Injury?

If you are an athlete or into sports, you may have given 110% in your field of sport. However, when you push yourself to the limit, injuries are unavoidable. You must’ve injured yourself several times before.
On the other hand, if you aren’t into sports but work out in the gym or just run, jog, or brisk walk, there may be instances that you trip and experience the same injuries as these athletes do. It can happen.
Having a twisted ankle, a sprain, plantar fasciitis, or knee injuries do require a therapy that requires compression. Compression therapy can help repair the damaged tissues by helping the muscles and veins do their job.
First, you must understand the relationship between blood circulation, muscle tissues, blood vessels, and fluids. All that was mentioned helps the system of our body to function correctly. As the heart pumps blood to the extremities, it has to flow in the entire body, and the channels it uses are the veins or blood vessels.
Blood vessels are located in the muscle tissues. Tiny veins are closest to the skin, while the large ones are tucked in the muscle tissues. With injuries, veins dilate when muscle tissues are compromised. The blood circulation on the legs gets constrained, swelling and discomfort occur. The body’s reaction to injury sends needed nutrients, white blood cells for help, and blood build-up develops.

1. How to Relieve Injuries at the Lower Extremities

Injuries can be relieved with RICE. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s RICE. An acronym stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
  • Rest is best to protect the injured area by limiting movement, which allows it to heal.
  • Ice it to lessen pain and swelling. Place the ice or ice pack in a towel before applying to the injury.
  • Compression legwear or elastic bandages can help relieve the swelling. Just make sure that it's not too tight so that it won't cause more problems with the injury.
  • Elevate the lower legs higher than your head level when lying down. Do this during the time that you are applying ice.

2. Types of Compression Therapy to Alleviate Injuries

Compression therapy is a very effective procedure for the treatment of injuries. However, for different injuries, corresponding compression therapy has to be applied. It is not a one size fits all therapy.
  • Compression bandages or wraps are the generic choices of most clinics and households.
  • Compression socks or stockings are the most common for support on the lower extremities.
  • Intermittent Pneumatic compression uses electronic control equipment such as compressed air devices and wearable compression boots where graduated pressure is applied that can be adjusted.

Different Factors That Make the Feet Swell

Inflammation of the feet and legs may stem from various reasons, and injury is one of them. Here are other possibilities that may cause minor injuries and set off the feet to swell.
  • Immobility due to surgery or lifestyle
  • Shoes that are too big or too small
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Venous problems
  • Standing and sitting for extended periods.

How Do Compression Socks Help with Swelling

Whenever there is swelling at the ankle, leg, and feet, compression socks apply external pressure to the muscles to constrict the blood vessels so that blood will not pool. This will help bring the veins back to their average size, reverting to proper blood circulation.
Here’s how compression socks help to recover from injury
  • Lessen swelling - swelling is a natural reaction to injury where healing can also take time. When compression is applied, it speeds up the healing process.
  • Reduce pain - when there's swelling, there's pain due to the pressure concentration on the injury. So by wearing compression socks, it will reduce both swelling and pain.
  • Enhance blood and fluid circulation - with the proper compression, blood and fluid build-up will lessen. It will help in lymphatic drainage and improve blood flow which will accelerate the recovery.
Although you must remember that the body’s response to the compression will not be instantaneous, the healing process will still be faster.

3. Compression Socks Has More To Offer

Using compression socks to reduce swelling is not the only benefit you can achieve from using this legwear. There are more benefits you can get such as
  • Enhance circulation - one of the most important benefits of wearing compression. The blood is the body's lifeline, and it needs to reach every area of the body. Otherwise, the place that receives insufficient blood will slowly decay. By wearing compression socks, blood circulation will boost where it needs the most.
  • Improve oxygen levels - proper blood circulation means that oxygen is carried up to the extremities. An increase in oxygen levels is equivalent to a boost in endurance.
  • Prevent injuries - compression socks act as a support to the muscles. It limits muscle oscillation that can cause muscle damage. In other words, compression socks bolster the ankles and legs, preventing sprains and trauma.
Lastly, there are different compression socks with varying pressure levels, from over-the-counter to prescription socks. An individual’s condition must be determined before buying compression legwear. If not, wearing the incorrect pair will not help you in any way.
Nonetheless, if you deal with minor injuries, over-the-counter compression socks will be great. Nonprescription compression legwear only uses the lightest pressure.

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