How Tight Should Compression Socks Be?

If you have been wearing compression socks for days, months, or even years? Have you ever thought of its benefits and compression levels; this is the time for you to learn a thing or two about compression socks.
Though compression socks are intended to squeeze your ankles, feet, and calves, the compression shouldn’t be so tight that it will cause pain in your lower extremities. It shouldn’t feel like a tourniquet wrapped around your lower legs. Really tight compression socks may cause some danger, especially if they are worn for more extended periods.
There are things that you need to consider when wearing compression socks, such as
  • Compression level
  • Fabric
  • Duration of wearing
  • Activities
  • Size
  • Type
  • Length.
All these will determine the comfort and effectiveness of use for every pair.

1. Are Compression Socks Supposed to Be Tight

Compression socks, derived from the root word “compress,” means that it has to be tight. If compression socks aren’t tight, they will defeat their purpose. Nonetheless, it should be the proper level of tightness to deliver the correct pressure you need for an activity, therapy, or as a treatment.

2. Compression Socks Pressure Guide

You may want to know which compression socks are tighter. Actually, compression socks have different compression levels, which depends on a person’s need.

*The measurement used for compression level is mmHg, which stands for millimeters of mercury.

Over the counter: 8-15 and 15-20 mmHg

Compression socks in this pressure level are available OTC (over the counter). You can find these in medical supplies stores, pharmacies, and online. OTC compression socks are ideal for flying, especially during long flights, people who enjoy running, hiking, or who live an active lifestyle, and even pregnant women.
People whose occupation involves extended periods of sitting or standing need to wear compression socks such as:
  • Flight attendants
  • Pilots
  • Health practitioners
  • Cashiers
  • Bank tellers
  • Etc.
OTC compression socks help with
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling
  • Leg cramps
  • Muscle pain
  • Proper blood circulation
And these compression stockings are available in different lengths: pantyhose, thigh-high, knee-high, and even maternity pantyhose.

Medical Grade Class 1: 20-30 mmHg

This compression level requires a doctor’s prescription. This is intended for therapy, post-treatment for venous-related surgeries, performance and recovery treatment for athletes. Pregnant women who need more substantial support for their growing lower extremities can also wear Class 1.

Medical Grade Class 2: 30-40 mmHg

Compression socks in Class 2 are suitable for venous insufficiencies within moderate to severe range. It’s also recommended for those at risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and lymphedema. It also reduces symptoms of orthostatic hypotension and postural hypotension and manages post-thrombotic syndrome and venous ulcers.

Medical Grade Class 3: 40-50 mmHg

This is the highest pressure level that can only be provided with proper fitting and strict supervision of a medical practitioner. This level of compression is used primarily for chronic vein deficiencies and DVT, serious venous disease such as venous stasis, severe leg or ankle swelling, and wound management.

3. What if Compression Socks are Too Tight?

Ever wonder what happens if your compression socks are too tight? It will just do the opposite to your legs. Instead of easing you from cramps, discomfort, and pain, it will encourage these symptoms all the more. Not only that, but it will also impede proper blood flow to the legs, making it swell, and in addition to that, fluid retention may also happen.
There are times that we thought more could be beneficial, but actually, with medical cases, it is the opposite. In the case of compression socks, you can only apply the necessary pressure level for therapy, treatment, and cure because otherwise, it may lead to detrimental health risks.

4. How to Know if Compression Socks are too Tight

Just like shoes, you have to break into your compression socks. However, if your pair still feels too tight after a few uses, you need to have those replaced. You need to remember that you should feel comfortable while you are wearing your compression socks. It has to give you the results that you are looking for essentially.
Compression shocks should not cause:
  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration on the skin
  • Marks on skin
If you are feeling the following symptoms, better order a new pair or two of compression socks with a lighter pressure than the one you have.

In summary

If you need compression socks, always do your research before ordering or buying a pair. If you think you have a medical condition that may affect you, consult your doctor to not put yourself at any risk.
Compression socks should provide you comfort and ease of your pain every time you use them. If you are getting the opposite result, you know what to do.

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