A great way to help relieve everyday leg pain, especially if you have to stand all day, is to wear compression socks. Today’s compression socks use the latest fabric technology and come in all sorts of fantastic colors and styles. They are nothing like the medical looking socks of the past. Compression socks can help with a range of health concerns that cause leg pain, including plantar fasciitis, muscle soreness, inflammation, and circulation. Whether you are looking for a mild or a moderate compression, we have compiled a list of some of the best compression socks that are being sold today as well as what you need to know to find the best product for you.
How do Compression Socks Work
Compression socks work by applying pressure to ankles, legs, and feet. Graduated compression means that the pressure is the highest at the ankle and decreases as the sock goes up the leg. The pressure can increase circulation and help prevent things like blood clots or varicose veins. You need the pressure to be the strongest at the ankles because the blood circulating in your feet and ankles has to be pushed back up to your heart and not stay pooling in your legs since that can lead to the tired achy leg feeling that you feel at the end of a long day on your feet.
Compression socks can offer a lot of different benefits depending on the level of compression you are using. The socks that we are including in this post are a mild to medium level of compression that will help to eliminate sore, aching legs and reduce minor swelling.
If you choose a higher level of compression you will find that they can help with slowing the progression of varicose veins, reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis and help with more serious swelling of the legs as a result of the accumulation of fluids.
If you have been having problems with sore legs at the end of the day after standing or sitting for a prolonged period of time, you should definitely try out compression socks. In a lot of cases they can have a huge effect with helping to eliminate leg fatigue and soreness.
Type of Sock
You should always consult with your doctor before trying out compression socks for the first time in case you have any underlying medical concerns that need to be treated.
If you are looking for a sock for the purpose of getting rid of tired aching legs you will first need to consider compression level. Compression socks with lower pressure levels offer support for preventive care reasons. These types can be purchased over the counter or online without the need for any prescription. For stronger compression socks for more serious health concerns you should consult with your doctor.
In this post we are only looking at socks with mild or moderate compression.
Mild compression (8-15 mmHg) can provide relief for tired and achy legs and leg fatigue that can be caused by long periods of standing or sitting. It will also reduce minor swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet.
Moderate compression (15-20 mmHg) can help to reduce the feeling of achy, tired legs, as well as help reduce swelling. They can also be used as a preventative measure to stop the progression of varicose veins. In some cases they may also be used to help to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis during travel when on long flights.
When choosing a level of support, keep in mind that the higher the number, the more pressure will be put onto your ankles and legs. If you have never used compression socks before, it would be best to start with a low level and work your way up to a higher level.
Reviews and Recommendations:
The best compression stockings to treat tired achy legs is mild to moderate level. We have rounded up a few different selections that mainly vary by the length of the sock and by the strength of compression.
Nurse Mates Women’s Compression Trouser Sock
A good mild compression sock that works well for people who are on their feet all day, is this fun sock from Nurse Mates. The Nurse Mates Women’s Compression Trouser Sock have a Graduated Compression of 12-14 mmHg. They are good for helping to increase circulation and prevent swelling. You can also wear them for travel if you have a long flight, since they aren’t super tight, but do give you a level of support for your foot and up the leg. They come in fun colors and patterns, and are very cute. The only problem with this style is that it is one size fits most, so if you fall outside average sizing they may not be the best option.
Dr. Motion Knee High Socks
This six pack of mild 8-15 mmHg graduated compression, knee high socks from Dr. Motion are another inexpensive option if you are just looking for something that can help with tired legs, circulation or minor swelling. They aren’t super tight and the sizing is limited, so they may not be a great option for everyone. Most women will find that these socks are comfortable, affordably priced, and come in fun patterns.
Sockwell Women’s Chevron Moderate (15-20mmHg) Graduated Compression Socks
Sockwell Women’s Chevron Moderate (15-20mmHg) Graduated Compression Socks are a moderate level compression. They will work well for most women for activities like flying, as well as for long periods of sitting or standing. They can help to minimize swelling and cut down on foot and leg fatigue and aches. This sock is made in the USA and it uses something called Accu-fit technology, so it shouldn’t stretch out or become loose as you wear it throughout the day. They are made of a superfine merino wool with bamboo or alpaca. They come in a wide variety of colors and attractive patterns.
Fytto 1020 Compression Socks Women 15-20mmHg
This popular and inexpensively priced option from Fytto provide a moderate 15-20mmHg graduated compression level. They are a good option to promote blood circulation and help with tired aching and fatigued legs. They are made of a latex free, smooth knit fabric that most women find to be comfortable and not too constricting. They come in a good array of neutral colors that work well with dress pants or work trousers.
If you are looking for plain black, mild compression socks, a good one to check out is MediPEDS Socks. These socks are designed specifically for diabetes-related symptoms like leg fatigue, swelling, and dry skin. They are made of 58% Nylon, 38% Polyester, 4% Lycra Spandex and are reportedly very comfortable.The fabric choice is intended to reduce foot irritation and the wrong kind of pressure on the legs. These socks are okay to machine wash and the company also offers a satisfaction guarantee, so if you aren’t happy with your purchase you can return for a refund. The compression on this sock is mild, so they are great for walking, being active, sitting for moderate amounts of time. They probably aren’t firm enough if you are on your feet all day or are sitting for long periods like on a long flight.
2XU Compression Recovery
The 2XU Compression Sock for Recovery is a little pricier and has more design features than some of the other socks on our list. This design is made to specifically support the arch position and give the maximum support for your feet. They are made of a lightweight fabric that is comfy, but still able to deliver benefits of moderate graduated compression. They also come with a vented toe panel for those whose feet tend to get hot and sweaty.
What do you need to know before buying
You don’t need a prescription to buy compression socks, but if you are buying any sock over a moderate level (20mmHg or higher) or if you have any particular health concern that you are unsure of regarding compression. you should consult with your doctor. Your doctor can make sure it is okay for your particular situation and to help with sizing and determining the right compression level for you.
You should not wear compression socks while sleeping unless your doctor has advised you otherwise.
Most stocking will last 3 to 4 months before losing their initial strength.
Comfort and Fit– When looking for the right sock you have to find a balance between getting the right amount of pressure and getting a fit that is comfortable. This is a little easier said than done. Most women who have been wearing compression socks for years have drawers full of socks that just don’t fit quite right or aren’t comfortable. Unfortunately one of the best ways to find a great sock is by trial and error, so you may want to look for brands that have healthy return policies. If you have tried compression in the past and did not find success, don’t give up, you may just need to try a different brand.
Price – Compared to regular socks compression socks can be expensive. They can range in price from about $20 to $100, depending on the size and style. They can be bought online, at a medical supply store and at many pharmacies.
Breathability– Some of the most high tech fabrics combine moisture wicking properties and venting panels to stop your feet from overheating or sweating. If you have an issue with your feet overheating check products descriptions for specific wording that says the material the sock is made from is breathable.
Ease of Taking On and Off– By their very nature compression socks are not easy garments to get off and on. It may take a lot of strength and force when you first start out wearing these socks. Obviously the styles with the least amount of compression will be easier to get on.
Sizing-Sizing is different from brand to brand and can be quite confusing considering calf and ankle sizes vs. shoe size. The other problem with sizing is there isn’t a huge range of sizes to choose from in the same way you would select a shoe size. If you are lucky, you should be able to choose between an XS, S, M, L, XL, but many brands are a one size fits most.
Material: These days the most common materials for these types of socks are lycra, spandex, and rubber. You will probably have to test out a few different brands to find a material that you find comfortable. When making a selection, think about other garments that you have and what material they are made of and if you find them comfortable or not. You can then start to narrow down what materials to look for.
Who Should not Wear Compression Socks?
Don’t wear compression socks if you have:
- Arterial disease of the legs
- Septic Phlegm
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Septic Phlebitis of the leg
Check with your doctor before using compression socks if you have:
- Skin Infections
- Are confined to bed
- Have Weeping Dermatoses
Since these socks are generally pretty expensive, you should follow all cleaning instructions that come with the brand that you buy. Many of the socks should be washed by hand using cold water and a of bit cleaning solution. You should air dry them and don’t put them in the dryer, as it will ruin the material. Most socks only last about 3 to 6 months with regular wear, and will need to be replaced after that since they will lose elasticity. If you do choose to wash your socks in a washing machine, it will shorten the life of the sock.
Compression socks can be very beneficial for a wide variety of health concerns, but it is best to get advice from a doctor before buying. If you are wearing socks to help with tired aching legs, just wear them during the day and take them off before you go to bed. You don’t have to wear the socks when you are sleeping or if your legs are elevated.