Compression socks and stockings are prescribed for several common reasons: swelling in the ankles and legs, varicose veins and a history of clots in the legs. You should not wear any type of tight sock if the arteries to the legs are not working well. Compression hosiery helps veins. Depending on the problem your doctor prescribed them for; he or she will choose the correct amount of compression.
You can get them at drugstores, but here’s why you shouldn’t: they need to be measured to be effective. I personally found a couple of pairs recently and took them home, only to realize that they were the wrong shape for me. One pair was even compressing in the wrong place and made my ankles swell more! I followed the package sizing, but they weren’t sized properly for me. They need to be snug at the ankle and then very gradually the tension eases off up the leg. When you go to be measured for compression hosiery whether it’s socks or stockings, expect be measured from your shins to your thighs, to your hips. You will be measured on bare skin so that we get accurate measurements. We recommend wearing loose shorts to the fitting. The fitter will measure several places on each leg and you can choose from a variety of colours and you can pick the type of hosiery that suits your lifestyle. Your order will be in within a few days, and then ideally, you should spend a bit of time with the fitter to understand how to care for your new hosiery and how to put them on without damaging them. Worn incorrectly, they are not helpful.
Remember, these are considered orthoses just like the custom ones for your shoes or a splint made for your hand. The ones at the drugstore are just stretchy socks!
If you think compression hosiery is something you would benefit from, contact us today and book with our experienced hosiery expert who will walk you through the process and help you get the best pair for you!
Written By: Laurie Bickerton, FCAMPT Physiotherapist