Women often suffer from poor circulation and are 9 times more likely to suffer from Raynaud’s disease (a debilitating circulation disorder) than men.
Because of the importance of maintaining a high core temperature (for keeping a fetus warm), a woman’s body is more likely to divert heat from their extremities. This causes cold hands, feet, ears, and nose in many women. This becomes particularly problematic around menstruation, when overall body temperature drops.
If you suffer from poor circulation, you may have heard about how compression clothing may help. In particular, compression socks are helpful in alleviating circulation disorders. Proper circulation is absolutely essential for every woman, and compression gear should really be a part of every woman’s wardrobe.
Keep reading to learn 6 reasons why compression socks for women are a must-have.
What Are Compression Socks?
Compression socks are snug-fitting and stretchy socks that improve circulation by gently squeezing your legs/feet. They are typically tightest around the ankle, and become looser as they move up from the ankle.
While compression socks can easily be purchased over the counter, insurance may cover the socks when prescribed by a doctor. A doctor can also help you determine which level of medical-grade socks you may need.
Why Is Circulation so Important?
Without proper blood circulation, the body will experience negative effects.
These include but are not limited to:
- cold extremities
- numbness/tingling in the extremities, or swelling in those areas
- varicose veins
- muscle or joint cramping
- changes in skin color (pale, blue, or purple skin)
Areas of the body that skin color can change include the lips, nose, ears, hands, feet, and nipples.
Compression Socks for Women: 6 Ways They Help
Compression socks work by applying pressure around the limb, allowing vein and artery blood to flow more freely.
The overall less pressure within the veins and arteries means that blood moves quickly, relieving achy legs/feet and other issues due to poor circulation. By overcoming gravity, compression socks help deliver blood back to the heart from the feet and legs.
There are a variety of different reasons people turn to compression socks:
- if they are immobile for long periods of time, such as bus drivers and pilots
- if they are on their feet for long periods at a time
- to prevent blood clots
- if they are frequent flyers or travelers
- to limit swelling due to pregnancy
- to delay the onset of varicose veins and slow down their progression
- to help with circulation issues, especially after a surgery
- to improve athletic performance or recover from an injury
Here are 6 reasons a woman, in particular, would quickly benefit from compression socks.
1. Decrease the Risk of Blood Clots
As mentioned previously, women suffer from poor circulation more often than men. Poor circulation causes many physiological issues, but one of the deadliest is a blood clot.
A blood clot occurs when your blood changes from a liquid to a gel-like or even mostly solid state. This blood clot becomes fatal when it is circulated to organs such as the heart or lungs. When lodged in the heart or lungs, additional blood flow is prevented.
Some blood clots dissolve on their own, but when they don’t, it can prove fatal.
2. Improve Symptoms of Venous Disease
Venous disease occurs when the veins in the leg are unable to deliver blood back to the heart effectively. This causes varicose veins (spider veins), swelling, skin color changes, and even leg ulcers.
An effective treatment against venous disease includes compression socks, which allow the veins to relax while promoting circulation.
In many cases, compression socks and other home treatments are the first line of defense against the disease, but rapid progression may require surgery.
3. Reduce Leg/Foot Swelling
When blood is unable to circulate back to the heart, it tends to pool in extremities, such as the feet and legs. When a lot of blood pools, you may notice your feet or legs are swollen. This swelling is a common problem among pregnant women.
By using compression socks, the veins are better able to fight gravity and move blood to the heart as intended. This is an effective way to fight blood pooling and foot/leg swelling.
4. To Improve Athletic Performance
The use of compression gear to both improve athletic performance and recovery is hotly debated. Studies on the gear have yielded mixed results, but professional athletes often swear by the products.
In fact, watching any professional NBA game, you’re guaranteed to see compression gear flaunted by the players.
The theory makes sense: improved circulation should maximize blood and oxygen flow throughout the body. This would keep your body properly fueled to perform. Others also swear that it improves recovery time and minimizes soreness by decreasing the pooling of lactic acid in muscles.
5. To Help When You’re on the Move…
If you’re a nurse, teacher, or another mobile professional, you know the importance of taking care of yourself to be able to stay on the move. Compression socks help your circulatory system function when you can barely take a break.
6. …Or Unable to Move
On the other end, if you’re a pilot, truck driver, or other immobile professional, you’ve certainly been briefed on the importance of preventing blood pooling in your legs.
Compression socks prevent blood pooling, and therefore the risk of swelling and even blood clots. When physical activity is limited, compression socks fight gravity and keep blood moving.
Compression socks for women have come a very long way since your grandma had to wear them. Styles include a variety of colors, flesh tones, thigh-high, knee-high, open-toe, closed-toe, and even pantyhose.
These new fabric designs have assured a comfortable and even stylish garment. You can find sheer, flesh-colored ones for a discrete look, or bold, knee-high ones for a jog around the neighborhood.
Regardless, advances in the science of compression socks have provided medical-grade socks with a variety of uses. You can now wear them all the time, including at work, during athletic activities, and even when going out on the town.
Most importantly, compression socks are your first line of defense against the problems caused by circulation issues.
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