For people who spend all day on their feet, there are few conditions more frustrating than edema. Edema is a symptom of many things, not a specific ailment, so understanding the underlying cause with your doctor is extremely important.
The first time you experience the pain and swelling of edema in your legs, it can be pretty scary. Edema can be a symptom of some simple things, like fatigue, obesity, or just having too much salt in your diet. Unfortunately, edema can also be a symptom of some scarier things like high blood pressure, diabetes, or congestive heart failure. For that reason, it is vital to see your doctor about your symptoms to make sure the underlying condition is being treated appropriately.
After you have confirmed a cause and treatment plan for the underlying medical issue, You may still be left with edema in the legs. If you have to stand for long periods of time, blood and fluids can pool in your legs. There are several steps you can take to help with this, and compression socks should definitely be part of your regimen to reduce your edema symptoms.
Compression Socks Reduce Fluid Pooling
Standing for long periods of time is hard on anyone.Moving from foot to foot, walking, squatting, or generally changing positions can help with this. Unfortunately, many jobs in our modern world require you to stand with little movement.
When standing for long periods of time, blood and other fluids will feel the effects of gravity. It takes very little effort for the heart to push blood down to your feet, but it takes a good deal more work for those fluids to pump back up. Tissues in your lower extremities get swollen and tender, and massage can work those fluids back out.
Compression socks provide resistance for that pooling, helping to “squeeze” the fluids out and allowing your circulatory system to work those fluids back up out of your legs. Compression socks for edema should be tall enough to compress from the knees down. While shorty compression socks do exist, to get the benefits for someone with edema, the socks need to keep fluid squeezed up into the larger blood vessels in the upper legs.
Compression Socks are Like a Portable Massage
Another treatment for edema is massage. Massaging the swollen tissue helps to work the fluid out of the distended tissue. Compression socks mimic this massage action as you move in them. Well made compression socks will have areas of different pressure. This allows your movements to massage your calf muscles and stimulate blood flow.
This positive blood flow is how your body processes extra fluid out of muscle tissue. The massage action of the compression socks helps encourage the tissue to recover. Blood transports oxygen and nutrients to the muscles in your lower legs, and edema can restrict this nutrient flow.
Compression socks will keep lower leg tissue oxygenated and energized. This will reduce end of day fatigue from standing on your legs with edema for hours. If you have a job that requires you to stand on your feet for long periods of time, or if you will be standing at a theme park all day, compression socks will help keep blood flowing and prevent muscle fatigue.
In summary, even though edema is uncomfortable and disruptive, compression socks can make a difference for patients. By providing compression to limit pooling of blood and fluids, and the massage effects that will stimulate blood flow and oxygenation, compression socks will improve edema symptoms for most sufferers.