How to choose and use the best compression socks for edema?
Are your legs swollen? Do they appear thicker than normal? Chances are that you are suffering of edema, commonly referred to as swollen feet. In this article we are going to focus on what steps you can take to prevent or end this condition. We will also take an in-depth look at which ones are the best compression socks for edema.
What is edema?
Edema is a clinical term for water retention. In everyday life you might refer to it as swelling. The feet – most likely the ankles – get fat and heavy. This occurs either because the circulatory system can’t transport the excess fluid away from the swollen area, or because the body can’t get rid of the fluids.
The symptoms of swelling include tight skin, bloated legs, or skin marks. In very severe cases of edema if you press the skin at the swollen area it retains its shape only after 20 seconds. At that point even the best compression socks for edema might not be enough. Consult with a trained physician.
Edema can appear as a result of several causes. Pregnancy, humid weather, running injuries, sitting or standing for extended periods of time. In other cases the failure of the circulatory system is the cause. Kidney failure is also a common cause. With ageing edema becomes more common, and some medications have edema as a side effect. People taking long flights and pilots may also experience swelling of the feet, as a side effect of deep vein thrombosis. In all of these cases choosing and wearing the best compression socks for edema can do wonders for the health of your feet.
The main cause of edema: Different types of pressure in the veins
To understand what causes edema, you have to know about two terms: hydrostatic and osmotic pressure. Both types of pressure influence how much fluid gets into the veins from the cells and vice versa. The pressure that fluids put on the walls of the veins is called hydrostatic pressure. Osmotic pressure is generated by proteins and the blood plasma.
If the hydrostatic pressure rises in the veins, there will be more edema. Similar effects will follow if the osmotic pressure falls in the veins or rises in the cells. These factors can be influenced by drinking enough water and eating healthy. Eating just enough salt and minerals as well as drinking at least eight glasses of water every day will go a long way to keep the osmotic and hydrostatic pressure at an adequate level.
Best compression socks for edema as treatment
The best compression socks for edema can do wonders for ending the condition. You can speed up the healing process by eating a certain diet, or applying cream to the swollen area. However the combination of these two work best. Although in most cases just choosing and wearing the best compression socks for swelling consistently should be enough.
Edema compression socks work by helping the blood flow back towards the heart and thus helping it wash out the excess fluids from your legs.
The BeFit24s are one of the best compression socks for edema. If you feel discomfort, puffy and swollen feet after a whole day of work, the BeFit 24 compression socks for edema can help treat the condition.
One of the biggest users of edema compression socks are pregnant women. Other, chemical based remedies are not safe to use during pregnancy, as the chemicals might affect the baby.
During pregnancy the weight of the featus puts extra pressure on the veins. The circulatory system struggles to remove all the fluids from the legs. There are different models on the market, differing mostly in their length. Full length models that cover the whole leg as well as the stomach are called maternity compression leggings. If you see varicose veins and experience swelling only in your lower extremities, than pregnancy compression socks might be enough for you.
Organic treatment options
With most things in life, regular exercise can make a whole world of difference. The movement of the muscles has a natural massaging effect on the veins, which helps move the fluid away from the swollen area.
Consuming too much salt can increase the osmotic pressure inside the veins. This can be solved either by consuming less salt, or drinking more water.
Elevating your legs while sleeping helps the blood flow quicker from your lower extremities, the veins can transport the excess fluid away from your legs quicker. This also helps a lot if you struggle with varicose veins.
Avoid standing or sitting for extended periods. This is the primary cause of the breakdown if the circulatory system in your lower extremities. Walk around, move a little it every hour when you are sitting down. Take a nap with your feet elevated every afternoon.
Loosing weight can also help a lot, as the excess weight puts more pressure on your veins. Just as with salt, it might be wise to limit your sugar, alcohol and caffeine intake. Caffeine and alcohol dehydrate the body, sugar raises the osmotic pressure inside your veins.
There are alternate therapies claiming to be effective at treating swelling. These include acupuncture, massage therapy and plant-based organic pills and supplements. I am sceptical how effective these would be on their own, but they could be a good added way to speed up the healing process, together with a pair of the best compression socks for treating swelling.
How long before you see the effects of compression socks in treating edema?
The best compression socks for edema start improving your circulation as soon as you put them up according to Vein Directory. However it is possible that it will take 24 hours or even a few days before you start to see the swelling reduce. If you don’t see the edema slowly going away, either the compression socks are not fitting properly, or they are not strong enough. Maybe you have some other physical condition, which doesn’t allow the swelling of your feet to stop.
How do compression socks treat edema?
The best compression socks for edema work on a very simple premise. By putting pressure on the legs they reduce the diameter of the veins. This speeds up the blood flow.
The best type of compression socks for edema are all graduated compression socks. These models put the most pressure on the ankles the level of compression gets smaller gradually as it gets higher on the legs.
Another type of compression is uniform compression. That type puts the same amount of pressure everywhere on the legs. Although research showed that graduated compression is more effective at treating most venous disorders than uniform compression, the latter is prescribed by doctors in treatment of edema. In 2004 Partsch, Winiger and Lun found that graduated, between 11 to 21 mm Hg pressure was the best compression socks for treating edema after a long day of standing or sitting.
Hg mm stands for millimetres of mercury, it is used for measuring the strength of the compression socks by how much pressure they put on your legs.
What are the most common compression ranges?
Mild compression: 8-15 mm Hg. Used for treating situational, easy cases of edema.
Moderate compression: 15-20 mm Hg. Used for treating mild to moderate swelling and leg pain. Most compression socks for treating swelling in nurses, teachers and truck drivers are in this range.
Firm compression: 20-30 mm Hg. Used for treating more severe cases of edema, mostly with bed ridden patients, as this type can prevent venous leg ulcers.
Extra firm compression: Over 30 mm Hg. Also called medical grade compression, doctors prescribe them in extreme cases of leg swelling, mostly with people who suffer from diabetes.
The best amount of pressure for treating edema is between 15 to 20 mm Hg. Benigni et al performed a study to determine what is the best amount of pressure to use to treat different venous diseases. They have found that lower, 15-20 mm Hg pressure was more effective at treating swollen feet than l0 mm Hg pressure or lower.
This pressure between 15 and 20 mm Hg is recommended by most physicians for treating venous diseases. More severe cases might require compression socks between 20 and 30 mm Hg pressure. Models over 30 mm Hg are very rare and they are available only with a doctor’s prescription.
Compression socks or stockings: is there a difference?
The short answer is no. There is no real difference in how edema compression socks or stockings work, or how effective they can be at treating swollen feet. The main difference is their length. Socks usually end just below your knees. Stockings can cover your lower abdomin. This is an important feature if you experience swelling in this area, which is common with pregnant women. As a rule of thumb I advise to use the shortest compression garments that cover the swollen area, but nothing more. Putting on and taking off these garments can be a hassle, and if you choose a poor model it can get really sweaty.
The BeFit24 Compression Socks for Edema
If you suffer from edema at the end of your day, these compression socks are the perfect fit for you. They are simply the best compression socks for edema. By applying between 10-14 mm Hg pressure on your legs, these socks help treat edema by helping your veins wash out the excess fluid from your legs. As a great sideffect these socks treat and prevent the appearance of varicose veins.
You wear these socks during flights. The graduated compression prevents edema in your legs, which commonly tortures flight travellers around the world.
The socks are made of 55% elastane and 45% polyamide. This combination lets your feet breathe, so it stays clean and dry even if you wear them during your workday.
Tonus Elast Open Toe Medical Compression Socks
This open toe models are medical grade compression socks that put anywhere between 18 and 21 mm Hg pressure on your legs.
The flat seams are one of the best features of these socks. The design of the socks prevents blisters and chaffing. The dense structure of the material is designed to aid blood flow during long flights and workdays, thus reducing swelling. The socks are made of 80% polyamide and 20% lycra.
The heel zone has a strong design to give your legs additional support and extend the service time of these products.
Neo G Travel and Flight Compression Socks
These socks were designed mainly in airline travellers in mid, but since they treat edema well in the air, there is no reason why they couldn’t treat swelling just as well on the ground.
They put between 14 and 18 mm Hg graduated pressure on your legs to prevent swelling and DVT. The maximum compression slowly decreases from your ankles up towards your knees.
The reinforced material and the heel cup guarantee durability and comfort. The graduated compression technology is ideal for helping blood flow and helping the excess fluids get out of the legs. The best compression socks for edema work by applying graduated compression on the legs, so does this model.