To stay well and healthy, there are a variety of steps you can take. You can be as mobile as you can be, eat well and be sure to drink a lot of water. And when it comes to the health and well-being of your legs and feet, you can also wear compression socks.
Compression socks have grown in popularity as a healthy living resource that everyone from athletes to older adults have taken advantage of. But what about them makes them so great for those especially in their later years?
With our commitment to equipping you with the right resources and socks to help you stay well, here we share some key insights about wearing compression socks as an older adult. From reasons why you should wear them to best practices in putting them on, here’s your guide to compression socks as an older adult.
What are Compression Socks?
Before exploring the amazing things that compression socks can do for the older population, it’s helpful to understand what they actually are and how they help.
Whether as a measure of preventative care or to ease aches and pains after they occur, compression socks can work wonders. Compression socks or stockings are tight-fitting and stretchy socks that gently and carefully squeeze your legs to control blood flow.
They come in a variety of sizes and levels of pressure so you can be sure to find a pair that meets your needs and is designed to help you. Compression socks also come with graduated pressure that is designed to be tighter around your ankle and then loosen up as it moves up your leg, easing up the pressure overall. Depending on your unique situation, you may need a sock with higher pressure, like for deep vein thrombosis, or lower pressure, like just for general aches and pains.
How Do Compression Socks Work?
The pressure these socks put on your legs and feet improve the functioning of your blood vessels related to a lot of areas of your health.
As arteries carry your blood that’s oxygen-rich from your heart to your muscles, they can relax more so blood flows through more easily. Veins are then able to more easily carry blood as well from the muscles to your heart.
Benefits to Wearing Compression Socks
This easing of blood flow can be beneficial for a variety of reasons. While athletes indicate that greater blood flow allows them to perform at higher levels and improve their recovery, these socks can also help promote overall healthy living and well-being, especially for older adults.
Some of these benefits include lowering your chances of getting deep vein thrombosis (DVT) due to the greater ability for blood to flow. They can also aid in improving circulation throughout your legs and feet and prevent blood clots. As blood continues to move through, clots are harder to form in your veins.
Who Should Wear Compression Socks?
One of the most common populations to sport these compression socks are older adults. Typically, as individuals age, they’re faced with an increasing amount of health issues and concerns that need attention. From new diseases developing to generally more aches and pains, getting old is tough. Compression socks can help.
Older adults who have pre-existing medical conditions like DVT, diabetes or other circulation problems may especially benefit from a pair of compression socks.
Additionally, adults who may be limited in their mobility and can’t be as active as they once were can also find relief in compression socks. People who can’t leave their beds, are recovering from surgery or are in a wheelchair can also find compression socks to be helpful in maintaining circulation even when they can’t be on their feet or move around to improve blood flow.
Rehabilitation locations and practices often use compression therapy and the use of these socks to ease swollen feet and other health concerns.
In addition to older adults, athletes or people who spend their days on their feet can also find relief in wearing compression socks to ease muscle soreness and aching feet. Pregnant women may also find ease of their pain in their legs by wearing compression socks, especially if they’re unable to be up and active.
Best Compression Socks for Older Adults
Finding the compression sock that’s right for you may be worth a chat with your doctor. Compression socks come in a variety of sizes, styles, pressures and even colors so there’s a lot you can consider. Depending on your situation, your legs may need a particular style that’s designed to meet your specific need.
While you may require a more intense pair, insurance agencies may also be able to cover the cost if they’re prescribed by your doctor. Otherwise, compression socks often range from $10-100 per pair.
What are TED Hose?
A special kind of compression sock is the thrombo-embolic deterrent (TED) hose, also known as anti-embolism stockings. These are designed to be used following a surgery has taken place and you are required to stay in bed. With the inability to get up and move around for a period of time, these specific socks have a higher pressure so that blood in your legs is able to flow more freely, even when you can’t be on your feet.
The Easiest Way to Put on ComproGear Compression Socks
A key characteristic of compression socks is their tight fit, which also can make them somewhat challenging to put on and off. They’re designed to bring pressure and fit tight. But when your arms may already be tired, pulling them up over your legs, no matter the length, can feel challenging.
Whether you put them on yourself or have a caregiver help you with them, getting them on starts with the right pair. Be sure the size of the sock fits your feet and is at the compression level that meets your needs.
Thankfully, we at ComproGear want to help you be most comfortable as you put on and wear your socks. ComproGear Compression Socks are designed with high-quality fabric that’s durable and won’t rip as you pull them up. They come in some fun colors and different sizes and pressure levels.
Here we share an easy, step-by-step process to put on compression socks, whether for yourself or for someone else.
1. Get your feet and legs ready. Try to put your compression socks on before any swelling has started; tis will help you get them on easier. Also be sure your feet are clean and dry so no moisture gets in as you put them on.
2. Start by sticking your feet into the toe area, bunched up. Then unravel the sock as you pull it up over the leg and pull it toward your knee. A great position to be in is sitting on a chair or laying down to make it easier to pull them on.
3. Be sure to remove any and all wrinkles out of the socks. Creases can interrupt the smooth blood flow and may cause painful pinching. Also be sure to not fold over the top of your sock.
4. Use tools to help. If you’re wearing open-toed compression socks, you can use a plastic bag over your foot to better ease the sock over your feet and onto your leg more easily. You could also use a silk foot slip to help the sock slide over your foot and onto your leg.
Another tool you can use is talcum powder. If you’re finding your feet or legs getting stuck as you slide your socks on, sprinkle some powder on your ankles or legs first to eliminate moisture and help them move onto your legs easier.
You can also pick up other helpful donning tools that are specifically designed to help older adults put on compression socks. Things like the Medi Butler or the Juzo Slippie Gator help to hold the socks open where you can slide your legs in through and into your sock.
Donning gloves made out of rubber or cotton can also help your hands keep the grip on your socks to pull them up without ripping. Whatever your trouble, you can find tools and resources to help you get your socks on effectively and efficiently so you have one less thing to worry about.
How Should Compression Socks Fit?
The fit of your socks are dependent on the size and compression level. They come in just sleeves, without toes and closed-toe. They also come in a variety of lengths, stretching from knee-high to even thigh-high socks. Knowing your leg size should also help you choose a pair that’s right for you.
Wearing the right size the right way will ensure that your compression socks will work well for you and alleviate those aches and pains they’re designed to address. If needed, have a conversation with your doctor about what type of compression sock is best for you and your situation.
How Long Should You Wear Compression Socks?
Most often, compression socks should not be worn all day, everyday without taking them off. Taking them off at night as you go to bed and putting them back on in the morning can be a great habit to practice. However, be sure to clarify with your doctor about the duration of time you should be wearing your socks, as situations may vary. For example, your doctor may suggest that you wear them most of the time, taking them off to shower or bathe.
While compression socks rarely bring side effects, there are some things to keep in mind. Using them intentionally and taking proper care of them can help prevent issues including marks or indentations on your skin, redness, inflammation or other areas that itch. Watching for these signs and washing your socks on a routine basis can help keep your legs and feet healthy and cared for.
Stay Well With Compression Socks
While compression socks can be helpful for a variety of ages and life stages, they bring special benefits for older adults navigating additional health concerns and issues. With the helpful pressure that comes with these socks, you can tackle your next health event more confidently knowing your feet and legs will be taken care of. Whether DVT or diabetes or general aches and pains from a lack of mobility, compression socks can be a great solution to bring healing and comfort.