In recent years, compression socks have come a long way. They are now available in many different materials, colours, compression levels, and styles – a far cry from the days of compression garments that were hot, uncomfortable, and only available in one colour.
Compression socks help treat venous insufficiency, which affects 90% of the general population (Bonn Vein Study, 2003). It is very common for even otherwise healthy individuals to experience some degree of swelling in the foot, ankle, or lower leg while sitting or standing for long periods of time. Without movement such as walking, it is easy for blood to pool in the lower limb.
Think about baristas, cashiers, factory workers, or pilots. Wearing compression socks while standing for long periods of time, or sitting for long periods of time, reduces the amount of swelling in the lower limbs.
Compression Socks for Long Flights
While flying on an airplane, a person is very sedentary and moves very little for most of the flight.
When walking, running, or exercising, contraction of the calf muscles acts as a pump and forces the blood back up towards the heart. If you are immobile for long periods of time, such as being on a flight, it is common for the blood to pool in the lower limbs.
Wearing compression socks during a flight helps to reduce swelling and reduce the chance of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
The Benefits of Compression Socks for Flying
Compression socks have many benefits, including:
1. Reducing the feeling of fatigued or ‘heavy’ legs, muscle cramping, and swelling in the lower leg
2. Promoting tissue recovery after exercise due to increased circulation, faster lactic acid removal
3. Preventing varicose veins by reducing blood pooling
Which Type Of Compression Socks Do You Need?
You can also buy compression garments over the counter. These socks have a lower level of compression and don’t require a prescription to purchase. Most extended health insurance providers do not cover over-the-counter compression socks. Sizing for over the counter compression socks is usually based on shoe size.
Medical compression can only be purchased from qualified retailers who have undergone measuring and fitting training. You need a prescription from a medical professional to purchase medical compression garments. As well, they are covered by most extended health insurance providers.
A good tip is to have at least a few pairs of compression socks in your sock drawer. That way, you can wear one pair of socks while washing and air-drying the others between wears. Most extended health insurance providers cover between two and four pairs of compression socks per calendar year.
Other Uses For Compression Socks
We recommend wearing compression socks when sitting or standing for long periods of time to improve venous return efficiency. Compression socks are also beneficial during and after exercise to improve circulation, reduce muscular fatigue, and reduce lactic acid build-up.
Also, it is recommended to wear compression stockings during pregnancy. This is because lower limb and foot swelling and varicose veins are common during pregnancy. In summary – most people can benefit from wearing compression therapy! As always, it is always best to consult with your doctor first.
Learn More About Compression Socks for Flying
Along with your physician, the certified compression sock fitters at Walking Mobility Clinics can answer any questions you may have about compression socks. A Walking Mobility Clinics compression fitting specialist will help you find the right material for your needs, lifestyle, career, and footwear.