You see them more often, compression stockings, nowadays even with cyclists and walkers, but what are they actually and why should you wear them? Compression stockings are elastic stockings that are usually used by people with varicose veins, for moisture in the legs or to prevent thrombosis. They stimulate the blood circulation so that complaints such as swollen legs, swollen feet but also fatigue in the legs reduce or even disappear.
Compression Stimulates Blood Circulation
When we move, for example by walking, jogging or cycling, we stimulate our calf muscles. These tighten and relax with every movement. This works as a kind of pumping movement for the adjacent blood vessels and it helps our blood to flow up again against gravity. If we do not move, in other words if we sit or lie down for a longer period of time, this natural pumping function in our legs does not work properly, so that the blood sometimes “stays longer” which in turn can lead to swelling of, for example, the lower leg or ankle. In severe cases, it can even cause thrombosis, because clots (clots) form in the blood that has stood still for too long due to clotting.
The technique of compression can also be used when you do move, for example during sports. You then give the calf muscles a helping hand with extra stimulation, which in turn ensures a better oxygen supply in the muscle cells and a better removal of waste products. In this way less acidification occurs, so that better performance can be delivered.
Different Types of Compression Stockings
There are a total of 4 different types of compression classes in which women’s compression stockings can be classified. The higher the class, the higher the pressure exerted by the compression stocking. Below you can read in which situation which stocking applies.
- Class 1: stockings with a light and mild compression. These are worn with a tired and heavy feeling in the legs and light varicose veins.
- Class 2: stockings with medium compression. These are applicable for varicose veins, swelling or for the treatment of leg wounds.
- Class 3: stockings with a strong compression. These apply to severe varicose veins and the healing of an open leg.
- Class 4: stockings with a very strong compression. These apply to severe lymphedema, vein diseases and elephantiasis.
Sports Compression Stockings
In addition to good blood circulation, the stockings also ensure the supply of nutrients. This leads to less cramps in, for example, the ankles and calves. This makes it easy to prevent injuries, which is ideal for athletes. There are therefore sports support socks or stockings especially for athletes. These are mainly worn by runners. Compression socks are therefore often chosen for injuries to the lower legs. These are injuries to, for example, the Achilles tendon, the calf or shin splints. It also has advantages to wear the stockings after walking. It has been proven that athletes experience less muscle pain when they use compression stockings after training. If, in addition to shin splints, patients have a lot of muscle pain after exercise, they can wear these stockings not only during exercise, but also afterwards. You can even try compression leggings for things like yoga and pilates.
Everyone is talking about women’s compression stockings these days as they are no longer seen as something that is just for old lady’s. They are for everybody now that we are realizing the benefits of these amazing compression garments!