There are two primary types of compression socks available in the pharmacy; gradient, which are designed to relieve impairments in the incompetent leg vein valves, and anti-embolism compression socks designed to prevent blood clot formation in people with mobility issues.
Gradient socks are stockings which are woven in a fashion that allows for compression levels to lessen as they ascend toward the upper portion of the thigh. This type of hose is often recommended for those persons prone to edema, or swelling, and blood pooling in the legs, ankles and feet due to prolonged periods in a seated position or those in a sustained laying position. These work well for those frequently taking international flights, for instance, or workers who sit at a desk all day unable to elevate their feet or move about. These stockings are also most often recommended to those without difficulty in getting up and moving around freely.
Anti-embolism compression socks are referred to as TED hose within the medical community and are often prescribed following a surgical procedure to provide support to the venous and lymphatic systems found within the leg. Many persons may remain laying down for extended periods during recovery from major or invasive surgery. This type of anti-embolism hose delivers an even amount of compression at the ankle and up the leg. Generally, this type of hose is used in conjunction with a specialized anti-embolism pump which comes with exterior compression sleeves that wrap around the calf muscles, this aids in circulating blood and lymphatic fluids throughout the legs while non-ambulatory.
Compression socks are devices often recommended by a qualified medical professional. Some conditions which physicians suggest the use of this type of sock are:
1. Lipodermatosclerosis - A form of lower extremity inflammation under the epidermis layer of the skin.
2. Chronic peripheral venous insufficiency - The veins cannot pump enough oxygen-poor blood back to the heart.
3. Varicose veins - Veins that have become enlarged, allowing blood to flow backwards.
4. Edema - Swelling of the legs, this condition is often found in diabetic persons.
5. Lymphedema - Fluid retention and swelling caused by lymphatic system compromise.
6. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) - Blood clotting, this type of hose may also be prescribed in persons prone to blood clots as a preventative.
Compression socks are available in a wide range of colors, styles and sizes. They blend with ease into the surface of the skin, making them indistinguishable from typical hosiery or pant socks. The benefit to your blood circulation, however, is the paramount and welcomed difference.