As summer approaches, the temperature rises and travelling is at an all-time high, it’s important to make sure you’re staying on top of your health. We’ve been told about the importance of wearing sunscreen, staying hydrated and avoiding prolonged exertion in the heat, but did you know that compression socks are one of the best things you can do for your body this summer?
Compression socks provide graduated compression to your legs to aid in blood flow back up to the heart. In turn, this helps with venous return, decreases pressure and prevents swelling, heaviness and achiness in the legs. Although compression socks are often prescribed as a treatment to people with venous insufficiency, everyone can benefit from wearing a pair, especially if you:
Stand or sit for long periods
Prolonged and gravity-dependent positions encourage blood to pool in your ankles and feet. It is important to take breaks if you are someone that sits or stands for long periods at work. Lying down with leg elevation is the best position to reduce leg swelling as it reduces the pressure in the legs. Alternatively, walking allows the muscles in your lower legs to act as a “pump” to bring the blood and swelling back up towards your heart.
Many pregnant women feel signs of leg achiness, heaviness and swollen feet. This is because the blood volume increases 40-50% during pregnancy. Hormones during pregnancy also affect the veins, causing them to dilate further. Due to this, pregnant women are at greater risks of developing a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a serious condition that can cause blockage of blood flow in your veins.
Movement is limited when traveling long distances. This contributes to decreased circulation in your legs and often swollen, achy legs. In fact, traveling for 4 hours or more increases your chances of developing a DVT by 4x!
Spend excessive time in heat
Heat causes your blood vessels to dilate and promotes swelling. Examples include, prolonged time in the sun, saunas or hot tubs.
You will also benefit from compression socks if you are someone that has been diagnosed with any of the following conditions:
- Spider or varicose veins
- DVT (or previous history of DVT)
- Chronic or acute venous insufficiency
- Leg ulcer
So, while you bask in the sun and plan your next vacation this summer, consider getting fitted for a pair of custom compression stockings to help you “go with the flow!”
Talk to your healthcare professional about the best type, colour and size for you.
Pelvic Floor & Paediatric Physiotherapist
Sandra graduated from Dalhousie University with a Masters degree in Physiotherapy after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology degree with honours from McMaster University. She has worked with a variety of clientele but has developed a true passion in working with both the paediatric and women’s health populations. Sandra has extensive experience assessing and treating a variety of paediatric conditions and most recently has become certified as a pelvic health physiotherapist. She also has additional training in acupuncture and kinesiotaping. Sandra finds great value in guiding each individual through a tailored rehabilitation program to optimize their function and quality of life. In her free time, Sandra enjoys yoga, pilates, traveling and spending time with family and friends.