Do Compression Socks Help Treat Edema? | Insoles and Beyond

Are Compression Socks a Practical Solution for Edema?

Many people suffer from edema - especially in their legs.  Compression socks help treat and prevent edema in the legs.

Edema and Its Causes

Edema or swelling occurs when excess fluid leaks into your body tissues. If you have a damaged capillary or increased pressure, it excretes fluid to the surrounding tissue and causes swelling. Leaking tiny blood vessels force the kidneys to get more sodium and water. But this results in more outflow and swelling around the affected tissue. 

Some of the most common causes of edema include the following:

  • Lack of exercise. As regular exercise helps stimulate blood circulation, an inactive lifestyle will sure contribute to the swelling of the body, especially of the legs and feet. 
  • Long period of standing or sitting. Due to gravity, more blood clogs up in the feet and causes poor circulation. Prolonged retention of blood in the area may cause damage to blood vessels and eventually, swelling.
  • Heat.  Heat can also cause edema. When the weather is warm or hot, blood vessels widen causing the feet, ankles, and legs to puff up. 
  • Burns. Swelling is a normal reaction of the skin when exposed to burns or intense heat. Burns often add to the permeability of the blood vessels, resulting to leaked blood and fluids into the neighboring tissues.
  • Pregnancy. Swollen feet, hands, legs, face, and ankles are very common among pregnant women. During pregnancy, their bodies naturally produce more blood and body fluids to protect the babies that are developing inside their wombs.
  • Menstruation, pre-menstruation, and menopause. During this period the hormone levels fluctuate causing fluid to retain around damaged blood veins.
  • Contraceptive pill. These pills contain estrogen that causes fluid retention in the body. 
  • Illness. Many kinds of illness also cause swelling in the body. Among these are kidney disease, heart failure, chronic lung disease, liver disease, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, and thyroid disease.

Compression Socks vs. Edema

Medical professionals often recommend their patients with edema eat a low salt diet, get regular exercise, lose weight, and (you guessed it) wear compression socks.  Compression socks apply graduated pressure to the feet, ankles, and legs pushing excess fluid from the affected area and improving circulation which reduces edema significantly.

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