Article written by Diabetic Sock Club an American owned small business
focused on the health benefits of proper foot care for those living with diabetes.

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What Are The Best Socks For Edema?

We refer to swelling in the body as edema. There may be several reasons behind edema, such as medications, injury, or inflammation. In fact, even infections, pregnancy, and other medical complications could give rise to edema.

Edema occurs when small blood vessels of your body allow fluid to pass into your nearby tissues. The extra fluid is the perpetrator of the swelling, which begins in your tissues and can occur in any part of your body. Although there are characteristic differences between edema and diabetes, yet the foot-health complications in both conditions are somewhat similar. Foot-care in both edema and diabetes is an imperative for individuals suffering them.

If you have edema and looking for socks for pain relief, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will share everything you need to know about edema and the best socks for edema.

The major reasons for edema maybe some medication, pregnancy, or other underlying diseases. You should take care of it; otherwise, it can lead to liver and kidney diseases, and sometimes it can result in cardiac arrest.

However, you may treat edema with medication or reducing salt intake to remove excess fluids from your affected body parts. There are several conditions that can indicate edema in your body.

These symptoms can vary from swelling to stretched or shiny skin, shortness of breath, and chest congestion. There are several methods to get rid of edema like elevation, compression, massage, reducing salt intake, etc. Of these, using compression socks is the most effective.

A person can suffer from several types of edema. Let's take a look at the types below:

EDEMA TYPES

PULMONARY EDEMA

Pulmonary edema happens when your air sacs fill with fluid. As a result, you suffer from difficulties in breathing, more so when you lie down. At times, your heartbeat may feel more erratic; you may cough foamy spittle containing blood, feel suffocated, etc. When symptoms worsen, you must not waste time in contacting emergency services.

LYMPHEDEMA

Our bodies have lymph nodes that filter waste and germs. This condition comes about from cancer treatments, such as radiation and surgeries. As a result, one may experience swelling in the legs and arms due to the lymph nodes misbehaving. Cancer can cause fluid to accumulate by blocking the lymph nodes.

PEDAL EDEMA

Pedal edema is a swelling in your legs and mostly due to fluid accumulation in your legs and lower feet. You will surely have difficulty walking or moving in pedal edema, mostly due to your feet's lack of feeling.

PERIPHERAL EDEMA

Peripheral edema may affect multiple parts of your body, including ankles, feet, legs, and arms. This could perhaps indicate some faultiness with your kidneys, lymph nodes, or the circulatory system.

MACULAR EDEMA

Macular edema affects the macula in your eye. The macula is a part of the eye centered in the retina. This tissue is sensitive to light and lies at the back of your eye. This edema type develops when fluid accumulates in the macula because of damaged blood vessels.

COMMON CAUSES OF EDEMA

  • Certain drug varieties contribute to edema. Steroids, estrogen, drugs, anti-inflammatory, and non-steroidal or calcium channel blockers may induce edema. You can opt for compression socks or stockings, compression sleeves, or consult your doctor to change medicines.
  • Pregnant women are not immune to edema. Swelling is more common in their feet because of fluid retention.
  • Poor blood circulation may also be a factor. If blood does not reach certain parts or all the parts of your body, the fluid distribution process will slacken and cause swelling.
  • Swelling can occur as a result of an injury. Blunt forces like trauma or injury in the foot can be a reason for edema.

COMPRESSION SOCKS ARE HELPFUL FOR EDEMA

Where edema is concerned, doctors believe that using compression socks helps prevent the accumulation and retention of fluid. Compression socks are good for edema because they exert pressure on the legs. This pressure further aids a regulated flow of blood, and the fluid circulates instead of building up.

However, every type of edema requires a specific type of compression socks. Basically, the severity of the edema will require a specific level of pressure in the socks. For instance, lymphedema is the kind of edema in which only high-pressure socks are effective.

Compression socks are also quite helpful for athletes who suffer from injuries during sports. You see, the pressure exertion and regulated circulation work well to reduce sprains and strains one may sustain during exercise and physical activities. Furthermore, individuals can secure themselves against injuries with the help of compression socks and ensure a speedy recovery if they have already sustained one.

COMPRESSION SOCKS- HOW LONG SHOULD YOU WEAR THEM TO CURE EDEMA

Your medical condition and severity of edema determine how long you should wear compression socks. Your healthcare provider will give instructions regarding the period of use. Furthermore, you will have to visit your physician regularly to evaluate the progress of your edema. They will advise you if you need to continue using compression.

The duration of use for compression socks varies per individual. Some may need to wear compression socks for their entire life, while others may only need to wear them for a few months. However, if your doctor has already put on treatments for your edema, or if your condition is mild or already improving rapidly, you may only need to use compression socks for a short while. Even if you're taking diuretics, you can rest assured that you will soon stop wearing compression socks.

The only situation where discontinuation of compression socks will be dangerous is, God forbid, your veins have suffered extreme damage. In this situation, your veins will be incapable of preventing fluid from leaking or pooling.

Severe damage to the veins can also make you susceptible to serious complications such as DVTs and clots.

WHEN SHOULD YOU WEAR THE COMPRESSION SOCKS

Your doctor will most likely recommend you put on your socks right after you wake up. The fact is that swelling tends to be lesser in the mornings, making it easier to slip on the socks. As the day progresses, the swelling tends to increase. Depending on your level of edema, the doctor may even ask you to wear more than one pair of socks to combat the extreme swelling. In case you find the swelling already too much in the morning and struggle to put on the socks, you could try elevating your leg for the swelling to subside. In any case, it is best to keep the compression socks on for the entire day and only remove them when you are about to slip into bed for the night.

KINDS OF SOCKS FOR EDEMA

You will find compression socks and sleeves in all lengths for your body. You can find stockings that end at just below the knees for DVT, while compression tights and thigh high stockings are also available for edema.

You must note that compression socks and sleeves come with different pressure levels. We measure these in mm Hg. Also, note that you must buy a pair of compression socks, stockings, or sleeves that fit you snugly but are not painfully tight. Along with prescribing the right mm Hg number, your doctor will also measure your legs to tell you the correct length of socks you need.

The number of mm Hg you need depends on the level of your edema. You can get away with the lesser numbers if you only need socks to keep you comfortable while you are on your feet at work. Higher numbers are generally necessary for combating DVT (Deep vein thrombosis)

You will also come across anti-embolism stockings or thrombo-embolic deterrent (TED) in the stores. These only exist for those patients who have undergone surgery and need to stay in bed. You can use graduated compression socks if you can stand and move about.

BEST COMPRESSION SOCKS FOR EDEMA

The following are the best compression socks for edema of 2022.

Diabetic Sock Club's Compression Stockings - These compression stockings from the Diabetic Sock Club are ultra-soft and cozy with moisture-wicking properties that will keep you from having blisters. They won't irritate your skin because they are soft. Use compression socks that just go until your calf is good for preventing blisters and bad odor. These compression socks are ultra-soft and comfy, with moisture-wicking characteristics, and are made in the United States from premium grade fabrics.

Blueample ankle compression socks (15-20 mmHg)

This pair is a great choice for those who indulge in strenuous physical activities or sports. If you are undergoing feet treatment, then too, these would make a great choice.

SB SOX compression sock 20-30 mmHg

In addition to have multiple health benefits for your legs, these socks also you're your calf muscle. They are ideal for workouts, running, traveling, and long hours of physical activity.

CHarmking compression socks 15-20 mmHg

This pair of socks comes with physicians' approval. It can also be used as a part of the treatment process for your edema. Along with being super comfortable and lightweight, these socks improve your blood circulation.

ISEASOO Compression Sock 15-30 mmHg

Compression socks must provide all the elements of the regular pairs along with having medicinal benefits. These socks provide you just and maximize the health of your feet while combating edema.

FuelFoot Compression Socks 20-30 mmHg

You can get premium support for your feet through these socks. They ease the fatigue, swelling, and ache in your legs along with boosting circulation.

 

When should I replace my compression stockings? 

You will probably need to replace your compression stockings every 3-6 months. The elastic fibers and fabrics used for your socks will eventually be worn out and need to be replaced. If you know that your compression stockings are worn out already, don't try to keep them on. Stop using them already and buy a new pair. 

Wearing worn-out compression stockings may damage your legs and create complications that you want to avoid. Here are some indications to know when your compression stockings need to be replaced already:

  • Suppose your compression stockings are easier to put on. Your compression stockings lost their adequate pressure. That is why the bands that hold it together to put pressure on your feet and legs and make it tighter are gone.
  • Notice if there are thinner, sagging, or worn-out sock areas. This is the most noticeable indication that you should replace your compression stockings. You will feel the fabric when you put on your stockings, so it's easy to identify these things. 
  • If you have lost or gained weight, it also means that you need to replace your stockings. The circumference of your legs may be different from the last time it was and will require additional pressure. 

 

Can Compression Stockings cause problems? 

Yes, it does cause problems. Doctors prescribed compression stockings to patients with particular medical conditions that needed pressure on their legs. Still, people should be aware that compression stockings are not a one size fits all solution. It is essential to keep in mind how much pressure you need in your legs and that you need to get provided by a professional. 

Compression Stockings are sometimes misused to cause complications in a patient's body. Even hospitals and other patient care facilities are guilty of misusing compression stockings. Using compression stockings can cause side effects because of a bad fit or misuse. 

 

What is the side effect of compression stockings? 

When the wrong size of stockings is worn, or the stockings are not fitted properly, they won't do their job.

A stocking that is too tight for a patient can put too much pressure on the limb. This problem is similar to how a tourniquet works because the stockings are restricting the limbs, the blood flow is hindered, and the hose may become the cause of blood clots rather than boosting your blood flow. It will just create complications. 

Compression that is fitted or misused, such as too small, rolled, or folded over, may cause excessive irritation to the skin. In some cases, it can result in ulcers and open wounds. If the stockings are used this way after surgery, the damage can occur in as little as two hours. 

To avoid these complications, it is essential that you get fitted by a professional. Compression strengths also vary depending on what condition you have, so it is necessary to talk to your doctor about it and tell them your situation so they can give the proper advice to you. 

 

How to tell if you are wearing the wrong compression stockings

If you experience any of the following, it could indicate that the compression stockings you are wearing are not the right size for your legs, feet, ankle, and calf. 

  • Your stockings are extremely hard to put on. Compression stockings are usually hard to put on because they have compression, but they shouldn't be so tight that you have to struggle, toggle or fight to pull them up to your legs. 
  • Your stockings are also hard to remove. As much as it is hard to put on, you should be able to remove them with relative ease. However, your compression stockings should not be so loose that they just slip right off your legs. 
  • Stockings fall down your legs or bunch around the ankles. 
  • Your legs tend to get irritated or swell while wearing compression stockings. 
  • You feel pain when you are wearing compression stockings; your socks are too tight, or compression stockings are not recommended for your condition. 

 

What types of complications can occur if you wear the wrong compression stockings

There are a lot of complications that can occur if you are not wearing suitable compression stockings. 

  • Development of calluses and corns in the feet, calluses, and corns can develop if the compression stockings are too tight. 
  • Numbness and tingling of the lower limbs. 
  • Rashes, extreme itching, and skin irritation. 
  • Sudden and unexplained joint pain, especially in the knees. 
  • Poor blood circulation. 
  • Pain around your legs. 
  • Sudden swelling of feet, legs, and toes. 
  • Sudden spasms of the feet, toes, and legs. 

 

How can you get a pair that will fit you well? 

You may need a more muscular compression or lesser, depending on your condition. For you to have the perfect size that will fit around your legs, you'll need a professional fitting. If you're are using them for the first time, you need to get used to your stockings, and if they lose their elasticity, you will need to replace them but check with your doctor first if there are changes on your compression stockings. 

A physician or your doctor prescribes Compression Stockings. A professional will assist you with what type and how much compression your stockings should have. You shouldn't buy your compression stockings just because you "think" you need them. This should be prescribed and recommended by a professional. 

 

Do's and don'ts for compression stockings.

If your doctor has recommended you to use compression stockings, it is important that you understand and know how to use them properly and how to take care of them. 

Here is the list of the things that you should DO when wearing compression stockings:

  • Get your legs professionally measured - Before you buy compression stockings, you should know the size of your legs. If you buy the wrong size, you won't get the benefits of compression stockings, and they won't be as comfortable on your legs. Getting the right size will help you with comfort and avoid complications. 
  • Care for your compression stockings every day - Doctors recommend patients use their compression stockings every day for maximum benefit. Wearing them every day means you need to wash them too every use. Washing them can help return their original shape and also extend their usability over time. Washing them is also important for your hygiene and to make sure that when you wear your compression stockings, they are clean and don't have any dirt that can cause irritation. 
  • Wash your compression stockings properly - It is important to check and read the instructions for your compression stockings on how to wash them. Some compression stockings are washable in your machine's gentle setting and if this is an option, put your compression stockings inside a mesh laundry bag. To properly wash your compression stockings, use cold water and a bit of gentle soap. There is also a specially formulated washing solution for your compression stockings. This will clean your stockings without damaging them. To dry your stockings, roll them up in a towel, pat out all the excess water, and then hang them up, don't dry them in your washing machine's dryer cause this can reap the stockings. 
  • Use donning gloves to put on your compression stockings - When you use donning gloves, it will lessen the chance that you might snag your stockings on a fingernail. Donning gloves also provide grip and make it easier for you to wear your compression stockings so they won't slide off when you try to put them on. 
  • Put your compression stockings on every morning - When you wake up in the morning, it will be easier for you to put on your compression stockings because your feet and legs are less swollen. You must wear your stockings for the whole day for most medical benefits, and compression stockings will help your legs and feet be protected through the activities you will do for the entire day.

Here is the list of the DON'TS that you should avoid when you are using compression stockings:

  • Don't roll up your compression stockings when you are putting them on - Rolling your compression stockings creates a tight band that cuts off the circulation and causes soreness around your legs. Rolling them also causes your compression stockings to lose their elasticity. When trying to put them on or remove them, try not to scrunch or roll them up. 
  • Don't wear them at night - Try to avoid wearing them at night unless your doctor specifically prescribed you to do so. When lying down at night, your legs are already in a neutral position that allows regular blood flow. Adding compression in this position is unnecessary. Adding compression to your legs in this position, for some cases, can also pool blood in your legs. Try elevating your legs with a couple of pillows instead. By having your legs above your heart level, you regulate proper blood flow. 
  • Don't use chlorine bleach to clean your stockings - Avoid any substance that can damage your compression stockings because it can damage and destroy your compression stockings. 
  • Don't wring out your compression stockings to dry them - Any intense movements when washing and drying your compression stockings can damage them. Treat them gently, and when you are trying to dry them off, to get the excess water out of your compression stockings, ball them up and squeeze gently. 
  • Don't alter your compression stockings - Avoid doing changes in your compression stockings by yourself, like cutting off any part of your stockings. The foot of the compression stockings acts as an anchor. It provides a solid hold, making it easier for you to put on your socks and have graduated compression meaning the compression is strongest at the ankle and gets lighter as it goes up the calf. Cutting off the foot or any part of it causes them to roll up and become uncomfortable to wear. Suppose the stockings seem to be too tight around the toes. In that case, you may want to consider a product such as open toe compression stockings, or your compression stockings are uncomfortable, try checking on a professional to see if your socks fit you just right. 
  • Don't wear lotions or oils - Oily substances such as creams or lotions can break down the elastic fibers. Moisture your legs in the evening when you are done wearing your stockings.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you discover symptoms that could be related to edema, you must consult your doctor immediately. Perhaps the use of compression socks is just what you need to recover from the condition. Compression socks come in varying types with different pressure levels. Only a healthcare provider can ascertain which type and pressure of compression socks are best for your condition.

 

2 comments

  • How do you determine the correct size for these socks please?

    Heather Patrick
  • How do you determine the correct size for oneself please?

    Heather Patrick

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