Will Compression Socks Help With My Lymphedema?
For those suffering from lymphedema, it can often seem like there's no relief in sight. The swelling and aching, especially if it presents in your feet, can cause serious issues. Thankfully, there are options you can use to help treat the pain and discomfort associated with lymphedema, such as by using compression socks.
Compression socks are an affordable at home treatment tool to help manage a variety of pains and aches in your feet and legs. By using various levels of even pressure they help realign vessels and promote proper foot health. Those that suffer from lymphedema should especially consider picking up a pair of compression socks to help manage their symptoms.
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is the buildup of fluids caused by a damaged lymphatic system. While breast cancer treatment related lymphedema is the most commonly known type, the condition can affect any area of the body. Many people with the condition experience the characteristic swelling of lymphedema in their feet.
A lymphatic system functioning correctly works to manage the fluid levels in your body as well as fight off foreign bacteria and infections. When this system becomes damaged, fluid can build up due to weakened vessels or structural damage.
Common symptoms of lymphedema include:
- aching and joint pain
- tightness of the skin
- an area of skin that is noticeably hotter than the rest of your body
- unusual pain
How Do Compression Socks Help Lymphedema?
Compression socks work by applying equal amounts of light pressure around your legs, ankles, and feet. This helps promote the lymphatic system to work properly. The compression works to strengthen and align the vessels.
Because lymphedema is caused by an improperly working or damaged lymphatic system, it can be difficult to treat. Compression socks can offer relief from swelling from the comfort of a patient's own home. Used in combination with other treatments, compression socks can offer those suffering from lymphedema a huge quality of life boost.
Recent studies have also shown that wearing compression garments may help prevent further lymphedema complications post surgery.
How To Find the Right Compression Sock
While compression socks may help reduce the symptoms of your lymphedema, not all compression socks are created equal. It's important to find the right sock for you in terms of style, pressure, and price point.
The right compression sock should offer the following:
- a snug yet comfortable fit
- quality construction designed to last (socks should be replaced every few months for maximum effectiveness, not every few weeks)
- apply a level of pressure that is comfortable for you
- breathable yet sturdy material
- have as few seems as possible to reduce potential irritation
Other Helpful Tips for Dealing with Lymphedema
Your primary healthcare provider will work with you to come up with a treatment plan for your lymphedema. It's important to follow their advice and instructions, as well as do what you can for your own health such as improving your diet and exercise regime. The following tips will help you manage your risks and do what you can to improve your quality of life.
- Stay active and try to aim for moderate exercise 3 - 5 times per week.
- Avoid wearing tight jewelry, scarves, socks, and other accessories that may exacerbate the problem.
- Do your best to keep from sitting down all the time, but if you must keep the limbs affected with lymphedema elevated.
- Wear a combination of sunscreen and protective clothing to keep your skin safe from sunburns.
- Keep a close eye on the area affected with lymphedema.
Compression Socks Can Help with Lymphedema
Lymphedema is a serious condition that requires paying a lot of attention and giving a lot of care to the affected area. Compression socks can help provide vital support essential to your feet’s recovery. Those suffering from lymphedema of the feet should talk to their doctor about potentially wearing compression socks to help relieve their symptoms.