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Finding comfort (and fashion) with compression socks

BioPed’s Guelph Clinic Manager explains how compression socks can help many common complaints

Tired and sore legs – these are common complaints for many people these days. Whether you are sitting at your desk for hours each day or spend most of your time standing, your legs and ankles could be bothering you. Did you know that a relatively simple solution is easily available? Compression socks can help to relieve daily leg fatigue and they’ve come a long way from being the medical-looking socks you might remember your grandmother wearing.

We caught up with Meghan Knox, the Clinic Manager of BioPed’s Guelph location and a Canadian Certified Pedorthist, to find out more about how compression socks work and who would benefit from them.

Who should wear compression socks?

“Most commonly, people that have vein swelling should be wearing them, but they can also be useful for people who stand or sit for longer than four hours. Research has shown that compression socks help to reduce the level of fatigue or lactic acid buildup that you can develop in the lower limbs. The general population that stands or sits at a desk or on an airplane for long periods can benefit from them.

The fitness world has boomed with compression therapies to help with performance. They can reduce leg fatigue. Some people use them because they’re looking for something more in terms of their fitness goals.”

How does inactivity affect people’s lower limbs?

“You have something called a calf muscle pump. As you walk and move, you have contractions of that muscle that helps to keep fluid from pooling. When you don't move and you don't have that muscle contraction, it limits the ability for the valves to get fluid moving against gravity and out of the lower limbs.”

How do compression socks work?

“Compression socks will help to reduce that pooling and move that fluid back up. They have gradient compression, which means they are tightest around the ankles and compression gradually decreases up the leg. The top band has zero compression and is just tight enough to keep the sock from sliding down.”

Is a prescription required?

“Some of compression socks require a prescription, but not all of them. If someone is working at home and they have tired feet, they could buy low level compression socks without a prescription. We suggest making a fitting appointment where we help you to choose the right compression. We also help you find the right fit by measuring your ankle circumference, and length of your leg. We can show you how to put them on and wear them properly as well.”

Are there more fashionable versions of compression socks available now?

“We carry a wide variety of compression socks – some look like standard dress socks or athletic socks and some of them are very fun and funky.”

For more information about compression socks or to schedule a complimentary sock fitting or lower limb assessment, visit BioPed online or call (519) 821-7310. BioPed is located at 102 Wyndham Street North in Guelph.