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Squeezed at Work? You Should Be…

Spanx inventor Sara Blakely has made a billion dollars by providing people with a relatively comfortable girdle to keep their squishy bits contained. Using elastic material in garments is nothing new, but unlike Spanx, knee-high compression stockings aren’t used to make people’s legs look better, but rather to prevent a myriad of health issues. Runners have used compression socks for years to help improve performance and reduce leg pain, but for people who sit for extended periods, compression socks may be even more valuable.

Running runner man sprinting at speed. Male athlete training alone in full body wearing red compression top and socks during run on Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, USA.

The primary function of compressions stockings is to reduce the diameter of distended veins. Reducing vein diameter through compression therapy – as with compression stockings – causes an increase in levitra lowest cost venous blood flow velocity and valve effectiveness, which helps reduce venous pressure, and prevent venous stasis (still blood), which can lead to blood clots.

While most socks, stockings, or pantyhose have some degree of elasticity, compression stockings use much stronger elastic material to put significant pressure on the legs. This forces the circulating blood through narrower circulatory channels, increasing arterial pressure and forcing blood back towards the heart, and preventing it from pooling in the feet. Compression socks are usually tightest at the ankles and become looser as they move up the leg, closer to the heart where circulation is naturally better. This gradual loosening is called gradient compression, and is today the most common type of compression stocking.

Gradient elastic stockings pioneered by engineer and patient, Conrad Jobst, in the early 1950s remain the standard in the management of chronic venous disease. Gradient compression delivers a squeezing to the leg that is tightest at the ankle. The amount of squeezing or compression gradually decreases up the leg. While the exact mechanism of action of compression remains elusive, compression is believed to provide two primary benefits to individuals suffering from chronic venous insufficiency.

Perhaps the most important effect is that compression increases the pressure in the tissue under the skin (subcutaneous) thereby helping to reduce and prevent swelling. The compression of this subcutaneous tissue helps move excess fluid (swelling) back into the capillaries (tiniest of the blood vessels) and helps prevent too much fluid from leaking out of these little vessels.(

Compression stockings can help alleviate aches or a feeling of heaviness in the legs, along with reducing swelling, and helping to prevent blood clots. If you run or jog, spend a lot of time in the car or on an airplane, or have achy legs, consider buying a set of compression stockings. Ask your BodyMend healthcare practitioner about what to look for in a good pair of compression socks. They won’t help you look any better in your high school reunion dress, but they might help you feel better in the car on the way there.

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