How to Control Swelling with Compression Socks

Best Compression Socks for Swelling | Dundas University Health Clinic

Overview: Compression Socks

Compression socks—also known as compression stockings or thigh-high compression socks—are special socks made to fit tighter than normal so that they gently squeeze the legs. Wearing them helps improve blood flow and also reduces pain and swelling in the legs. Compression socks can reduce your chances of getting a type of blood clot called deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and also prevent other circulation problems. Compression socks come in different lengths, materials and tightness. They are also available as compression sleeves, without the bottom foot portion. The best compression socks for swelling are available over the counter, at medical supply companies, online, and in many drugstores. Their cost could also be covered by insurance if they have been prescribed by a doctor.

Causes for Swelling

Swollen feet and ankles are a common problem. There can be various causes for swelling, such as…

  • Constant sitting or standing
    Spending long periods of time on your feet can lead to swollen feet and ankles. When your legs are in a vertical position and you are not moving but are standing or sitting down constantly, it can create swelling problems. This is more so when you cannot stretch your legs such as when sitting in an airplane, or working in professions such as nursing. Standing all day reportedly puts 20% additional strain on your circulation. Besides swollen feet and ankles, it causes fatigue and soreness. This is one of the main causes for swelling.
  • Certain medicines
    Certain medications can cause swollen feet and ankles. Calcium channel blockers, like the drug amlodipine, are one example of such a drug. Around 50% of people who take this medication experience swelling in the feet as a side effect. Swollen feet and ankles are also caused by medication used to treat blood pressure as well as by hormone drugs. Cancer chemotherapy drugs, medications used to treat seizures, as well as certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-diabetes and antidepressant drugs can also lead to swollen feet and ankles.
  • Oedema
    Oedema, which is a build-up of fluid in the body that causes the affected tissue to become swollen, can also be the cause of puffiness and heaviness in the feet and ankles. Such extreme swelling caused by oedema, can lead to more discomfort and health issues. As oedema is a symptom of more serious issues, it is recommended that those suffering from it often and for long periods of time should always consult a doctor, to rule out venous insufficiency.
  • Certain medical conditions
    Swelling in the feet and ankles can also be caused by blood clots or deep vein thrombosis. Liver or kidney disease as well as venous insufficiency can also cause swelling in the lower limbs. If the swelling starts suddenly and does not subside naturally, it is important to consult a medical specialist. Physical activity or injuries as well as surgery are also a possible cause of swollen feet and ankles. Runners and hikers, who sprain an ankle by accident, experience swelling in the area.
  • Pregnancy
    Due to fluid build-up or lack of mobility, pregnant women often experience swelling in their legs and ankles.

How to Control Swelling

Wearing compression socks can bring immense relief to those suffering from swollen feet or ankles. The best compression socks for swelling apply a gradual, gentle pressure to the lower limbs. This stimulates blood flow and reduces inflammation and pain. In this way, compression socks help by gradually reducing swelling and pain.

Compression sock benefits are many. They also protect you from cuts, grazes or other injury. Medical compression socks are especially useful for diabetics as well as those who have reduced mobility.

By boosting blood flow, they help avoid the formation of dangerous blood clots. Further swelling is curtailed.

By supporting muscles in the lower legs and ankles, they provide support during physical activities.

Usage of compression socks results in better muscle recovery and athletic performance. They help bring a feeling of lighter legs and wellbeing.

How to Wear Compression Socks

Wondering how to wear compression socks? A certified compression fitter can help you choose your compression socks depending upon the type of activity you will be using them for. This will decide the type of material and the style of the socks. If you need them while you go hiking, you might choose Merino wool compression socks that provide warmth as well as moisture-wicking qualities. Simple cotton compression socks would do for a long-haul flight. Do consider the size you choose as thigh-high compression socks need to feel tight, but not uncomfortable.

When it comes to how to wear compression socks, it requires a little getting used to, as your body needs to adjust to the feeling of pressure. Start by wearing them for a couple of hours at a time. You can start using them for longer periods of time once you are more comfortable with them. Compression socks can be worn for 24 hours at a time, if needed. What’s more, instead of waiting until your legs or ankles are swollen, you can start compression therapy for swelling at the start itself as a preventive measure.


Compression sock benefits are real. Compression therapy for swelling offers relief from swollen and painful feet and ankles. They leave you with a lighter, better feeling in your lower limbs. Do check with your health expert if you are prescribed thigh-high compression socks or medical compression socks for a medical condition or after surgery. If you are new to compression socks, opt for ones offering moderate pressure levels (15-20 mm Hg). Allow your limbs to adjust to the pressure before advancing to higher levels of compression. Do consult with a specialist in store for best compression socks for swelling. Try on different sizes until you find the best fit for you and your condition. Choose the right material depending on the activity and the weather conditions. Browse a wide range of trendy and effective compression socks on our website let our certified compression fitter help you make the right choice.