Benefits of Compression Socks for Seniors

One day you wake up and suddenly you don’t have quite as much pep in your step as you once did.  Your legs may feel a bit heavy, and it’s more of an effort to get from point A to point B.  Tasks that once felt effortless now feel sluggish and deliberate, almost as though you are dragging your legs along with you.  The strong, steady trunks that once carried you throughout your day are feeling worn out.  After standing for an extended period of time, you now find yourself taking breaks to rest your legs.  By the end of the day, you experience aches and pains that were never present before.  As nighttime settles in, and you begin to doze off, your legs have other plans; they feel restless, and you can’t seem to keep them from moving.  If any of this sounds familiar, then it’s very likely that you could benefit from wearing compression socks.


What are They?

Compression socks are specialized, snug-fitting socks that apply a specific amount of pressure on your legs.  Compression socks extend to the top of your calf and apply even pressure throughout your lower leg.  There are different options designed to serve a variety of needs and comfort preferences.  Graduated compression stockings start out tighter at the ankle and become less constrictive as they move up the leg.  Another popular option, especially when wearing open toed shoes, is compression tubes (or sleeves).  These are similar to compression socks, only footless.  A range of sizes and strengths is available; you should discuss with your physician which ones would be best for you to suit your particular needs.


How Do They Work?

The main goal of compression socks is to promote better blood circulation through the legs, feet, and back up to the heart.  By applying gentle, steady pressure to your legs, your arteries can relax, allowing oxygen-rich blood to flow more freely.  Proper blood circulation plays a vital role in heart, lung, and muscle function.  On the contrary, poor circulation can cause cramping, pain, and throbbing, as well as digestive issues, fatigue, and varicose veins.  If left untreated, poor circulation can lead to blood clots and other life-threatening health issues.

Compression socks are also used to reduce pain and swelling in your legs and ankles by reducing fluid buildup.  When there is too much swelling in the legs, individuals may experience problems with mobility.  The legs get heavy as a result of too much fluid, making it difficult to walk.  This can lead to a decline in independence, subsequently affecting one’s mental wellness.  Chronic swelling can also lead to hard-to-heal wounds on the legs.


Why are They Beneficial?

Compression socks are clinically proven to improve circulation, resulting in a host of health benefits for people of all ages!  Athletes love to wear them, because they aid in recovery and reduce stress on your muscles during workouts.  Pregnant women gravitate to compression socks for their ability to make circulation more efficient, which is especially important with the increased blood volume experienced during pregnancy.  They’re popular among professionals, such as teachers and nurses, who spend the majority of the day on their feet.

Older individuals also experience many perks from wearing compression socks.  As we age, we often experience lifestyle changes, in part due to a lack of mobility.  Wearing this simple garment can help seniors stay active, while improving circulation and preventing fluid buildup.  Engaging in day-to-day activities is not only crucial for your physical well-being, but for your mental health as well.  As we age, the circulation throughout our body naturally decreases, putting us at a greater risk for blood clots, varicose veins, and spider veins, all of which can be painful or even life threatening.  Wearing compression socks helps to promote consistent and steady blood flow throughout the body, making these negative side effects less likely to occur.


How Do I Know if Compression Socks are Right for Me?

Although a doctor’s order is not needed to purchase basic compression socks, it is important to have a conversation with your physician to make sure they are right for you.  While they are beneficial to most, they may not be the best option for everyone in every situation.  Individuals with delicate or sensitive skin may find the steady pressure to be too abrasive, damaging, or irritating their skin.  Other health conditions, such as peripheral artery disease and massive edema, may prevent you from being a candidate for compression socks.  Consult with your doctor to make sure you have the right size, fit, and level of pressure for your specific needs.


If you arrive at the conclusion that compression socks are a good fit, you can purchase a pair at your local drug store or at a medical supply store, if you need something more specialized.  Be sure to change them daily and wash them regularly.  Wear them as directed by your doctor or the manufacturer for the best results.   For more great info on ways to support our senior community visit our blog at