best compression socks for elderly

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A Guide To The Best Compression Socks For elderly

A Guide To The Best Compression Socks For Seniors

Unlike standard socks, compression socks don’t just keep you comfortable—they can help preserve your health, too.

Compression stockings are snug legwear that can improve circulation and prevent fluid buildup in the legs. They can also help seniors stay active and prevent health problems, such as leg swelling and even blood clots.

What Are Compression Socks?

Compression socks gently squeeze the leg, moving blood up the leg and preventing fluid retention that can cause swelling. Compression stockings can help prevent blood clots and are often prescribed for people with varicose veins, spider veins or those who just had surgery. They can also help with vascular conditions, such as deep vein thrombosis (characterized by a blood clot in the deep vein), post-thrombotic syndrome (a complication of deep vein thrombosis) and chronic venous insufficiency (when circulation of blood in the leg veins is impaired).

“Compression stockings are really important, especially for people with swelling in their legs,” says Jessica Kalender-Rich, M.D., the post-acute medical director for the continuum of care with the University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Kansas. “Chronic swelling in legs can lead to debility and decline in the ability to walk because the leg can get heavy. In addition, it can lead to wounds on the legs, which is then harder to heal because swelling is the enemy of healing.”

Shifting fluid around the body can be problematic for people with heart failure or liver disease. Additionally, compression generally isn’t a good idea for those with active infections, and people with peripheral arterial disease shouldn’t restrict blood flow with compression.

You don’t need a prescription to buy socks with relatively low levels of compression. Higher levels of compression, though, do require a prescription from your doctor, as certain contraindications may put you at risk. A prescription can help you find the right type of sock for your specific needs.

Types of Compression Socks and Their Benefits

In general, compression stockings are made of elastic fabric. But different styles are designed to meet different needs.

“It’s a good idea to consult with your physician or advanced practice provider to make sure they agree with the kind of compression stocking you’re choosing,” says Dr. Kalender-Rich. “It’s good to know your goal.”

There are several kinds of compression stockings:

Graduated Compression Stockings

These stockings are tighter at the bottom (at the ankle) and help push fluid up the leg. If the goal is to get rid of swelling and prevent it from coming back, Dr. Kalender-Rich says graduated compression stockings are your best bet. You’ll take them off nightly before bed and put them on in the morning after bathing.

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TED Hose

Thromboembolism-deterrent (TED) hoses are often used by patients after they’ve undergone surgery, including heart surgery. They’re designed to push blood up the leg, toward the heart. The idea is to avoid blood clots or deep vein thrombosis. You generally take them off daily when you bathe, but talk to your doctor about whether or not you should wear them while you sleep.

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Non-Medical Support Hosiery

Tired, heavy and aching legs can often find relief from nonmedical support hose. These socks provide less compression than other options and the compression is consistent throughout the length of the sock. You can purchase non-medical support hosiery without a prescription. They don’t meet the medical and technical specifications of other compression hosiery, but might be beneficial for people who are pregnant, people who take long and frequent flights or people who are on their feet all day for work.

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Features to Consider When Buying Compression Socks

Talk to your doctor to see what specific elements you should look for in a compression sock so you are directed to the features best suited to your needs. Here are a few factors to keep in mind:

Tightness

Tension in compression stockings is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). In general, pressure of less than 20 mmHg is considered low compression while 20 to 30 mmHg is medium compression. Pressure that exceeds 30 mmHg is deemed high compression. Some studies show low pressure is just as effective as medium pressure for general swelling[1].

Low pressure can help mild swelling and aching legs or feet, while medium compression can treat varicose veins and sports injuries. Seniors often find compression in the 20 to 30 mmHg range to be helpful. High compression is used for conditions like severe edema, deep vein thrombosis, serious wounds and lymphedema, and anything over 30 mmHg typically requires a prescription, so talk to your doctor.

Length

You can find compression stockings in knee-high, thigh-high and full-length styles. Most people find that knee-high socks are easier to put on. The length that works best for you will depend on your needs. In general, though, most common leg conditions can benefit from knee-high compression socks, while thigh-high compression socks are typically used to treat severe varicose veins and other conditions that extend above the knee.

Fit and Comfort

Compression socks should feel secure, but not too tight.

“You don’t want them to feel like they’re cutting into your leg,” says Dr. Kalender-Rich. “More than that, you don’t want any creases or pushing into the top of the leg. These can put you at risk for wounds.”

And remember—the best compression sock is the one you’ll wear.

“This is not a time to seek perfection if it means not doing anything,” says Dr. Kalender-Rich. “Sometimes, we have to choose the stocking that is perhaps less beneficial medically but will actually get worn.”

How Much Do Compression Socks Cost?

You can find compression stockings at several price points. Expect to spend at least $10 a pair. Higher-compression and more specialized stockings (such as ones that include unique grip tops or are made of fashionable fabric) can exceed $100. You can find compression socks at online retailers, pharmacies, medical supply stores and stores that focus on comfort footwear.

Does Insurance Cover Compression Socks?

Generally, insurance will cover the cost of compression stockings if they’re part of a diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to check with your insurance provider on what your coverage includes. You might be able to use health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) funds to pay for prescription compression socks, so be sure to ask your provider.

How to Use Compression Stockings

Compression socks can be trickier to put on and require a little more TLC than a standard pair of socks.

Here are a few helpful hints from Vascular Cures, a non-profit organization that promotes resources for vascular disease:

  • Put on the socks first thing in the morning, when your leg is less swollen.
  • Pull the socks up your leg gently, smoothing the fabric as you go. Make sure the seams are straight and the heels are in the correct spot.
  • Use talcum powder on your legs to make the socks go on more smoothly. If you use lotion, make sure it’s dry before you put your stockings on.
  • Make sure the socks are smooth, especially at the ankle or behind the knee. Don’t fold the stockings down if they seem too long.

Tools like metal frames, called donners, and nonslip gloves can make it easier to put compression socks on and take them off.

You also need to take extra care whenever you aren’t wearing the socks. “Anytime the compression garment is changed, whether daily or in a doctor’s office every few days, it’s always important to do a skin check,” says Dr. Kalender-Rich. “You want to look for any wounds or rashes. We always want to be doing more good than harm.”

She also recommends having more than one pair of compression socks so you can wash one and wear one simultaneously. Hand washing and air drying help make the elastic last longer.

Best Compression Socks for the Elderly – (Complete Guide!)

sizes of compression socks images

Looking to Buy a Pair of properly-sized Compression Socks?

Click the button below to see the lineup of ComproGear Compression Socks.

NOTE: The page includes a sizing chart and free returns, so you’re always sure to get the perfect size!

Click Here to Shop ComproGear Compression Socks

nurse assisting old person in wearing compression inducing socks

Compression socks can be worn by anyone, but older individuals are more likely to benefit from them than anyone else. In fact, upon hearing the term ‘compression socks,’ the first image in your mind is likely an older person putting on a pair! With that in mind, this post talks about the best compression socks for elderly folks.

Nurse helps patient putting compression stockings on

As people age, it is normal for them to experience changes in lifestyle. Their health may also steadily deteriorate, and some people start to lose the physiological and psychological strengths they possessed in their youth. As this happens, they become more prone to a variety of chronic diseases and health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, depression, arthritis, and circulatory problems.

Whether they live at home or at a senior care facility, the elderly require regular care and personalized routines if they are to successfully combat the health issues outlined above. One way to do so is by using compression socks. Compression socks can provide anyone who uses them with support and comfort for their limbs. Doctors and senior citizen homes recommend the use of compression stockings as standard when it comes to proper care for the elderly.

What are compression socks?

rolled up elastic compression bandages

Compression socks are stretchable, elastic socks that cover your legs, feet, and ankles. They use flexible materials that apply constant pressure on your limbs. That is why they are sometimes called pressure socks.

Compression socks come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, lengths, and compression levels, and they are different from regular socks because the pressure they apply on your legs helps to support the movement of your ankles and feet. This pressure is also effective in the prevention and control of various venous disorders, circulatory issues, and edema.

How do compression socks work?

swollen feet, puffy and reddish feet

Compression stockings are used in compression therapy and they can help lower and even prevent edema, swollen feet, circulatory issues, and venous deficiencies. Compression therapy is an old and proven approach to physical rehabilitation and it has long been part of the rehab regimen of senior clinics, maternity hospitals, and assisted living communities.

The basic function of compression hosiery is to apply pressure around the limb of the user, but some people may still ask whether this is of any use. The answer lies in the fact that pressure of this type can help the circulatory system as it supports the walls and valves of the veins in the legs.

types of varicose veins

Edema, blood clotting, varicose veins, spider veins, deep vein thrombosis, and in some cases, leg ulcers are caused by reduced blood flow in the legs, as well as a leg injury, cardiovascular diseases, aging, a general lack of movement, and even smoking.

Compression socks apply pressure to the ankles of the wearer. This pressure gradually falls as the hose extends upward toward the knee or thigh. In this way, compression socks squeeze the veins in the feet and legs and prevent the accumulation of blood in the lower regions of your limbs, promoting healthier blood circulation. When deoxygenated blood leaves the legs more quickly, fresh, nutrient-rich blood takes its place. This helps prevent the development of swollen feet and the pooling of body fluids (mostly blood and lymph) in the feet and legs.   

Benefits of wearing compression socks for seniors

Adjusting to old age, especially after the age of sixty, can be tough. The constant care and assistance that you now need for tasks and activities that you used to perform on your own can take a serious toll on your physical and psychological well-being. You may find yourself becoming tired more easily, losing stamina quickly, and suffering from chronic pain more frequently. To live a happy and content life, it is of utmost importance that you find simple yet effective ways that can help you maintain your quality of life, and compression socks are a simple yet effective way to do just that.

funny meme about compression hoisery

Here are some of the health benefits that you will enjoy once you start using compression gear in your daily routine.

Edema and swollen feet

A person doing finger test on edema patient

Edema and swelling are more common in the elderly since their movements are restricted. This can be because of arthritis, joint pain, or other health problems, and the likelihood of fluid accumulation in the limbs increases exponentially as a result. Compression socks can help reduce edema and fight the painful heaviness and swelling that accompany fluid accumulation in the legs.

sizes of compression socks images

Looking to Buy a Pair of properly-sized Compression Socks?

Click the button below to see the lineup of ComproGear Compression Socks.

NOTE: The page includes a sizing chart and free returns, so you’re always sure to get the perfect size!

Click Here to Shop ComproGear Compression Socks

Pain reduction

One of the biggest challenges that the elderly face is the inability to move freely and being unable to perform routine activities and the things they enjoy themselves. Leg pain can pose a significant challenge to free movement and it presents a psychological barrier to a healthy life as well.

An old person suffering from knee pain.

Compression socks are a safe remedy for the mitigation of leg pain and chronic tiredness. Leg heaviness can sometimes become so painful that the victim cannot even walk or perform their day to day activities on their own. Oral medications for pain are sometimes out of the question as well for such individuals because of their age. Under such circumstances, compression and support garments can reduce the pain in the patient’s limbs and provide them with relief with almost no side-effects.    

 Medical conditions and leg disorders

picture to demonstrate various leg disorders

Old age brings with it new illnesses, and it aggravates old conditions as well. Common conditions faced by the elderly include deep vein thrombosis (DVT), chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), leg ulcers, varicose or spider veins, lymphedema, circulatory issues, and blood clotting. Compression stockings prevent, reduce, and control the progression of such disorders. They work best when the correct compression level is used regularly alongside other prescribed medications and treatments.

Recovering from surgery

A person is recovering from surgery using compression hoisery
Shot of a young woman relaxing on the sofa at home and using a mobile phone

The older we get, the higher are our risks of severe illnesses and, consequently, surgeries. Post-surgical recovery is longer and harder for patients above the age of fifty. Doctors recommend compression stockings for patients recovering from surgeries.

Protection of your feet and ankles

how to protect your feet by using socks.

It takes longer for seniors and the elderly to heal their wounds, and they are more susceptible to infections as well. Diabetes is another huge concern for people who cross their fifties. Slow-healing and nerve damage due to diabetes further increase the importance of foot care for the elderly. Compression socks can safeguard against minor cuts, injuries, and mosquito bites, and they can help prevent infection to some degree as well. Thigh-high compression socks can even be used to provide additional protection against harsh environments such as cold weather.

General well-being

people having a cheerful moment

Compression socks help the elderly carry out their regular activities with ease by promoting mobility and reducing pain. Being unable to work, go to the restroom, and even walk down to the curb can lead to frustration and can also lead to depression and anxiety in extreme cases.

Side effects of support hose for the elderly

A funny meme about side effect.

Support garments are generally a safe prevention remedy and can provide care for injuries. They are few if any known side-effects on users. however, in the case of seniors, extra care is necessary to prevent any unforeseen or harmful effects of the socks which may arise as a result of the incorrect use or abuse of the socks. Harmful effects that may appear in such cases include:

adverse effect of using socks
  • Marks or indentations on the skin
  • Redness, itching, or rashes on the skin
  • Bad smell due to sweating
  • Halted blood circulation (if the socks are too tight or have folds)
  • Inflammation of joints and ankles
  • Increase in swelling of the feet and ankles
  • Allergic reaction to the material of the socks
  • Corn, calluses, infections, or warts

These adverse effects may seem minor but can be potentially dangerous for the elder individual, so if you regularly use compression socks, using them properly is important.

a funny toy story meme

Wearing compression socks can be somewhat complicated, at least for the elderly or those who are bedridden and have restricted mobility. Caregivers and nurses can help such individuals put on and take off their socks. Bed-bound seniors can also take the assistance of other family members or friends for wearing their compression garments.

Some tips for seniors regarding the use of compression socks

why wear compression socks

Compression socks can help you avoid partial loss of blood circulation, pain, itchiness, and redness of skin if you follow a few simple tips. These tips can also be followed by caretakers in nursing homes for the routine care of elder guests.

Use the correct size of compression socks for the elderly

person relaxing in correct sized compression socks.

The right size sock is important if the sock is to work correctly. Compression socks are different from regular socks and will lose their effectiveness if you use the incorrect size. Use accurate leg measurements and carefully select a pair for yourself using a size chart so that you get the right size that fits you perfectly.

Use the appropriate compression level

Compression socks can cause harm if the compression level selection is too high. Compression levels indicate how much pressure the sock will apply to your limbs. If the socks are loose, they will not prevent fluid accumulation, but if they are too tight, they can cause a loss of circulation in the legs. Both of these conditions can cause physical damage as well as discomfort.

Take care when wearing compression socks

how to put and wear compression stockings

You must put on your socks with care. There should be no kinks, folds, or bundling of the fabric at any point. The ends of the sleeves or socks must not have folds as these may cause temporary indentations on the surface of the skin and may even cut off the blood supply to that part of the limb entirely.

Do not wear compression socks during sleep

socks during sleep meme

Elder individuals should be mindful of how long they wear their socks. You should take off your compression stockings before going to bed. You can wear them again first thing in the morning.

A gift for your grandparents and other elder family members

funny Shrek meme about socks

Compression socks are a perfect holiday present for your grandparents and other older family members. Given their health benefits, they are particularly useful for those with joint or limb pain, and your loved ones will remember you every time they put on their favorite pair of stockings. However, to do things right, take into consideration a few important factors such as size, compression level, and length. The best thing you can do is order the same type of socks they already use, but if they do not currently use compression socks and you want to gift them a pair, you should be a little careful about what you are ordering.

Criteria for selecting compression socks for the elderly

variety of shapes, sizes and colors and length of socks

Compression socks are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, compression levels, and lengths. Shopping for compression socks for the elderly is not any different from buying items for any other age-group. However, you need to be more careful about:

  • The length (knee-high or thigh-high) Configuration (sleeve, toeless, or closed-toe) Correct size (the exact measurement of the leg is necessary)

If you keep these factors in mind, you can never go wrong with your compression sock shopping, whether you are buying them in-store or ordering them online.

socks and garments of different materials

Compression socks may seem like a small piece of clothing, but they can help the elderly live a healthy life, both directly and indirectly. They reduce edema, prevent venous diseases, and relieve pain, while simultaneously allowing the elderly to walk, exercise, and socialize more easily, which will directly help them live happier, more fulfilling lives.

sizes of compression socks images

Looking to Buy a Pair of properly-sized Compression Socks?

Click the button below to see the lineup of ComproGear Compression Socks.

NOTE: The page includes a sizing chart and free returns, so you’re always sure to get the perfect size!

Click Here to Shop ComproGear Compression Socks

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