How Compression Socks and Stockings Help Prevent Aching Legs
There are several reasons for having leg aches, such as assuming the same lower body position for several minutes, stress, and working the legs too hard. Compression socks and stockings, among other remedies, can help prevent and take care of the problem.
When to Wear Compression Socks and Stockings
Aching legs should be treated as soon as possible. It is also important to start preventive measures early on. Seeing the initial signs of possible clots and poor circulation should be addressed immediately. Some of the signs and symptoms of tired achy legs include burning sensations or cramping in the various muscles of the legs. You will notice the pain and discomfort particularly in the deeper muscles, although the specific point may not be identified properly.
When individuals feel aching or discomfort when traveling for long periods, riding a bicycle, walking, or standing for several minutes, they may be suffering from varicose veins. Check the area behind the thighs, as well as the calves, for the presence of varicosities. If the area is relieved by lifting your legs or wearing compression socks and stockings, you may have circulation problems in the lower part of your body. The legs may also be painful when you move a lot. When the legs do not get enough blood and oxygen, you cannot tolerate activities as usual. You might find it hard to play sports, walk, bike or run.
Talk to your doctor and pharmacist to determine the best medications that will relieve and prevent clotting and treat muscle pain. Wearing compression socks and stockings will lead to faster recovery, especially when you use these with medications and physical therapy. Some doctors may discover torn muscles or ligaments in the area and even deep vein thrombosis. Severe problems will require surgery. Compression materials will be useful for travelers, post-surgery patients to enhance healing, and anyone who wants to be proactive in their health.
Wearing Compression Hosiery for Travel
There is a potential, although slight, risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis during long plane flights. This even has a name: ‘economy class syndrome.’ The key is to increase blood flow and compression hose can help with that. The National Blood Clot Alliance has some useful steps to help you avoid the threat of DVT or other leg health problems that can arise during flights:
- Moving and stretching encourage blood flow, so take some time periodically to walk up and down the aisle
- Wear clothing that doesn’t bind
- Drink plenty of hydrating fluids before the flight and avoid diuretics like coffee and other caffeinated drinks
Compression hosiery has been shown to reduce the risk of DVT caused by air travel, according to the National Health Service, UK. You should wear the stockings for the duration of the flight. And as always, consult with your doctor first.
Treating with Compression
There are several compression socks and stockings available in the market. These come in various lengths, styles and thickness, depending on the specific needs of the user. You can also use support tights based on the location and extent of the condition and pain. It is best to increase activity and exercise slowly over the next few weeks as you recover.
Some doctors recommend compression socks and stockings as a preventive measure for individuals who live very active or sedentary lifestyles. Athletes and highly active people will need support in their lower body because they constantly fatigue their muscles and systems. Sedentary individuals will also require support since their body does not normally circulate blood efficiently to all areas because they assume the same position for several hours.
Kaki Zell - Vice President of Sales, Marketing, eCommerce at Legs-4-Life LLC Kaki holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She’s been working in the medical device industry for over 11 years and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Greensboro Science Center.
Medically Reviewed February 2021
Dr. Chris Dickson, M.D., is a board-certified vascular surgeon and Fellow of the American College of Surgeons who received his M.D. Degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and has received general surgery training from the Medical College of Pennsylvania. Dr. Dickson has obtained two vascular fellowships and three research fellowships and has also had authored 19 publications and two book chapters. Since 1996, Dr. Dickson has been in practice in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Written April 2013 | Page last updated November 2021
Medicine Net. “Medical Definition of Economy Class Syndrome” https://www.medicinenet.com/economy_class_syndrome/definition.htm
Everyday Health. “What Is Leg Pain? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention” https://www.everydayhealth.com/leg-pain/guide/
National Blot Clot Alliance. “In-Flight Fitness”
National Health Service. “Prevent DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) When You Travel” https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/prevent-dvt-when-you-travel/
Healthline. "Compression Socks and Stockings" https://www.healthline.com/health/compression-socks-benefits