As we enter the summer months, many of us have tucked away our long winter pants and pulled out our shorts or skirts. However, this causes a dilemma for those of us who regularly wear compression socks, or stockings, for varicose vein symptoms.
While you may be tempted to take a few months off from wearing compression stockings, this isn’t the wisest option. First of all, the summer heat can make varicose veins symptoms worse, including swelling, aching, heaviness, pain, or restless legs.
5 reasons to continue your compression routine in the summer.
1. Heat can make swelling worse: When you are too hot your veins expand (dilate) which allows fluid to leak into surrounding tissue. This is the body’s natural way of keeping itself cool. But when veins expand it makes it harder for your body to push fluid against gravity back to the heart and it can pool in the lower legs causing more swelling.
2. Wearing compression socks prevents open sores and ulcers: Increased swelling can lead to more open sores. Without the support of compression socks, skin tends to becomes thin and irritated. Scratches and wounds then can develop into serious wounds or ulcers that take a long time to heal.
3. Compression socks can help manage varicose veins: Varicose veins can be painful and ugly. They occur when the veins enlarge and become weak over time. Wearing compression socks improves circulation and can slow down the progression of varicose veins by keeping the veins close to their normal size. So yes, if you want to help those varicose veins, keep wearing compression in the summer.
4. It makes summer travel more comfortable: It is summer and time to get out on the road! Whether you travel by car, train or by air, wear compression socks to support your legs. It will improve blood flow and make you more comfortable. This is especially useful on flights, when cramped conditions and high cabin pressure can really aggravate circulatory problems.
5. Fashionable choices are available for summer: Compression socks are available in light fabrics perfect for summer heat and in fun patterns! Shop our lightweight patterned socks here. You will stay cool and comfortable while keeping your legs healthy.
Here are 12 tips to comfortably wear compression socks or stockings this summer—or any time of the year for that matter:
Fabric choice can make a big difference in keeping compression stockings comfortable during the warmer months. Cotton is a breathable, natural fiber that helps wick away moisture. Microfiber is also breathable and is often designed to manage moisture to keep your legs cool and dry.
Use stockings fitted to your legs just as you wear shoes fitted for your feet. Stockings are available in three degrees of compression and the correct size and grade greatly affects the compressive property or value of the stocking.
Wear stockings during the day and not while sleeping as stockings are not needed when legs are at heart level.
Do not use white hospital TED stockings. These are designed for hospitalized patients in a bed, not for people on their feet.
Use calf-length stockings as 85% of the benefit of compression stockings are found in the calf-length. Plus, full-length stockings are much hotter, tend to ride down the leg, and are more expensive.
When stockings are worn regularly they have a wear life of about 6 months, i.e. the compression wears out as elasticity fades. Get new stockings every 6 months.
Do not use moisturizer on your legs before wearing stockings. It will wear elasticity out more quickly.
Open-toed compression stockings are available if you wish to wear sandals, and there are also sheer compression stockings.
Stockings should be somewhat loose on the toe.
Hand wash stockings in Woolite or use a very light washing cycle.
Pull stockings no higher than 3 finger breadths below the crease of the back of your knee to avoid pinching blood vessels and nerves crossing the back of the knee.
In general, stockings should be comfortable for use, and not painful!
How to choose the right summer socks
Not all socks are created equally, and there are a few things you should consider when you’re looking for socks.
Ditch the cotton
If you’re looking for combat boots socks, don’t even consider a 100% cotton product. Cotton can’t wick moisture away the same way that wool or synthetics can, which means you’ll just be walking around with sweaty, wet feet. That’s a great way to get blisters and encourage bacteria to grow.
Compression in your socks can make a big difference. Compression increases blood flow and helps provide support where you need it. Not everyone loves the way it feels though, so try it out before you go all in.
Choose your thickness
There’s no right answer when it comes to choosing the right thickness for your sock—it’s really a personal preference. That being said, we do recommend having a few different thicknesses on hand so you can choose depending on the weather and your mission.
Remember that compression socks keep your legs happy! Keep them on whether it is summer or winter, to enjoy yourself without compromising your health.
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