Why do people wear compression travel socks?

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Travel compression socks may help prevent DVTs while definitely providing you with comfort and support
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Before you get on that airplane, put on your travel compression socks!

Deep vein thrombosis -- or DVT -- can occur if you have been sitting in the same position for a long period of time. An extended airplane flight or a long trip in your vehicle may put you at jeopardy for developing DVT, which amounts to blood clots forming in your legs. An embolism or DVT is also commonly referred to as "economy class syndrome."

It is believed that wearing compression travel socks significantly reduces your risk of experiencing blood clots in your legs. 

Compression travel socks or stockings, which are sometimes referred to as flight or travel socks, may reduce the risk of blood clots forming your legs. When wearing compression socks, the socks apply gentle pressure on your legs and against the ankle in particular, which increases blood flow while you are sitting. This pressure, along with leg movement, prompts the blood in your superficial veins to move into the veins that are deeply located and then flow back to the heart. When the blood moves to the deep veins it is less likely to clot. When blood clots, the clot can move to your lungs and prove fatal.

In fact, wearing compression travel socks reduced the number of symptomless DVTs occurring among airline passengers. In addition, those wearing travel compression socks experienced less edema (swelling) in their legs and less discomfort than passengers not wearing them. This was determined after nine trials were conducted on passengers undertaking flights that were at a minimum of seven hours long. When a DVT occurs, and there are symptoms, those symptoms include leg pain and swelling and increased body temperature.

As you age, your veins may begin to function inefficiently. The same can happen when you are pregnant because of the heavy load you are carrying. When the blood stops circulating correctly this causes health problems. Reduced blood circulation in your body means that cells are being deprived of oxygen and nutrient. If you do not treat a vein problem, this can result in leg ulcers and blood clots as well as permanent vein damage. When you wear compression travel stockings while traveling, compression socks when pregnant or when working, this slows down or even prevents the progression of circulatory problems and diseases as well as the progression of problems with the veins themselves.

Some individuals opt to wear compression travel stockings all the time because the socks relief tired, aching or numb legs. Tingling and burning sensations are eliminated and you feel more energetic. When your legs are tired and feel heavy this is because blood collects at the ankles and then has difficulty making the return trip to the heart. The compression socks compress the dilated veins by creating a subtle but effective squeeze at the ankles. This helps the blood to move back up your leg and to the heart. The outcome is better circulation and less pressure in your veins.

When you purchase compression travel socks, select the range of compression that you need for your particular problem. Compression levels range from 15-20 mmHg, which is millimeters of mercury, up to 50-60 mmHg. If you do not have a problem but know that you are going on a long air flight or car trip you can wear compression travel socks as a preventative measure. Anytime you are going to be in an immobile and possibly cramped position for a long period of time this can potentially put your health at risk. Compression travel socks are made of moisture-management materials and constructed so that firm compression is placed on the ankles, which makes your legs and toes feel better and lighter.

Wearing compression travel socks is not a 100 percent guarantee that you will not develop a DVT; however, your risks are reduced significantly. Medical literature points out that travelers who wear compression socks can dramatically reduce the probability of a DVT occurring.

Mayo clinic

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