I always thought compression socks were for people recovering from surgery or the elderly. And the creators had no sense of style whatsoever, but I'm going to say flat-out that they are shit awesome.
I have the dumbest genes, and get chronic swelling in my ankles. As if cankles weren’t enough, varicose veins made an appearance in my late thirties along with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Combine these together, with getting up at night to pee regularly and you get someone who feels 50! I tried pills & doctor visits. No silver bullet there so I decided to do my own research on possible natural remedies. I read a study on the National Institutes of Health page about managing nocturia (the fancy term for having to pee a lot at night), and it showed that compression socks were found to help, as well as with my RLS issue.
I ordered graduated compression stockings (thinking I'd only be able to get plain old bronze ones), graduated means the compression is strongest at the ankle and gets lighter up the leg. I’m not going to lie: When I pulled the up my legs as they were knee high, my 50 year old feeling immediately went to feeling 83 years old. HOWEVER.....They were very snug, and as worried as I was that they would cut off my circulation and leave me passed out on the floor, the opposite began.
As my legs began to adjust to something new, I noticed that my legs felt oddly comfy in the compression socks. They felt stronger and didn’t ache as much. Great for daytime but what would happen tonight when the usual heaviness and “urge to move” set in my legs? I took the socks off after dinner and settled in to watch TV. I was shocked that I didn’t have to get up and move around or do heel raises to alleviate the “urge to move” in my legs!
Next up, the piss test :-). Only once I peed that night, and apparently that’s normal. I woke up the next day refreshed for the first time in a long time. Could this just be a placebo effect did the compression stockings change my sleep habits?
Wore my socks the next 29 days, the same results followed—when I didn’t forget to wear them. Early into the 30 days, I forgot to wash my socks and boarded a cross-country flight without wearing them. The “urge to move” in my legs was unbearable, and I didn’t want to keep troubling the people in my row to get up and walk the aisles. Should have worn the dirty socks! Not long after that I took a long road trip to a camping and hiking destination and thankfully wore my socks. Big difference! No “urge to move,” and only one piss break.
Turns out compression socks gave my poor circulation a boost in the right direction—as in, away from ankles and back up to my heart, increasing blood flow to all my vital organs.
Now that I’m going to be wearing compression socks on the regular, I’ve graduated from the fugly, beige variety and found a plethora of more colorful, more flattering styles. If you’re considering checking them out, stick with a 15 to 20 mmHg (millimeter of mercury or rate of compression) for mild symptoms, or 20 - 30 mmHg for greater compression. The greater compression are generally for those that are on your feet all day. The 20-30mmHg are great compression socks for nurses.