Do Compression Socks Really Work To Reduce Swelling?

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

Compression socks have been prescribed by doctors for decades to help with the problems associated with poor blood flow in the lower parts of the body. Compression socks are designed to promote effective blood circulation in the feet, legs, and ankles by offering different pressure levels against the skin. 

The pressure helps to push the blood towards the heart. It also helps to prevent discomfort and swelling associated with damaged or weakened vein valves and walls. 

Do These Socks Actually Work to Reduce Swelling?

The simple answer is yes. Medical practitioners often recommend Compression socks for swelling to help combat the issues associated with swelling. They are also sometimes recommended for pregnant women to help to reduce swelling in their legs. 

People who have gone through surgery are also advised to wear compression socks to help prevent blood clots formation. It also helps in circulatory support post-surgery. Of course, if it is not effective and helpful against swelling, doctors would not recommend its use.

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How to Use Compression Socks

Many people find compression socks, especially medical-grade socks, difficult to wear and remove at first. Different reasons may cause difficulty in the use of compression socks. First, when they are not appropriately fitted, the wearer may feel uncomfortable wearing the socks and they may cause other health issues. 

When they are also worn for longer than the recommended period, they may also cause issues. Some of the conditions that may arise from inappropriate use of compression socks include infection and skin breakdown, impaired arterial blood flow, or peripheral nerve damage. Therefore, it is recommended that you use it according to the recommendation of your medical practitioner.

Types of Compression Socks

There are three types of compression socks and they are categorized based on the compression level that they offer as well as the conditions they are meant to treat. Understanding the available different types will help you know the best option for your specific condition.

  • Graduated Compression Socks

These provide the highest level of compression to the ankle. The compression slightly reduces as it moves up towards the knees. They are often recommended to reduce swelling in the lower part of the legs and for fluid buildup. Those that are thigh-high are used for the prevention of swelling and drop in blood pressure.

  • Anti-embolism Compression Socks

These are designed to help to prevent blood clots or DVT (deep vein thrombosis). These are mostly recommended for patients that are sedentary for a longer period. They include people recovering from surgery or illness.

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  • Non-medical Compression Socks

These are available online and in stores and are designed to offer uniform compression. They help to relieve discomfort and aches, and they do not require any prescription. When choosing non-medical compression socks, it is important to be sure of the source. 

Some are only advertised and hyped but do not help in the support for which you purchased them. Therefore, stick with reliable sources when placing your order.


Compression socks do work in reducing swelling. However, before you use them, it is important to understand when you should use them and for how long you can wear them. Wearing a pair of compression socks the wrong way may lead to other health conditions that may be serious. 

Compression stockings are often recommended for people traveling on a long journey, pregnant women, and people recovering from illness or surgery. They are designed to help support circulations, prevent blood clots, and reduce swelling.