How Does Compression Socks Work?

How Does Compression Socks Work?

After surgery or when our legs are swollen, we may choose to wear compression socks to relieve the situation. But how does a pair of socks work? Why do they work to improve blood flow, reduce pain, and ease leg swelling? This article will explain to you how it works.

How Do Compression Socks Work?

Compression stockings apply constant pressure to the legs, primarily the ankles, and then gradually decrease upwards. This pressure helps the veins transport blood back to the heart more efficiently. Here's how they work.

Applying Pressure

Compression stockings are designed to apply maximum pressure at the ankle and gradually decrease pressure as you move up the leg. This gradient of pressure helps to counteract the effects of gravity, which can cause blood to pool in the lower extremities.

Venous Support

The pressure applied compresses surface veins, arteries, and muscles, forcing circulating blood through narrower channels. This increases arterial pressure, returning more blood to the heart and reducing blood pooling in the feet.

Reduces Venous Pressure

By narrowing the diameter of the major veins, the sock increases the speed of blood flow, which improves overall circulation and reduces venous pressure. This helps prevent venous stasis, where blood pools in the veins of the legs.

Lymphatic Drainage

Compression also helps with lymphatic drainage. This is vital in reducing swelling and preventing the build-up of lymphatic fluid, which can cause discomfort and further circulatory problems.

Compression Socks

Compression Socks for Various Needs

Compression stockings, including plus size compression stockings, are very effective for a variety of needs including traveling, swelling, circulation, and varicose veins. You should consider whether you have any of the following specific conditions.

  • Traveling Compression Socks: During long flights or car journeys, blood circulation slows down, which can lead to discomfort and an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
  • Compression stockings for swelling: Prolonged standing or sitting, pregnancy, and certain illnesses can cause fluid to build up in the legs, which can lead to swelling (edema).
  • Compression stockings to promote blood circulation: Various factors such as inactivity or certain diseases can lead to poor blood circulation in the legs.
  • Compression stockings for varicose veins: Varicose veins are caused by weakened valves and veins in the legs.

If you need compression socks, you can come to our Plusock's website to choose one, besides compression socks, we also have various other types of socks, such as slipper socks, boat socks, and so on. Or you can contact our customer service if you have any questions.

Purpose of Compression Socks

Compression socks have a variety of uses and can be beneficial in a variety of situations. Whether it's for medical reasons, athletic performance, or everyday use, these socks enhance leg health.

Medical Use

  • Treatment of Varicose Veins: compression stockings reduce swelling and discomfort, prevent blood from pooling in the veins, support the vein walls, and improve blood flow
  • Preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): compression stockings maintain a stable blood flow, reduce the risk of thrombosis, and help recovery after surgery.
  • Helps Control Diabetes: compression stockings improve blood flow, reduce the risk of ulcers and infections, provide gentle compression, and promote healthy legs.

Benefits for Athletes

  • Provides Targeted Support: Key benefits include increased oxygenation of muscles, reduced muscle shock and fatigue, enhanced proprioception and stability, and faster recovery
  • Helps Athletes to Recover: mainly reduces muscle soreness, reduces lactic acid build-up, and promotes the removal of metabolic waste.
  • Injury Prevention: Prevents injuries by providing extra support to muscles and joints, reducing the risk of strains and sprains, and improving overall leg stability.

Everyday Use

  • Reduce Leg Fatigue: For people who stand or sit for long periods of time, compression stockings can relieve leg fatigue and pain, reduce swelling and discomfort, and enhance the overall vitality and comfort of the legs
  • Improve Traveling Comfort: Long flights or car rides can cause swelling and discomfort in the legs. Compression stockings can prevent fluid build-up, reduce the risk of travel-related deep vein thrombosis, and improve leg comfort during long periods of inactivity
  • Help For Pregnant People: Pregnancy can lead to swelling and varicose veins. Compression stockings reduce leg and foot swelling, support the circulatory system, and prevent varicose veins and leg discomfort.

plus size compression stockings

What Compression Socks Do I Need?

The following describes what you need to consider when choosing a compression stocking, and how to measure it appropriately.

When choosing the right compression socks, there are several factors to consider to ensure they meet your specific needs.


  • Knee-high: Knee-high compression socks are best suited for general use, traveling, and sports. They provide enough compression to aid circulation and reduce calf swelling without restricting movement.
  • Tall: Ideal for people recovering from varicose veins or surgery, they can extend to mid-thigh or higher. Plus size over the knee socks offer extended coverage and comfort for those needing additional support.
  • Full-length: Full-length stockings are best suited for severe venous disease and special conditions, covering the entire leg up to the waist.

Compression level

  • Light (8-15 mmHg): Ideal for mild swelling, pregnancy, and everyday wear, light compression stockings provide gentle support and comfort for those who need a slight boost in circulation.
  • Medium (15-20 mmHg): Ideal for varicose veins, traveling, and sports recovery, medium compression stockings have compression levels suitable for controlling mild to moderate symptoms.
  • Heavy (20-30 mmHg): Ideal for severe varicose veins, DVT prevention, and postoperative recovery, rigid compression stockings provide stronger compression to control more severe symptoms and conditions.

Material and Comfort

  • Cotton: Cotton is soft and breathable for everyday wear.
  • Nylon/Spandex: Durable and flexible, these materials provide firm compression and a snug fit.
  • Merino Wool: Merino wool is warm and moisture-wicking, making it ideal for cold weather and sportswear.

Measuring Size

  • Ankle: Measure the circumference of the narrowest part of the ankle.
  • Calf: Measure the circumference of the widest part of the calf.
  • Thigh: For knee-highs and full-length socks, measure the circumference of the widest part of the thigh.
  • Length: Measure from the floor to the bend of the knee for knee-high socks and from the floor to the top of the thigh for thigh socks.


  • Try Them On In The Morning: Legs are least likely to swell in the morning and they fit best.
  • Smooth Out Creases: Make sure the sock is smooth and wrinkle-free to avoid pressure points.
  • Check Comfort: The sock should feel comfortable, but not too tight.


Compression stockings improve circulation, reduce pain, and ease swelling by applying a gradient of pressure from the ankle upwards. They cater to a variety of needs, including traveling, swelling, circulation, and varicose veins. Choosing the right length, compression level, and material ensures maximum comfort and effectiveness.

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