When you’re working as a nurse, you’re on your feet most of the time. This can be tiring and challenging for your back and joints, as well as your blood circulation. Long periods of standing up and walking around without any relief for your lower legs can lead to developing leg edema and can be very disruptive in your daily life. Compression socks can make a huge difference in this scenario.
So you know you need compression socks, but you might be wondering: What are the best compression socks for nurses in 2021 and how can you make sure you’re choosing the best ones? Are there any particular types that will work better and what mmHg is best for nurses?
Here is a quick overview of the benefits of wearing compression socks as a nurse and how to choose the ones that best suit your lifestyle.
What do compression socks do for nurses?
Compression socks are one of the best ways to fight leg and ankle swelling during long periods on your feet. They’re not intrusive, can be worn with any outfit and carried with you when you travel, and can be fun and look good.
Benefits of compression socks for nurses include:
- Compression socks reduce fatigue and swelling in the lower limbs. By forcing the blood to flow upwards, compression socks will prevent unsightly swelling that can accumulate, be uncomfortable and prevent nurses from their activities. Additionally, as compression socks are designed to improve the circulation in the legs, the boost in blood flow will keep your legs from feeling too tired, too.
- Compression socks reduce varicose veins and help prevent venous ulcers. If you suffer from varicose veins, you’ll know how much pressure they can put on your legs as you go about your day. Thanks to wearing compression socks, however, you can expect a reduction in the blood build-up in the veins. If you’re on your feet a lot and you’ve developed strong calf muscles, you can try some wide calf compression socks for nurses, allowing for a comfortable fit while still offering the compression benefit.
- Recover better thanks to compression socks. Professional athletes who spend their days on their feet swear by compression socks for muscle recovery. When you’re relaxing at home, wearing a pair of compression socks will improve blood flow and help your leg muscles relax and recover after very long shifts.
Not only are compression socks beneficial medically, but they are also a fun accessory that can brighten your day and give a whimsical feel to your outfit. Through unique designs and fun colors, compression socks are a wardrobe element that’s welcome in any nurse’s life.
What mmHg is best for nurses choosing compression socks?
While compression socks can be very beneficial for nurses, it’s important to remember that they come in various levels of pressure and that you should stick to what’s comfortable for you.
The strength of a compression sock is expressed in mmHg, a pressure unit called millimeters of mercury. The ranges of compression socks are as follows:
- Mild – 8-15 mmHg: This is just a very slight compression, a good entry-level for compression socks that might be worn by an office professional who’s not on her feet constantly or by someone who is sensitive to tight clothing, for example. They don’t work as well against varicose veins but do offer some muscle relief and anti-swelling benefits.
- Moderate – 15-20 mmHg: Most nurses would prefer this level of compression, which gives you relief from swelling, helps muscle recovery, and protects against developing varicose veins.
- Firm – 20-30 mmHg: Firmer socks will help prevent and relieve moderate varicose veins, more intense swelling, orthostatic hypotension, and deep vein thrombosis. Many nurses find they prefer this level for extra support throughout the workday.
- Extra Firm and Prescription Grade – above 30 mmHg: These are the type of compression socks doctors would prescribe for more serious medical conditions, and are not generally recommended for daily use or casual wearing.
The best compression socks for nurses are in the mild and moderate range, with the potential for firmer support if you are really struggling. However, we would recommend checking with your doctor first if you think you’re not getting enough out of your mild to moderate compression socks and require a prescription.
How to choose compression socks for nurses?
Consider a few elements:
How well can you cope with the level of pressure?
Start off with mild-moderate support and work your way up, or stay at the level that feels best and gives you results.
How easy will the socks be to put on and take off?
Compression socks take some getting used to. As you put them on, smooth them out so they lie flat against your skin. Avoid bunching them. Additionally, make sure that they aren’t too long. Folding them or rolling the tops down will potentially make them too tight around the edge, which will be uncomfortable.
Design and look
To make compression socks part of your wardrobe, choose the patterns and colors that appeal to you the most to ensure you look your best. Why not have some fun with your socks, especially under a uniform? Stripes, fun patterns, decorations… the sky’s the limit.
Particularities of your body
When it comes to your body, you of course know best what to wear to feel the most comfortable. You might be concerned that compression socks will leave marks or that they won’t suit your size. Rest assured: there are various sizes and options available, from plus size compression socks for nurses to smaller sizes. Additionally, we recommend considering wide calf sizes where available if you’re more muscular. Just refer to our sizing guide to help you with this.
Compression socks for nurses can be lifesavers during a long shift or when you’re finally relaxing at home, but for maximum benefits, make sure you pick the right ones for you. This is why we believe it’s best to try compression socks, starting with a milder pressure level, and wear them for a day or two to start, to see their effect on your legs. As you get used to them, you’ll make up your mind about what works best as well as be able to go up in pressure should the need arise.
Are there any side effects of wearing compression socks for nurses?
As long as your socks fit properly and are of good quality, from materials that don’t cause irritation or lead to allergic reactions, then wearing compression socks for nurses should be a great, safe way to alleviate some of the pressures of your daily activity.
Wearing compression socks for nurses: a brilliant way to feel great at your job
Through the appropriate support of blood flow through your lower limbs and benefits against the formation of varicose veins, compression socks are a great accessory for nurses everywhere. Follow this guide for how to choose yours and enjoy relieved legs again!