How to Choose the Best Compression Socks for Swelling

How to Choose the Best Compression Socks for Swelling

Dealing with swollen, painful legs can really get you down. There’s nothing like waking up to your “normal” legs and then having to end the day with legs that feel ballooned out and heavy. It feels like you’re living in a body that isn’t even your own. And when this happens day in and day out, you begin to wonder if your legs will ever feel better.

So after searching for remedies online and talking with your doctor, you’ve stumbled into the world of compression socks. But how do you know how to choose the best compression socks for swelling?

The truth is, there are many factors that go into making a pair of compression socks. And today, we’re going to break it down for you so that you don’t have to be overwhelmed by all the options available. 

Let’s begin by discussing leg swelling and its causes. And since compression socks do a great job of improving poor circulation which in turn, reduces puffiness, we’ll also dive into the most important things to look for when purchasing a pair of compression socks — because you need socks that fit correctly, while offering the comfort and support you desire. Finally, we’ll round out things with our top five list of the best compression socks so you can shop without stress.

What Causes Leg Swelling and How Do Compression Socks Help?

One of the main purposes of compression socks is to reduce painful swelling in the legs. Compression socks work to improve blood circulation and venous flow by putting pressure on the distended veins of the legs which increases the return of blood flow. So instead of blood pooling in the veins of the legs and leaking into nearby tissues, it’s more quickly returned to the heart and muscles to deliver oxygen more efficiently.

This tissue swelling is very common in the legs, feet, and ankles due to walking and gravity. Without compression socks, your lower extremities must work overtime to remove excess fluid and circulate blood throughout your body. So reducing fluid accumulation in the first place is the key to improving leg swelling — and this is where compression socks come into play.

Some common medical conditions that cause leg swelling include:

  • Standing on your feet for long periods of time
  • Having had a recent surgery
  • Being an athlete
  • Being pregnant
  • Lymphedema
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots
  • Varicose veins
  • Liver failure
  • Venous insufficiency
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Ill-fitting shoes

Compression socks can even help prevent you from lightheadedness upon standing because of more evenly distributing your blood flow. The vein support and reduced fatigue are all the more reason why purchasing a great pair of compression socks is vital to reducing overall leg swelling. Even athletes swear by them to reduce recovery times and increase performance. 

What to Look for When Choosing the Best Compression Stockings for Swelling

Woman pulling up compression stockings

There are some main areas to focus on when deciding which compression socks are right for you. Moreover, what’s right for your friend may not be your best option. So take some time to ensure you’re purchasing the correct socks for your unique needs.

Compression Level and Compression Socks 

The amount of compression used in a pair of compression stockings is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The larger the mmHg number, the higher the compression. What this means is that some socks are not quite as tight as others. Compression levels are typically stated as being light, moderate, firm, or extra-firm compression according to the mmHg.

So how do you know which socks to buy? 

Here are the amounts of pressure or compression used in compression socks and their typical uses for leg swelling:

  • Light: 8-15 mmHg, used for mild swelling
  • Moderate: 15-20 mmHg, used for swelling that occurs more frequently
  • Firm: 20-30 mmHg, used for severe swelling and often referred to as “medical grade compression”
  • Extra-firm: 30-40 mmHg, another medical-grade compression that’s often prescribed by a doctor for extreme swelling

The large majority of people with leg swelling use a compression level of 20-30 mmHg or firm compression. There are also graduated compression socks that start tighter at the ankle and gradually increase as they go up the leg. They may also be useful in the treatment of leg swelling. 

When you begin shopping for compression socks, choose the level of compression that feels good to you and causes no discomfort.

Size and Compression Socks

If you’re in the market for the best compression socks for swelling, keep in mind that the fit must be exact to reduce the possibility of blisters or having the socks be too tight or loose.

When choosing a size, measure your calf circumference first thing in the morning before your legs are swollen to ensure a proper fit. Keep in mind that your compression socks should be tight, but not so tight that they hurt. After gathering your measurements, compare them to the size guide and choose the size in your range.

Materials and Compression Socks 

The material your compression socks are made out of can really make or break how well the socks work. That’s because the material should be breathable and soft, yet also evenly distribute pressure. Although compression socks can be made out of many materials, it’s easier to select a pair if you choose your sock based upon how they perform for you.

Focus on purchasing high-quality socks that are:

  • Snug
  • Stretchy
  • Moisture-wicking 
  • Durable
  • Soft

You’ll find many socks are made out of a blend of cotton, Spandex, lycra, nylon, or wool. At Cuvu, we choose to make our socks out of only sustainably sourced materials that are lightweight while still offering the pressure you crave. 

Durability and Compression Socks

The durability of your compression socks is paramount. Choose socks that are built to last a long time without breakdown. For example, nylon, Spandex, and lycra are stretchable and strong materials that enhance the longevity of your compression socks. This way, you can depend on them and get more of your money’s worth in the long run. There’s nothing worse than a snag or rip in a brand new pair of socks.

Top 5 Best Compression Socks for Swelling

Best Compression Socks for Swelling

We’ve compiled a list of the top five best compression socks to reduce your leg swelling. These socks were chosen based on their quality and effectiveness at reducing swelling. We’ve ranked them in order, with #1 being the best.

5. SB Sox Compression Socks

Pros: Materials ensure breathability and help keep your feet dry which decreases odor at the same time. 

Cons: Many reviewers noted holes in the socks after just a few uses. 

These SB Sox compression socks are good for both athletes and non-athletes because of the durability and fabrics used. 

Pressure: 20-30 mmHg, making them a firm compression

Size: Based on shoe size and calf measurement

Materials: Nylon and Spandex

4. Copper Compression Socks

Pros: Low cost makes them accessible.

Cons: Many reviews suggest these socks offer minimal compression compared to other compression sock brands.

These compression socks got their name because copper is literally infused into the socks which is said to help reduce pain in your calves. Copper Compression socks are a great pick for both marathoners and office workers. This versatility has helped Copper gather rave reviews from people of all professions. Plus, they’re super affordable, making them a minimal risk investment for someone looking to give compression socks a try.

Pressure: Graduated

Size: Sized according to shoe size and calf measurement

Materials: Nylon and polyester

3. Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks 

Pros: Sizing takes into account your calf measurement, making it easy to find a good fit.

Cons: Socks only come in black with minimal color so there’s no room for showcasing your individual style.

Physix Gear Sport socks are an excellent option for athletes looking to up their game. Many athletes rave about the effect compression socks have on their performance and Physix reviews are no exception. 

Pressure: Graduated

Size: Sized according to your shoe and calf measurement

Materials: Lycra is the primary fabric used making them very durable — perfect for athletes on the go 

2. SockWell Compression Socks

Pros: Available for both men and women.

Cons: Sizing is based only on shoe size. This may lead to an inaccurate fit as calf circumference isn’t taken into account.

SockWell socks come in a variety of colors and patterns using unique fabrics. Nurses have grown to love SockWell as a solid compression sock brand in addition to those who are on their feet for long periods of time. 

Pressure: Graduated (they begin tighter at the foot and gradually decrease in pressure as the socks move up the leg) or traditional compression styles

Size: Sizing is based on shoe size

Materials: Merino wool, which provides both thermoregulation and odor control along with bamboo yarn which proves softness plus breathability

1. Cuvu Compression Socks

Pros: Stylish compression socks with fresh designs made of soft, eco-friendly material. Ideal for frequent fliers, nurses, runners, and those with varicose veins.

Ding, ding, we have a winner! Cuvu is our top pick for the best all-around compression socks. These fun, high-quality socks come in a variety of designs and are a hit among those suffering from swollen ankles and legs. They’re made of quality fabrics that will keep your legs free from swelling, fatigue, and discomfort.

Pressure: Graduated

Size: Variety of sizes, including plus sizes

Materials: Each pair of Cuvu socks is made from recycled water bottles that creates an oh-so soft feel.

Choose the Right Compression Socks for Your Needs

It’s important to take time to choose compression socks that fit your individual needs. Depending on the severity of your lower leg swelling, remember to pick out socks that fit well, have the right pressure, and are made of quality, durable materials. 

Take a look at Cuvu compression socks. We’re proud to offer quality and stylish socks at a price that won’t break the bank. And if our reviews are any indication, you might just discover why so many people are calling Cuvu socks the best compression socks for swelling. It’s time to kick your achy, swollen legs to the curb.