Calf Compression Sleeves: When to Wear Them and Why

You’ve probably seen or heard about calf compression sleeves and socks before. These “magic socks” have continued growing in popularity due to their many benefits–from quickened recovery time after exercise to increased blood circulation reducing the risk of a blood clot in the legs.

With that said, it’s important to note that compression sleeves aren't regular socks–there is a proper time to wear them. Here, we’ll break it down so you can maximize the benefits of calf-compression sleeves. 

When You're On Your Feet All Day

Are you a teacher coming off an 8-hour school day? Or a nurse finishing a 12-hour shift? If you find yourself standing or walking for long hours at a stretch, your legs are likely stressed. Calf-compression sleeves can help ease that pain as well as: 

Reduce Leg Fatigue and Swelling

When you’re on your feet more often than not, you may experience fatigue, heaviness, and mild pain in the legs. Sometimes, swelling may even occur when blood pools in the legs due to long hours of upright standing.

Compression socks can help remedy this problem. By applying pressure to the feet and ankle, blood flow from the feet back to the heart is increased while standing. This helps stop blood from pooling in the legs, hence, reducing leg fatigue and stopping swelling in the feet. 

Help with Post-Stress Recovery

After a long day of standing, your legs need some time to relax, whether you wore a sleeve during the shift or not. Wearing one during the recovery process can help with both the speed and effectiveness of the process, especially for nurses and similar jobs that require shifts on consecutive days. 

Prevent Varicose Veins

Poor blood circulation can lead to varicose veins, where the veins on the legs become enlarged and twisted. These can appear if blood pools in your legs and doesn't circulate back to the upper part of your body. 

Using calf-compression sleeves helps prevent this and other side effects like cramping, weak joints, and a rare but severe condition known as DVT.

When You're Traveling 

Spending long hours on a flight or even a train can affect blood circulation. You might make a few stops to the bathroom during your trip, but that's hardly enough as you’ll likely still spend a significant amount of time sitting in the same spot and during this time, the circulation of blood from your heart to your legs slows down. 

This could lead to swelling in the lower legs and feet after your trip, as well as weak joints and pain. 

If you’re planning on taking a long trip–5 hours and above–then some calf compression sleeves should accompany you on your journey. They can: 

Help Deter Blood Clot 

A common worry for travelers is blood clots due to inactivity of the legs. Compression sleeves help with blood circulation in the lower legs by applying pressure to the area which pumps blood back to the heart from the legs. This action mimics exercising the lower legs, so your legs work even while stationary. 

Prevents Swelling in the Feet

Lack of leg movement for an extended period prevents blood circulation, but it also stops the flow of a fluid called lymph which is present in the cells in your legs. When they stop flowing freely, your legs begin to swell as fluid pools in specific areas–it could take hours of constant leg exercise to get rid of the swelling after your trip. 

Wearing a compression sleeve enables your lymph to move more freely and significantly decreases the chances of swelling. 

When You’re Running 

Compression socks and sleeves have long been part of sports. You can spot them on players at nearly every NBA and NFL game, and awareness of their benefits has grown rapidly across sports and athletics, especially among runners. 

Runners' leg muscles are more exposed to fatigue, tissue damage, and circulation issues than most other sports, despite their regular leg exercise. Calf-compression sleeves can help: 

Control Blood Circulation While Running 

You may ask why you would need the help of a compression sleeve for blood circulation while running. After all, you're mobile, and your legs are being properly exercised. Think of the sleeves as an enhancer or controller. 

Yes, blood circulates while running, but calf compression sleeves help maintain consistency and regulate the blood flow, which counteracts the impact of gravity and prolonged running on the legs. This consistent oxygen flow to the legs keeps your calf muscles strong and fights off leg fatigue. 

Prevents Swelling and Cramps

There are many reasons why a runner might get swollen feet during or after a run, but the most common cause is the buildup of fluids in the lower legs due to inconsistent or poor circulation. Lymph tends to pool in the lower legs in some instances, depending on the individual, which leads to swollen feet often seen shortly after a long-distance run. The pressure applied by compression socks prevents the build-up from happening.  

Also, compression sleeves squeeze up against the calf, which keeps the calf muscles firm and in place by restricting movement. This increases endurance and reduces the risk of cramps and pain in the lower leg during distance running. 

Helps with Leg Recovery

The recovery process is essential for runners. This is the part where you rest to allow your muscles to recover in preparation for your next race, and some compression socks are designed to help you with this process. Increased blood circulation during recovery can reduce soreness and the recovery of tired muscles. This is particularly helpful in the event of another race coming up in a short amount of time. 

When You’re Expecting 

During pregnancy a woman’s body undergoes lots of changes to help adapt to a baby's needs, this includes an increase of fluids in your body. In fact, your body can produce up to 50% more fluid during pregnancy resulting in swelling, muscle fatigue, and pain. 

Nearly 80%of women experience discomfort in their legs during pregnancy, which is mainly caused by the pooling of fluids, which is enhanced by reduced mobility during pregnancy. Calf compression sleeves are often used to help counteract some of these side effects

Calf Sleeves Prevent DVT 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, DVT is five times more likely to occur in pregnant women. This is because certain hormones released into the body of pregnant women make their blood more inclined to clot, and as your uterus grows, it puts more pressure on the veins. Wearing a compression sock or sleeve helps increase blood circulation and the flow of fluids which prevent DVT from occurring. 

Reduced Swelling 

Swelling is one of the most common and expected side effects of pregnancy. Due to the excess fluid in the body, fluid can gather in certain parts of the leg and, with reduced activity, may pool long enough for the area to swell. 

Swelling during pregnancy is mainly non-harmful, but in some cases, it can become excess due to unusual amounts of body fluids that can occur in the latter stages of the pregnancy or in the case of twins. Compression socks place pressure on the lower legs, moving fluids around and reducing swelling. 

Fewer Varicose Veins 

Varicose veins are another common effect of pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester. Like swollen feet, varicose veins aren't an immediate health risk, but they can sometimes be painful. They appear as dark purple, enlarged veins on the surface of your calf area. The increased blood flow you get in your legs from compression socks helps reduce the number of varicose veins during your pregnancy. 

Do It With Style 

Many people have preconceived notions about calf compression sleeves. Some people refuse to believe in its "magic", and others have a lot of misinformed medical presumptions about them; In truth, the benefits of compression socks are not complicated. They are an effective way of increasing blood circulation in the legs, which prevents some side effects of poor circulation like muscle fatigue, swelling, and varicose veins.

And we're adding some style to it! 

At Crazy Compression, we are taking calf compression sleeves and socks to the next level by adding some style to the substance. During long shifts at work, why not uplevel those scrubs with some matching socks? For pregnant ladies, complement your pregnancy glow with an eye-catching knee-high sock to help you stay healthy AND look good. 

Our socks come in varying designs and colors so whether you’re at work, traveling, lounging, or running a marathon–you do it in style. 

Check out our online store and find the perfect sock for you!


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