Pros and Cons of Compression Socks vs. Compression Wraps

You're probably familiar with compression socks already, not just because it's our favorite thing to do, talk about, and our favorite topic for sharing information. Compression socks are well-known for treating many health issues and promoting healthier legs and feet. But compression wraps aren't as much in the spotlight and provide gentle, graduated pressure.
If you're new to compression socks and garments, you might wonder which is right for you. Another question you might have is: which is better? What are the pros and cons of compression socks vs. wraps? We think this is a great question and will do our best to answer.

Compression Socks
Compression socks, sometimes called compression stockings, are specialized socks that provide graduated pressure to the legs to improve and prevent many health conditions. You can purchase compression socks through pharmacies, retailers, and of course, through us right here at Crazy Compression.
Graduated compression socks have the strongest pressure and support at the ankles and slowly decrease up toward the knee. Compression socks are used for various issues, such as varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, during pregnancy, to reduce swelling, after surgery, for those with extended hours on their feet, foot, and leg pain, edemas, poor circulation, and more.

Pros
• A massive selection of colors, patterns, and styles make a pair unique to its user.
• Compression socks are designed to handle moisture such as sweat and can and should be washed frequently with each use.
• The simple design of a compression sock makes it generally easy to put on. The design works well with several mobility aids and tools for those with mobility issues.
• Compression socks support vein health.
• Helps reduce swelling in the legs.
• Assist in restricting blood from pooling in veins.
• Aid in the prevention of venous ulcers.
• Can reduce orthostatic hypotension (a form of low blood pressure that happens with standing after sitting or lying down.)
• Aid in the prevention of deep vein thrombosis
• Reduce pain from varicose veins
• Boost lymphatic drainage
• Aid mild lymphedema symptoms
• Aid mild lipedema symptoms
• Help reduce chronic venous hypertension (venous ulceration in the lower legs.)
• Aid in exercise recovery, reducing the build-up of lactic acid after a challenging workout.


Cons
• Over-the-counter compression sock brands have few regulations. Purchasing from a questionable brand or manufacturer can result in reduced quality, fluctuating pressure, and defects.
• Socks that don't fit properly can have the opposite effect of increasing blood flow and cutting off circulation.
• Socks with improper fit could break the skin, damage nerves, and lead to infection.
• For someone with Defective Arterial Flow, if not prescribed compression socks, the socks could aggravate ischemia (poor blood supply to any part of the body, especially the heart) or induce oxygen deficiency.
• Improper sock fit may also lead to making legs and fit feel tingly.
• Compression socks that use a seam or have seams could lead to corns, calluses, and blisters on the feet.
• Users may be allergic to materials and fabrics used.
• Over-the-knee compression socks may be uncomfortable to wear during hot temperatures, depending on whether the material is breathable.

Compression Wraps
Compression wraps exist for almost every part of the body. Compression wraps often have a high working pressure when a person is moving and a lower pressure when resting. Wraps are designed to replicate short stretch bandaging. Available designs of compression wraps have a flexible spine with multiple overlapping bands secured via Velcro.

Pros
• Wraps exist for nearly every body part, including calves, thighs, knees, feet, arms, and hands.
• Depending on brand and body part, wraps generally have a wide variety of widths, lengths, and sizes.
• Reduce swelling.
• Wraps are adjusted easily should swelling decrease or increase.
• Excellent for after-surgery or cosmetic surgery recovery.
• Compression is only applied when the wearer is active.


Cons
• Available only in very primary colors like beige, black, or grey. Compression wraps are tight by design, using higher pressure than most compression socks. Wearing compression wraps often causes discomfort.
• Compression wraps for patients with limited hand mobility or mobility to reach their limbs, such as their legs and feet, can be more challenging to wear.
• Compression wraps may feature seams that can rub against and irritate sensitive skin, creating irritation and possibly blistering.
• Compression wraps add a layer or more material to wear and can be incredibly uncomfortable in the heat.
• Most compression wraps caution against getting wet or encountering moisture and must be kept dry.
• Many wraps designed for the foot prevent the user from wearing footwear. Some wraps around limbs may make wearing regular clothes difficult to impossible.
• Multi-layer compression wraps tend to be thicker and heavier and, as a result, tend to slide more, especially wrapped around irregularly shaped limbs.
• Wraps should not be used by those diagnosed with PAD (peripheral arterial disease)
• Can make acute inflammatory episodes in lymphoedema worsen
• Compression wraps should only be used on diabetes or those with peripheral neuropathy if recommended or prescribed by a doctor.

Which One is Right For you?
Compression socks are typically safe to wear for nearly everyone. If you have medical conditions, it's recommended to ask for your doctor's guidance, ensure you're wearing high-quality, well-made compression socks, and follow the manufacturer's instructions for care and maintenance.
The same can be said with compression wraps while keeping some of the cons listed above in mind. The decision to wear compression socks or wraps depends entirely on what you need, prefer, and like. Make sure, no matter what sounds right for you, that your compression garments fit properly and you wear them correctly to get the most out of them.
We hope you enjoyed this thorough comparison of compression socks vs. wraps: the pros and cons. Do you still have questions about whether our compression socks are right for you? Please feel free to reach out to us! We're crazy about compression and would love to help.


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