The Best Compression Socks For Nurses (2020)
April 13, 2020
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*This article about the best compression socks for nurses contains affiliate links. 

If there is one profession that needs to be wearing compression socks, its nurses (or anyone who is on their feet for 12+ hours a day). Compression socks are beneficial for leg health for the following reasons:

  • Preventing or reduce varicose veins
  • Improving blood flow and decrease the risk of blood clots
  • Decreasing swelling of the legs and ankles

Since I started wearing compression socks, my legs feel noticeably better and more energized at the end of a shift.  I started wearing them out of necessity when I was pregnant and was able to continue working as an ER nurse until I was almost eight and a half months pregnant.

I have always appreciated that my job is not sedentary.  But as it turns out, being on my feet for such long hours can be worse for your health than sitting all day. Wearing compression socks is the best way for busy healthcare professionals to prevent some of these insidious, chronic leag health issues.

Medical compression stockings for the treatment of varicose veins.

How do compression socks keep legs healthy?

Compression stockings help increase the circulation of blood flow and oxygen by helping increase the velocity or speed of blood flow. By squeezing on the legs, the veins carrying blood to the heart are compressed.

Think of how when you squeeze a hose; it squirts the water out faster. With compression stockings, the same volume of blood can move up the leg, but it has less area in which to move.

Understanding compression sock levels:

Choosing the right compression socks can be difficult if you do not understand what the levels of compression mean.  Compression socks have a range of numbers to indicate how much graduated compression the garment has. Here is a quick and dirty breakdown:

  • 15-20 mmHg
    • Suitable for everyday wear to help with welling and fatigued legs due to long periods of travel, sitting, or standing.
  • 20-30 mmHg
    • Medical grade compression. Useful for managing swelling, spider veins, travel, sports, and after some surgeries.  Also suitable for pregnant mothers to alleviate swelling and achy legs.
  • 30-40 mmHg
    • Recommended when you have a blood clot, deep vein thrombosis DVT, or lymphedema.
  • 40-50 mmHg
    • robust compression for severe venous stasis, wound management, and lymphedema.

(The unit of measurement (mmHg) is called “millimeters of mercury,” which is a measurement of pressure, also used in blood pressure.  It is a measurement for how tight the compression on your legs is.)

The sweet spot for medical professionals on their feet all day usually falls in the 20-30 mmHg range depending on how much compression you are looking for.  You should discuss compression stockings with your doctor, especially if you have any medical issues.

Keep in mind that you get what you pay for when it comes to good compression stocks.  Generally speaking, with all products, if the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is.  Trust me when I say I learned this the hard way.

Sacrificing your leg health is just not worth it.

Nurses experience enough occupational hazards during a nursing shift as it is.  Make sure you wear compression socks or stockings during every single shift.  You can help to prevent future circulation and venous issues and still have a long, rewarding career as a nurse.

Check out this list of best compression socks for nurses:

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

 

Additional recommended reading:

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