December 14, 2022

Whether you're traveling in a plane or car ride that lasts for hours, or you've just finished a long day on your feet, chances are you've experienced foot swelling.

Swollen feet are sometimes an inevitable part of living life, where our lifestyles -- depending on how active or inactive they are -- can increase our chances of feeling the uncomfortable pressure of our feet against footwear. They wouldn't be quite as annoying if they weren't accompanied by painful aching in our feet and heels, which makes living our daily lives difficult depending on how severe it is.

Thankfully, compression socks are a tried and true piece of footwear that are known to provide relief and reduce swelling. Even better, regularly using compression socks during activities that may increase the chances of swollen feet can even prevent swelling from happening in the first place. Compression stockings are well known for this property, and are exploding in popularity.

Today, we're going to answer every question you've ever had about using compression socks for swollenfeet, so you can get yourself back on your feet as soon as possible!

Why are my feet swelling?

The clinical term for swelling and fluid buildup in tissue is "edema", and is more likely to occur in limbs that are immobile for a long period of time. Say for example, you sit at an office desk for eight hours a day, with your feet planted on the ground the entire time; the added pressure on your legs and varicose veins from sitting and lack of movement will send fluid to your feet and ankles through gravity.

Swollen feet are very common, and luckily, rarely a serious issue. Swelling in the legs will typically resolve after the individual moves around and stretches the lower limbs. However, swelling and excess fluid in limbs can be a sign of a more serious problem in some individuals. For example, edema from being immobile after foot or limb surgery can increase the risk of blood clots.

It can also be a sign of more serious complications, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT), where blood clots from the lower legs may dislodge and travel to the lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism. Thankfully, deep vein thrombosis can be treated by a physician, but it's important to reduce your risk whenever possible. Compression stockings can be a part of this.

Why use compression socks for swelling feet?

Compression socks are a reliable tool to treat edema, whether it's from swollen legs due to surgery, poor circulation from sitting, or swelling from changes in pressure due to plane travel. Steps to improve circulation will be more effective if used in tandem with compression socks, including regular exercise, reducing sodium intake, and stretching often.

Compression socks and compression stockings are effective because they apply constant pressure to your legs and ankles, making it easier for your veins to pump blood back to your heart rather than letting fluid build up in your legs.

Moreover, doctors may prescribe medical grade compression socks for swelling feet in people with certain medical conditions, such as family history of DVT, venous insufficiency (where the veins are less efficient at pumping blood), improving circulation in pregnant women, and people diagnosed with diabetes. Compression stockings seem to be a great way to keep comfortable no matter what kind of unique situation you're in, health-wise.

What kind of compression socks should I use to reduce swelling?

Choosing the right socks doesn't have to be a hassle; many reputable brands will have a choice between uniform and graduated compression socks. The best compression socks depend on your lifestyle and needs:

Uniform compression socks:

Uniform compression socks apply constant pressure across the legs, and are pretty standard -- they are also called "regular" compression socks. They have consistent pressure all along the legs, and come in a range of strengths. Uniform compression socks work very well for most uses, especially if you're laying down or traveling for a moderate period of time. They alleviate strain on the veins by keeping constant pressure, and prevent swelling by doing so.

Graduated compression socks:

Graduated compression socks share the same principles with uniform compression socks, but their name gives away a big distinction. Graduated compression socks have a gradient of pressure along the stockings, feeling tighter around the ankles and looser around the knees. They are a better choice for people who sit for long periods of time, where gravity is an issue. The extra support to the lower legs helps especially if you're standing in a stationary position for a while, and are very effective at reducing swelling.

Depending on your lifestyle, uniform or graduated compression socks make for a useful addition to your healthcare routine. They are also only a part of preventative steps you can take to reduce swelling, and are best used in combination with other measures to maximize your comfort and health.

What else can I do to reduce swelling and pain in my feet?

Beyond compression socks or compression stockings, there are a couple of extra life hacks you can do to alleviate the risk of swollen feet, including:

Staying hydrated

This may seem a bit counter to common sense: why take in more fluid if too much fluid is leading to swelling? Our bodies are very sensitive to dehydration, and when it senses a lack of water, it tends to hold onto any fluid it has, leading to swelling in tissues. Try to sip water regularly throughout the day.

Reducing sodium intake

For the same reason it is important to drink water, reducing sodium helps with preventing unwanted fluid retention in your body, including the lower legs. Salty foods rapidly dehydrate you, and force the body to hold on to water.

Eating a balanced diet

Cardiovascular health is critical for reducing swelling, and a balanced diet is an effective way at maintaining optimal heart health.

Exercise regularly

On top of eating well, regularly exercising helps to improve circulation. Moreover, regularly moving around keeps fluid from building up in the limbs.

Use a CBD oil or cream

Okay, so you've reduced swelling and kept your legs in good shape, but the pain associated with swelling can last a fair amount of time. A few years ago, your options would be limited to over the counter medications that alleviate pain, but many people find them ineffective or need to take more doses throughout the day to keep pain at bay.

That's where CBD products come in - ALeaf's CBD Foot Cream is specially formulated to reduce pain in the feet, and works very quickly, with pain relief lasting for hours. Besides being an effective choice, Aleaf's CBD Foot Cream is vegan, natural, and can be reapplied as needed.

If you're worried about swollenfeet, a health regiment that leverages the power of compression socks and a well-rounded lifestyle will keep you feeling your best.