Compression Socks: Part Of Safe Surgical Recovery
If you’ve had joint replacement surgery for a hip or knee, you have mastered the art of wearing compression socks during your recovery. We explain why these socks are so important to a safe recovery, and how they reduce the risk of postsurgical complications.
Compression stockings are snug-fitting, stretchy socks that gently squeeze your leg. They come in a variety of sizes and strengths, and are designed to improve blood flow in your legs. Wearing these socks can make your legs more comfortable by lessening pain and swelling, improving sports performance, and helping to prevent dangerous blood clots from forming in your veins after surgery.
The risk of blood clots is known to be higher after orthopedic surgery, so every joint replacement patient wears compression socks as part of the recovery process. However, sock use is not restricted to surgical patients. Other people who wear them include:
- People who are bedridden or are unable to move their legs frequently
- People at risk for circulation problems
- People with jobs that require a lot of standing
- Pregnant women
- People whose jobs involve long stationary periods of time, like pilots
The socks work by putting pressure on your legs that helps to improve blood vessel function. Some athletes believe that compression socks and sleeves may help get oxygen to active muscles, prevent tissue damage, and support muscle recovery with less soreness and cramping. For surgical patients, the socks stimulate blood movement through the vessels in the legs, making it less likely to pool in veins and create conditions where a clot can form.
At Summit Orthopedics, we work with our surgical patients to select the correct compression socks for a safe recovery. Socks should fit firmly and lie flat and smooth against your skin, with no bunching. Length is important. You don’t want to roll or fold socks down because that could cause blood flow problems or cut off circulation. Wearing your socks regularly for the time period prescribed helps you to heal safely and supports a successful surgical outcome.
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