Compression Socks for Neuropathy: How do They Work?
December 19 2022
Neuropathy is the medical term for nerve tissue damage caused by complications from diabetes. It may affect the palms and soles, along with any body part. Most people associate this condition with numbness, weakness and pain that feels like being poked by pins and needles.
Although a frequent factor for peripheral neuropathy is diabetes, it can stem from injuries, diseases, or exposure to toxins. About 8 percent of adults over 55 suffer from this condition, and the prevalence is significantly higher among diabetic people. Peripheral neuropathy in diabetics is a degenerative disease with no cure and is typically caused by elevated blood sugars over time. Due to the absence of effective treatment, physicians may often recommend a treatment plan designed to help relieve symptoms and mitigate further damage.
There are several methods available to combat the pain of neuropathy. One of the most frequently recommended tools to deal with neuropathic pain issues is compression socks. Do they really function? And if they do, exactly how? Let’s take a more in-depth look. But before we do that, let’s take a moment to cover some basic information on Peripheral Neuropathy.
Complications Involved with Peripheral Neuropathy
As per NHS, peripheral neuropathy can sometimes give birth to several complications that may vary depending on the cause of your condition. These risks include heart rhythm change, foot ulcers, and problems in blood circulation. Here are some more complications that can occur if you leave peripheral neuropathy untreated.
Loss of Sensation
Major peripheral neuropathy complications can originate from losing your sensation. While you might think this is a benefit, that’s not true. Being able to feel pain is your body’s protective mechanism. It can be dangerous when you lose your senses to feel unpleasant sensations. While the initial injury is not a problem, the main concern is when the problem can become bigger, and you won’t be able to notice it.
There’s an increased risk of developing gangrene if you get a wound infection in your feet due to peripheral neuropathy. Gangrene is when your body tissues die because of insufficient blood flow. And surgery is needed to remove these dead tissues. In severe cases, your foot or toe is amputated.
Problems with Blood Circulation and Heart
Cardiovascular Autonomic Neuropathy (CAN) is a blood circulation and heart problem that is one of the most common complications faced by peripheral neuropathy patients. It can damage your peripheral nerves, disturbing the functions that control your heartbeat and blood circulation.
Are Compression Socks Good for Peripheral Neuropathy?
Yes, compression socks help in managing the uncomfortable and painful symptoms of this condition. Compression socks can’t reverse the damage done; however, they can promote your feet's health by supporting the muscles of your feet and legs, which may help reduce symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy. Here’s how they can help with conditions related to neuropathy complications:
Reduces Swelling in Feet
Swollen legs and feet are the most common signs of peripheral neuropathy. This swelling can result in the fluid build-up. Compression socks are designed to increase blood flow throughout the body, relieving those suffering from poor circulation or nerve damage. They improve blood circulation by providing compression around the feet and legs, reducing swelling. Compression therapy allows your blood to flow back to the heart, avoiding build-up and reducing swelling in the legs and feet.
Improves Balance and Stability
Compression socks can also help improve balance and posture while walking, leading to improved mobility for someone with peripheral neuropathy symptoms. Some scientific studies support this theory. There has been a significant improvement in balance for the elderly and individuals with low proprioception when they started wearing compression socks.
Helps with Foot Ulcers, Varicose Veins, and DVT
When you have diabetic peripheral neuropathy, your ability to feel anything in your feet and your decreased healing process can mess with your body’s inability to notice and repair wounds. This can cause foot ulcers. Foot ulcers are open lesions or sores that are not healed properly, causing them to break down the tissue and skin of your feet, infecting them. These ulcers could lead to other complications like amputations and gangrene if left untreated. Research shows that compression socks may help curb complications caused by foot ulcers.
Moreover, compression socks are known to help patients with varicose veins and oedema, which are common conditions that could lead to infections. These infections can lead to gangrene, one of the biggest complications of peripheral neuropathy. In addition to this, the NCBI says that peripheral neuropathy can also be a result of thrombophlebitis, which is followed by deep venous thrombosis (DVT). Compression socks can help you deal with DVT and reduce complications leading to neuropathic pain.
Protects You from Cuts
Those with peripheral neuropathy constantly feel like they are being pricked by pins and needles in their feet. They are recommended compression socks to relieve them from this irritating and uncomfortable feeling. Moreover, they also protect your feet from bruises or cuts and offer protection to people with extreme foot sensitivity.
What Other Conditions Do Compression Socks Deal With?
Apart from peripheral neuropathy, compression socks are also known to relieve discomfort related to other painful lower limb medical conditions like:
Compression stockings also help pregnant women at times. During pregnancy, hormones increase blood circulation, leading to the widening of the leg veins and accruing pressure in the inferior vena cava, the main vein that returns blood to the heart. Nurses also obtain assistance from compression socks.
Stockings can be used as training aids for athletes. Some athletes claim that compression stockings provide comfort for performing an activity and help them perform better than when wearing alternative garments.
Right Compression Levels for Peripheral Neuropathy
At the end of the day, everything comes back to what makes you feel comfortable. Wearing the right compression level is extremely necessary to make stockings a comfortable experience.
Our customers have begun their compression clothing journey with a 15-20 mmHg. This level gives a mild compression and is not too much to handle. However, some people with pre-existing conditions like varicose veins might wear 20 to 30 mmHg compression socks.
Refer to our blog, which talks in detail about the different levels of compression socks.
Best Compression Socks for Peripheral Neuropathy
Choosing the best compression socks for peripheral neuropathy is important. So, keep in mind the following things when looking for the perfect compression stocking:
- Material: It’s important to pick a material that makes it a mission to keep your feet fresh and protected to avoid infections and reduce exposure to germs, bacteria, and viruses.
- Durable and Comfortable: Another important factor to consider is the durability of your compression socks. They should be able to handle the regular wear and tear. Moreover, the sock's material should feel comfortable, as having them constantly rub your feet can be an uncomfortable experience. Hence, a comfortable material can prevent unpleasant feelings.
- Manage Moisture: Your compression socks should also hold the power to absorb moisture to keep your feet dry and cool. It’s necessary to prevent sweat from accumulating on your feet as it can encourage the growth of bacteria.
But how can you find all these qualities bundled into one compression sock? With copper compression socks!
Why Copper Compression Socks?
Copper has been a recent hero in the wellness world. As many have started introducing this element in their skincare routine, technology advancements have proven that wearing copper compression socks is more valuable than regular ones. Copper has been considered a vital micronutrient that is natural, non-invasive, non-poisonous, chemical-free, sustainable, and anti-microbial. Moreover, various studies have proven that copper can destroy viruses, fungi, and bacteria upon contact.
When copper is combined with compression socks, you get to take advantage of fresher, softer, and healthier feet! Compared to regular compression socks, copper-infused ones provide a more luxurious feel of comfort, support, and sturdiness. Copper fabric is made by embedding copper ions into the yarn of socks at a molecular level. This makes them anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and an ideal choice of socks for daily use.ultimate guide to copper compression socks
Are there any side effects of wearing compression stockings?
No, as per this research, compression socks are safe to wear when wore correctly and under the proper guidance of a doctor. However, they are not safe for everyone or in every situation. To know more about it, check out our blog.
Do compression socks help with chemo neuropathy?
What is the difference between neuropathy socks and compression socks?
Neuropathy socks are different from compression socks in terms of their fitting. The former has a loose fitting, while the latter are tight-fitting socks meant to prevent fluid build-up, swelling and everything that’s covered in this article.
How many hours a day should you wear compression socks?
Ideally, it is recommended to wear your compression socks during the day by putting them on first thing in the morning and removing them before going to bed. While you can wear them at night, there are no said benefits.