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    Side Effects Of Wearing Compression Stockings

    Side Effects Of Wearing Compression Socks

    In this article, we'll explore the benefits of knee sleeves in-depth, from providing support and stability to reducing pain and inflammation.

    JUL 26,2023   |    3 Mins Read


    If you've ever heard about compression socks and stockings but were not quite sure about their benefits and potential pitfalls, you've come to the right place. In this article, we explore how compression socks work, the pros and cons of using them, and answer some frequently asked questions.

    How Do Compression Socks Work?

    The mechanism by how compression socks work is rooted in the concept of compression therapy. When individuals have a sedentary lifestyle or remain immobile for long periods, the circulatory system, especially in the lower limbs, may not function optimally. This can lead to effects like swelling, tired legs, or even serious medical conditions like blood clots.

    Graduated compression socks are specifically designed to address these issues. They apply the maximum, continuous squeeze at the ankles, compressing the superficial leg veins and improving blood circulation. This gentle pressure is instrumental in moving the blood effectively and ensuring that there's no blood pooling in the feet and legs. The socks' fabric is usually tighter at the ankle and gradually decreasing in tightness as they move u

    Can Compression Socks Be Harmful?

    While compression garments, like compression socks, are generally safe and beneficial for most patients, they can potentially lead to side effects if not fitted properly. However, there are several myths that may paint an inaccurate picture of these useful aids. Let's debunk seven common myths about wearing compression socks or stockings:

    Myth: Compression Socks are Only for the Elderly or Sick

    Fact: Compression socks are beneficial for a wide range of people, not just the elderly or those with medical conditions. Athletes, pregnant women, people who stand or sit for long periods, and travelers on long flights can also benefit from wearing them.

    Myth: Compression Socks Will Cut Off My Circulation

    Fact: The truth is, compression socks are designed to improve your circulation, not cut it off. They apply pressure to your legs and feet to help blood flow back to your heart. However, it's essential to ensure they fit properly to avoid excessive tightness.

    Myth: Anyone Can Wear Compression Socks

    Fact: Although largely safe, not everyone should wear compression socks. Those with certain conditions like peripheral neuropathy, skin infections, or pulmonary edema may be advised against using them. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting to wear compression socks.

    Myth: The Tighter the Socks, The Better

    Fact: While it's true that compression socks work by applying pressure, too much of it can be harmful. Socks that are too tight can restrict circulation instead of promoting it. It's important to get the right size for your legs and feet. Too tight compression socks can cause tingling and numbness, as well as skin irritation.

    Myth: Wearing Compression Socks is Uncomfortable and Unattractive 

    Fact: While some people might experience discomfort initially, most adjust quickly. If they're causing significant discomfort or pain, they might not be the right size or compression level. Remember, comfort is key when choosing the right pair for you. Many modern compression socks are designed for comfort and aesthetics. They come in various colors, patterns, and materials to suit individual styles and preferences.

    Myth: I Don't Need a Doctor's Prescription to Wear Compression Sock

    Fact: While it's true you can buy compression socks without a prescription, it's advisable to consult a healthcare provider if you're considering them for a medical condition. They can guide you to the right type and compression level suitable for your needs.

    Myth: The Tighter the Socks, The Better

    Fact: While it's true you can buy compression socks without a prescription, it's advisable to consult a healthcare provider if you're considering them for a medical condition. They can guide you to the right type and compression level suitable for your needs.

    Expert tip:

    Gradually Increase Wearing Time: If you're new to compression socks, start by wearing them for a few hours each day and gradually increase the duration. This can help your legs adjust to the compression.

    Myth: All Compression Socks Are the Same

    Fact: Compression socks come in various styles, sizes, and compression levels. Some are knee-high, others thigh-high, and some cover the full leg. The level of compression, measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), also varies to cater to different needs.

    Potential Negative Side Effects of Compression Socks

    While compression socks come with numerous benefits, they are not devoid of side effects. 

    A survey-based analysis of 110 questionnaires were conducted with a return rate of 55%. Among these, 29.1% found the therapy comfortable. Approximately 37% had an improvement in their leg symptoms. Most patients (105 out of 110) wore their compression devices for more than six hours a day. 

    The main side effects reported were dryness of the skin (58.5%), itching (32.7%), slipping (29.1%), and constriction of the compression device (24.5%).

    Skin Dryness

    Compression socks can cause skin dryness because they prevent natural moisture loss. However, this issue can be mitigated. Interestingly, the study mentioned above revealed that these side effects can be mitigated by treating the fabric of the socks with a moisturizing finish. To prevent this, apply a good lotion and make sure our legs are dry before you put on your compression socks.


    The pressure and friction from the socks on the skin can lead to itching. To prevent this, ensure the 

    While compression garments, like compression socks, are generally safe and beneficial for most patients, they can potentially lead to side effects if not fitted properly fit properly and that you're not allergic to the material used in them. We also suggest using hypoallergenic laundry detergent when washing your compression socks.


    Improper fit can cause the socks to slip down the leg, leading to discomfort and reducing their effectiveness. To prevent this, learn how to measure leg for compression socks properly. This will ensure a snug fit.


    Some people may find that the compression socks are too tight, leading to discomfort and possible circulation issues. This happens when you've picked out the wrong size for you. This is why we've curated the perfect guide on finding out how tight your compression socks should be.

    Positive Side Effects of Compression Socks

    Despite these potential drawbacks, many individuals find the compression sock benefits far outweigh the negative aspects. From medical applications to sports and fitness, these therapeutic socks have proven quite useful.

    Support to Muscles and Tissues

    Compression socks not only aid in better blood circulation but also offer support to the muscles and tissues in the lower limbs. Athletes often wear compression socks during and after intense physical activities to reduce muscle soreness and aid in a faster recovery.

    The compression provided by these socks helps stabilize the muscles and reduces the micro-tears that occur during exercise. Moreover, the compression helps in flushing out metabolic waste products from the muscles, which can contribute to muscle soreness.

    Management of Leg Ulcers and Chronic Vein Disease

    Compression socks are an effective tool in the management of leg ulcers and chronic vein disease. By enhancing circulation, they aid in wound healing and minimize the symptoms of vein disease, such as pain and swelling.

    It's also worth noting that the incidence of edema (swelling due to fluid accumulation) among aged patients is much higher in women than in men, making compression socks an essential tool in managing this condition.

    Improved Circulatory and Lymphatic Systems

    As earlier mentioned, compression socks promote blood and lymph fluid circulation, reducing the risk of conditions like deep vein thrombosis. By applying graduated compression, these socks encourage the natural flow of these fluids, reducing the likelihood of swelling and the formation of blood clots.

    Reduced Muscle Soreness and Aids Recovery

    Athletes and fitness enthusiasts can attest to the effectiveness of compression socks in reducing muscle soreness and aiding recovery after strenuous activities. They offer valuable support that helps minimize muscle fatigue and damage.

    FAQs About the Side Effects Of Wearing Compression Socks

    To round off, here are some common questions and answers about the side effects of wearing compression socks:

    When should you not wear compression socks?

    You should avoid wearing compression socks if you have peripheral neuropathy, skin infections, or any other condition that may be worsened by compression.

    How many hours a day should you wear compression socks?

    Typically, compression socks are worn during waking hours and removed before going to bed. However, how long should you wear compression socks for depends on your health condition and doctor's recommendation. For athletes and individuals using compression socks for muscle recovery, wearing them during and after intense physical activity is common. 

    How long can you safely wear compression socks?

    It's safe to wear compression socks for as long as recommended by your healthcare provider, which can range from a few hours to all day, depending on your health condition. Wearing compression socks for too long can potentially lead to skin irritation, discomfort, temporary dents in the skin, or circulation problems, particularly if they're too tight.

    What can happen if you wear compression socks too long?

    Overuse can lead to skin irritation, discomfort, and in rare cases, restricted blood flow.

    Can compression socks cause blood clots?

    On the contrary, compression socks are designed to prevent blood clots by improving circulation.

    Can compression socks cause blood clots?

    Yes, improper application can result in discomfort or reduced effectiveness. Always ensure the socks are smooth against your skin and the compression is greatest at the ankle.

    To put on compression socks correctly, follow these steps:

    1. Start by turning the sock inside out, reaching to the heel area.
    2. Place your foot inside the sock and gently pull it up over your heel and calf.
    3. Gradually pull the rest of the sock up, ensuring it lies smoothly against your skin without any wrinkles or folds.
    Wearing compression socks inside out or wrinkled can cause uneven compression, leading to discomfort and potential risks.

    Final Thoughts

    These side effects are just that – potential, not definite. They are not a guaranteed experience, and can often be managed or completely prevented with proper know-how.

    With the right approach, many of these can be prevented or managed. A proper fit, adequate break periods, and good skin care can often mean the difference between a comfortable, beneficial experience and a less pleasant one.

    At this point, you might be thinking, "Where do I even start looking for the right pair of compression socks?" Speaking of the right pair, if you're on the lookout for high-quality compression socks, look no further than Koprez Compression Socks

    Designed with both comfort and efficacy in mind, Koprez offers the best compression socks for men and women alike. With their optimal pressure distribution, comfortable fit, and stylish designs, you'll find them a valuable addition to your daily routine, whether you're an athlete, a frequent flyer, a healthcare worker, or someone managing a chronic vein disease.

    Remember, it's not just about wearing compression socks—it's about wearing the right ones for you. 


    • Acton, Q. A. (Ed.). (2012). Issues in circulatory and lymphatic research: 2011 edition. ScholarlyEditions.
    • Hoshi, Y. (Ed.). (2020). New horizons in time-domain diffuse optical spectroscopy and imaging. Mdpi AG.


    Claire Evans worked as the content marketing manager at Koprez. Claire combined a background of writing and editing, marketing, and patient education to best serve consumers, fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and anyone who relies on the Koprez brand for helpful information.

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