The Science Behind Wearing Compression Socks for Lymphedema Management

In Compression Therapy, Science & Education by AdminLeave a Comment

The body’s immune system regulation and disease-fighting abilities are controlled by the lymphatic system, which is built up of a network of ducts, nodes, and vessels that pass through almost all tissue within the body. Lymph fluid, similar to how blood is circulated, moves through the body via the lymphatic system.

When the body’s lymphatic system cannot drain these protein-rich fluids, tissue swelling, known as lymphedema, can occur and typically affects the arms and legs. It may also affect the chest wall, abdomen, neck, and genitals, though not as often as the arms and legs. Lymphedema can result from various causes, including cancer treatments or any other issue that blocks lymph fluid drainage.

Severe lymphedema cases can significantly hinder limb mobility, cause skin breakdown and increase the risk of infections and sepsis. Treatment options for severe lymphedema include sequential pneumatic pumping, compression wraps, stockings, massage, careful skin care, and, in rare cases, surgery to remove swollen tissue.

Lymphatic System

Compression Socks – What Are They?

Compression socks have been made quite quite popular by athletes in recent years. While some people are drawn to them simply because they are stylish, the majority of people who wear them do so because of their therapeutic benefits.

Compression socks are worn primarily to alleviate the swelling and discomfort in the arms, feet and legs associated with lymphedema. By applying gradual pressure that decreases from the bottom to the top of the compression garment, blood is encouraged to return to the heart.

The Science Behind Compression Socks

Lymphedema causes fluid to build up in bodily tissues, causing swelling in the limbs. Compression socks are a commonly prescribed treatment for lymphedema patients, and the science behind their effectiveness has been well-established.

Compression socks work by exerting pressure on the swollen tissue, which compresses the affected vessels and reduces the areas for lymphatic fluid to accumulate. This pressure helps to move the lymphatic fluid through the vessels and back into the circulatory system. The pressure applied by the socks is typically highest at the ankle and gradually decreases as it moves up the leg. This gradual pressure helps to prevent the lymphatic fluid from accumulating in the lower leg and promotes lymphatic drainage.

Multiple studies have shown that the use of compression socks can significantly reduce swelling and other symptoms associated with lymphedema. A study published in the Journal of Lymphedema found that patients who wore compression garments experienced a significant reduction in the volume of lymphedema in the affected limb. The study also found that wearing compression garments for an extended period of time improved the quality of life for these individuals. The principle of exerting pressure on swollen tissue to promote proper lymphatic drainage is the science behind the use of compression socks for lymphedema management.

To learn more about the science behind compression garments, visit our infographic for a visual journey all about it!

Types and Sizes of Compression Socks

Compression stockings are available in a broad range of sizes, lengths, and colors, and are also offered in varying strengths of compression. A proper fit is essential, and your doctor will measure your legs to determine the correct size to ensure a proper fit.

You may need to wear compression stockings on one or both legs, depending on your case.

How long do you wear compression stockings?

Your doctor will determine how long you should wear compression stockings, but it is typically recommended that you put them on again first thing in the morning and wear them during the day and remove them before going to bed.

It is advised to purchase at least two stockings, or two pairs if you’re wearing them on both legs, so that you can wear one stocking while the other is being washed and dried. It’s important to handwash your stockings in water at about 110 degrees fahrenheit and dry them away from direct heat.

Your doctor will monitor your progress, and it’s recommended that you have your legs measured again and replace your stockings every three to six months.

Benefits of Using Compression

Compression socks are crucial for managing lymphedema. When used in the early stages of lymphedema, compression garments can help to spontaneously reverse the condition. At a minimum, medical-grade compression socks and stockings can halt the progression of early-stage lymphedema. After undergoing decongestive therapy to drain the limbs, wearing compression stockings every day can prevent the fluid from returning.

How to Choose the Right Compression Socks for Your Lymphedema

While it is true that compression socks can help alleviate the symptoms of lymphedema, that does not mean all compression socks are created equal. It’s absolutely vital that you choose the right sock for you based on style, pressure, and price point. There are many manufacturers for compression socks like Juzo and Medi, making your options endless for finding the perfect product for you!

The ideal compression sock for you  should have:

  • A snug yet comfortable fit.
  • High-quality construction to ensure durability (socks should be replaced every few months for maximum effectiveness, not every few weeks).
  • The right amount of pressure, which is comfortable for you.
  • Breathable, yet strong material.
  • Minimal seams to reduce potential irritation.


Compression stockings play a key role in the treatment of lymphedema. When worn as prescribed by your doctor, they can reduce the symptoms and slow down the progression of lymphedema in your legs.

At Lymphedema Products, our customers benefit from the broad medical and technical service-base provided by our company’s founder and advisory staff. When patients and medical professionals choose to purchase their medical compression specialty items from us, they are establishing a relationship with an industry-leading resource for medical edema-related treatment knowledge and expertise.

We are proud to carry a wide range of Sigvaris compression socks. Sigvaris focuses on the development, production, and distribution of medical compression garments, including hosiery and socks. Their vision is to be a leader in the area of compression therapy for the management of venous and lymphatic disorders. Browse our complete selection of Sigvaris compression garments today.

Share This Post

Leave a Comment