Health Tip: Is Compression Gear a Good Fit for Me?
Oct 18, 2021
Our experts debunk myths surrounding compression socks and more.
Are you one of the millions of Americans being targeted for trendy compression gear by shoe brands, specialty companies, or Amazon via social media and online ads? You might be wondering why people are so into compression right now, especially athletes and people looking to prevent circulation issues and varicose veins as they get older. They may be “socks with benefits,” but the ones you buy online may not be benefiting you if they aren’t the right fit.
“Over the years, people have been exposed to athletes on TV wearing athletic sleeves or spandex under their uniforms; that’s compression,” says Bobi Herold, a Certified Orthotic Fitter at Klein’s Pharmacy and former athletic trainer at University of Akron. “We have had an increase in ‘weekend warriors’ coming in who have been exposed to compression, and it leads them to ask some questions.”
Compression sleeves, socks, and wraps are specially engineered to help reverse gravity, pushing blood from your feet or hands back to your heart. For athletes, this provides more energy and less lactic acid build-up, keeping you energized for longer without cramps and a quicker recovery time. For those with diabetes, edema, or at risk of blood clots, compression products can literally be a lifesaver and are more commonly recommended by doctors than braces in addition to medication to provide relief. Compression gear is a great fit for most, except those with congestive heart failure or certain vein issues.
“Like walking into a tailor, we take very specific measurements. Not many people realize it, but we use a local company at our pharmacy from right down the road, one of the best compression companies out there, Juzo.” Herold also recommends Sigvaris as another high-performing brand. “People come in and say ‘I ordered my compression gear online.’ The first thing I ask is, ‘Did you get measured for them?’ When they say no, I ask, ‘So, how did you find your size?’” People assume compression gear is tight and uncomfortable, but with the correct fit, Herold assures that you won’t even notice them.
The average cost for compression wear is $30 to $40. Buyer beware! If a deal seems too good to be true, there is probably a reason why. “You’re going to find a lot of cheaper brands, but not all compression socks are created equal,” Herold reminds us. “You need to consider the material, durability, and the amount of compression that’s in the garment. There’s no regulation on compression, the FDA isn’t checking these companies, but we do.”