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Top 5 Best Compression Socks for Nurses- Quick Relief for Long Hour Shifts [2017 Reviews]

Compression socks are a must for your overnight nurse bag. But wearing compression socks that don’t fit can be a daily nightmare. Finding the right compression socks may prove to be a challenge since everyone is unique and what may work for one individual may not work just as well for the next. Nursing is a tough job, but a rewarding one for that. On top of supporting physicians and helping patients, nursing requires a lot of physical stamina and moving around. The result of all this movement and standing is pain in the feet and legs, along with the potential for varicose veins down the line. We’ve researched the top rated compression socks and have come up with 5 recommendations for you to check out.

Why Use Compression Socks?

For nurses and just about anyone in a work environment that leads to long hours on their feet can benefit from wearing compression socks. They help improve leg circulation and support the venous system and help prevent unsightly varicose veins. This allows nurses to work long shifts with less pain and discomfort. This solution is often prescribed by doctors and is great because it is all natural and very easy to follow. All you need to do is put on the socks when you wake up and take them off at night!

Doctors have used compression since the 1950’s to treat swelling, edema and promote healing. If you’ve ever been in the hospital and worn those tight white stockings - you’ve worn compression.

However, the compression in the products we recommend varies significantly from those white stockings. When you’re active and working for 10-12 long hour shifts there is a significant increase in pressure build up in your legs which can hinder circulation. For this reason you need a higher level of compression than the hospital stockings. If you go to any pharmacy you’ll see they carry different compression products in different compression levels. Most of these are not designed for individuals that stay on their feet for long hours but rather an older patient simply needing light support. As a working medical professional you need targeted graduated compression.

Compression Benefits

The benefits of using compression sock are numerous but for nurses in particular they are key in helping with:

  • Improve leg circulation
  • Dramatically reduce your risk of blood clots
  • Prevent varicose veins
  • Keep out swelling in joints
  • Reduce over-pronation when standing up for long periods
  • Fatigue
  • Calf Cramps​
  • Help increase joint stability

Compression socks benefits individuals that suffer from:

  • ​Edema (swelling)
  • Spider veins
  • Tired, achy or tender legs
  • Varicose veins

How does Compression Work?

Compression socks can help treat little things like leg discomfort to bigger issues like swelling in the legs. This is done by putting pressure on the legs to increasing the flow of blood to the area and reducing swelling. Compression socks can also help prevent blood clots in the legs and help prevent leg and foot injuries.

These types of socks not only come in different sizes and colours but also in various compression strengths, depending on the severity of the problem. The more pain or swelling that is happening, generally the higher the compression needed.

Nurses should wear their compression socks during their shift and take them off when they get home or before bed at night. Most compression socks are safe to wear on a daily basis as part of a long-term solution.

How do you put on Compression Socks?

Here's a quick and great video (little over a minute) on how to put on compression socks. Worth a watch!

Buying Guide To Choosing The Best Compression Socks

When buying compression socks as a nurse, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. For example, it might be possible that these socks are covered by your health insurance or prescription plan. Below are the characteristics of a good compression sock:

Thigh high compression stockings or knee length: Which is Best?

Compression socks come in various levels of compression, sizes, and colours. For them to be an effective treatment, nurses need to consider the different features of these socks and what will work best for their needs.

For ease and effectiveness knee length works the best since they are more comfortable, less expensive and just as effective as high compression stockings.

Another thing to keep in mind is that compression socks are not a one size fits all. It is recommended that you go to a specialized store that will measure your leg to make sure that you get the right fit. Compression socks should feel tight on your leg but not to the point where they are restricting or painful.

What is the best compression for a nurse?

The best nursing compression socks are the ones that are well fitted. A 20-30 mmHg or 30-40 mmHg are OK if you can tolerate and feel comfortable all day for individuals that have varicose veins or have a family history of vein problems.

If you have no varicosities or just small spider veins best to start with 15-20 mm. of compression.  As time progresses and if there are changes, you may want to go further and increase the compression to 20-30 mm. Compression stock are a good idea not only to slow down the progression (it won't prevent) of spider veins, but also so your legs won't be so tired after work. 

If you have larger calves you may want to start with a lower compression sock to get over your calf muscle without the tight band at the top. Some socks have a gradient compression, which may be more useful for medical conditions.

For others uniform compression is better. 

Seamless is better

​By their very nature, compression socks are very tight and seams can give cause to blisters. So it's probably best to avoid socks with seams since they can cause irritation.

Caring for Compression Socks

Nursing compression socks do not withstand washing machines and should instead be washed by hand in a mild detergent for example washing up liquid. Hang or lay flat to air-dry but don’t put them in the tumble dry or on a hot radiator since they will shrink.

Price Range

The benefits of wearing compression socks are without a doubt numerous. So how much do they cost? They’re not inexpensive; a pair can cost you anywhere from $15 to $60. We've researched the best pair of compression socks to suit any budget. Check our recommendations below. 

Nursing Compression Socks Reviews


Light Colored Sockwell Chevron Compression Socks for Nurses

#1 Sockwell 
Women’s Chevron Moderate (15-20mmHg)
Graduated Compression Socks

  • Features: 15-20 mmHG, three zones of compression for promoting circulation, reinforced heel and toe, light cushioned footbed
  • Accu-fit technology
  • Reduces swelling and fatigue
  • Moderate compression
  • Cushioned sole
  • 32% Merino Wool, 32% Stretch Nylon, 31% Bamboo Rayon, 5% Spandex

Review

Sockwell’s compression socks are ideal for people who stand for long periods of time and are safe to wear all day on a regular basis. These socks are made using a high performance material that controls odor, heat, and moisture so that the wearer’s legs and feet are comfortable all day. They also offer arch support and a Toe and Heel Box that helps keep the socks in place.

All the features of Sockwell’s compression socks makes them a great choice for nurses suffering from leg problems caused by their active work environment. These socks come in 13 different colours and two size options: S/M and M/L.

Feedback from customers on the performance of Sockwell compression socks is mostly positive. Nurses who work long shifts claim that these socks are great because they stay up and support their arches. Many satisfied users claim that these socks have a good level of compression that is not painful as opposed to other brands they have tried.

Nurses and other professionals love these compression socks due to the mix of the right amount of compression, ultra-light cushion sole and ergonomic anti-fatigue design it has. These are a top contender for the best compression socks for nurses and continue to receive great reviews.


4 Pairs of Compression Socks by Dr. Motion

#2 Dr. Motion
Therapeutic Graduated Compression
Women's Knee-hi Socks ( 8-15mm Hg) 4 Pairs

  • Fashionista approved
  • 4 Unique pairs with the hottest patterns and colors
  • Energize tired and aching legs while preventing swelling, blood clots and fatigue
  • Non-slip 

Review

Another great choice for nurses is Dr. Motion compression socks. Known for their fashionable style, these comfortable socks are designed for everyday wear to prevent fatigue and swelling.Dr. Motion socks are available in sizes 4-10 and comes in a pack of four pairs in some amazing patterns from classic stripes, polka dots and argyle patterns. 

These compression socks offer medium support, are comfortable for an all-day wear or long shifts and helps reduce swelling and pain in legs and feet. Socks are easy to put on and stay up better than other compression socks thanks to the support of an upper band. 

These socks are made to last while being both comfortable and effective. Dr. Motion compression socks will make a great addition to your nurse’s toolkit, especially if you are having problems with tired and aching legs and fee and want to prevent the onset or spread of spider veins and varicose veins.


Womens Compression Socks Vitalsox

#3 Vitalsox
Patented Graduated Compression VT1211 Running, Training, Race, and Recovery Socks with Odor Resistant

  • Infused with silver to protect against bacteria, fungus, and odours
  • Four-way stretch
  • Graduated compression
  • Made in Italy
  • Guaranteed quality

Review

Vitalsox compression socks are proudly made using the only patented compression technique that can help improved damaged tissues 40% faster. These compression socks are made for all types of physical activity, including nurses who stand and walk throughout most of their long shifts.

Vitalsox has been in the business since 1998, perfecting their compression socks to be as effective and comfortable as possible. Customers note that these compression socks are of high value, are easy to put on, and are comfortable. Plus, they are made using environmentally-friendly fibres too!

These socks are a little more affordable than other compression socks available on the market. They are also noted to be quite durable and able to maintain their compression over a decent period of time. An often commented benefit by nurses and athletes who wore them is they noticed that their legs feel great after wearing these socks all day.


Medical Compression Socks for Women from Nurse Mates

#4 Nurse Mates

  • Graduated compression (12-14mmHg)
  • Comfortable heel and toe pocket
  • Knee length
  • Made of ultra-soft microfibre

Review

Nurse Mates offers one-size fits all compression stockings in more than 30 different colors and stylish designs. Customers love the fit of these socks, sharing that they fit even on people with larger calves. They also provide a good level of compression that is effective but not uncomfortably tight.

Shift workers like nurses love Nurse Mates socks because they help relieve leg and foot discomfort after a long day on their feet. These socks are also effective in reducing swelling, soft, and don’t fall during the day.

The customer feedback is full of raving comments and many medical professionals are satisfied with these compression socks compared to others that they tried. No more swollen, uncomfortable feet for you again.


A-Swift Compression Socks for Nurses

#5 A-Swift for Women & Men

  • Graduated compression (20 - 30 mmHg) for better blood circulation
  • High-quality socks plus bonus eBook about Tennis
  • Antibacterial and temperature control fabric
  • Anti-odour
  • Approved for daily wear
  • Below knee high

Review

A-Swift socks are made for both women and men. They come in three different sizes with around 25 different styles to choose from! These compression socks come below the knee and have comfort padding that help prevent foot injuries and stress.

Nurses who work long shifts will find that A-Swift compression socks do a good job in helping relieve swelling and discomfort in the feet and legs. Most customers who have tried these socks are very happy with the quality and comfort.

A couple of negative reviews have shared that these socks may be tight for people with larger calves. While that might be the case, some factors like how you put on the compression socks can help solve this problem.

Since these were designed for use by athletes, they work particularly well for nurses as well, since they get the job done and do it the right way the first time around.

In Summary

For nurses who work long shifts with very little time to sit, coming home after a long day can be a relief. The only problem is that the pain that builds up in the legs and feet during these rough days does not end when a nurse gets home. The pain often continues and builds up, which can lead to even more discomfort and circulation issues.

Compression stockings are a great, natural solution to this problem. By wearing these special socks each day, nurses can relieve a lot of the swelling and discomfort that they suffer from on a day-to-day basis. There are many different types of compression socks available, depending on the level of compression needed and style preferences.

To get the right compression socks for you, it is best to know your leg measurements and carefully pick out the right size. For proper care, most compression socks should not be machine washed but rather washed by hand and allowed to air dry.

What brand and style of compression socks do you wear?

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