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Do Compression Socks Raise Blood Pressure?

Many people wear compression socks to improve circulation in their legs and feet, such as athletes and those with circulation problems. It makes sense to conclude that wearing compression socks could cause high blood pressure. 

However, studies show that the likelihood of compression socks elevating BP levels is extremely low—even for those who already have high blood pressure. The guide below breaks down what compression socks do and who might benefit from wearing them.

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What Compression Socks Do

Compression socks gently squeeze and compress your ankles and calves with graduated pressure. When compressed, the fluids in your veins and lymphatic vessels move faster through your system. 

This process has many benefits, including:

  • Improved circulation
  • Preventing fluid retention
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Supporting muscles and tendons 

Athletes, service industry workers, and nurses frequently wear compression socks to encourage blood flow and prevent sore muscles. People with vein-related disorders or who often fly on airplanes may also wear them to prevent swelling. 

Can Compression Socks Increase Blood Pressure?

The simple answer to this question is no; compression socks do not raise blood pressure. 

Studies show that there’s no significant increase in BP while wearing compression socks. However, they aid circulation by increasing blood flow to the legs, so they can be beneficial for those with chronically low blood pressure.

Note: While you don’t need a prescription to try compression socks, it’s always best to consult your physician when wearing them for medical purposes. Your doctor can help you choose the right amount of pressure and provide information about how often to wear them.

Hypertension

Hypertension occurs when a person’s blood pressure measures around 140/90. Healthy BP levels typically fall near 120/80. In most cases, compression socks won’t increase these numbers. They may even help if poor circulation is one of the hypertension symptoms you experience.

However, if your hypertension causes a circulation disorder called peripheral vascular disease (PVD), you should avoid wearing compression socks. This condition causes buildup inside of the blood vessels in your limbs. The pressure from compression socks can make PVD worse.

Hypotension

Hypotension is a condition causing sudden, dangerously low blood pressure. It’s caused by poor circulation in the body. Symptoms include dizziness, fainting, nausea, and confusion. 

In this case, compression socks can be an affordable and effective treatment for hypotension. Since they improve circulation, wearing them may help move fluids more efficiently throughout the body. 

Other Benefits of Wearing Compression Socks

Though those with hypertension may want to avoid wearing compression socks, they offer various benefits for those with other conditions. Anyone with circulation problems can safely try compression socks to help alleviate pain, numbness, and swelling. 

DVT

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a person develops blood clots in veins deep inside the legs. This condition can cause significant discomfort and, if left untreated, may result in an embolism. 

Compression socks can help prevent blood clots from forming by moving fluids faster through your circulatory system. Doctors frequently recommend compression socks to those at risk for DVT, including pregnant people and those over the age of 60. 

Improved Circulation

The most significant benefit of wearing compression socks is improved circulation. As mentioned above, mild pressure on the legs encourages fluids to move faster. This process can address numbness in your feet and toes or help cold feet feel consistently warmer.

Better circulation can also help you feel more energized and improve heart health. 

Summary of Compression Socks & Blood Pressure

While those with PVD should avoid wearing compression socks, most people can wear them safely and enjoy their benefits. They offer a simple solution for managing DVT, hypotension, and poor circulation. What's more, studies have shown that wearing compression socks won't increase blood pressure in any significant way.

They’re also an effective way to protect your legs and feet if you have a fast-paced job. Rather than ending your days sore and swollen, compression socks can help keep you comfortable all day. 


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