Most professionals today are expected to sit or stand in one position for long periods, which can result in tired, achy and swollen legs, or more serious issues, including edema or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Usually people think of compression support stockings remedying painful illnesses, but professionals are starting to wear compression socks to relieve general leg fatigue and soreness, and for preventative leg health.

What Are Compression Socks?

Compression support stockings are specially-designed hosiery or socks made with extra strong elastic fibers. The fibers get the blood pumping by squeezing around the ankle, which gets your muscles and veins to return unoxygenated blood to the heart. Compression support stockings apply graduated compression, which means compression is fully applied at the ankle and decreases farther up the leg.

Anybody required to sit or stand for long hours will benefit from wearing compression socks, especially:

1. Cooks and Chefs

A chef’s job is grueling; they spend their days in a bustling kitchen, mostly standing or walking on hard surfaces. After a full workday, the most comfortable shoes can’t help the aches and fatigue that develop. Over time, the veins weaken and have difficulty returning blood to the heart and lungs. Consequently, blood can pool in the lower leg, which increases fatigue and swelling. When chefs wear compression socks, it helps improve blood flow, relieve pressure on aggravated veins, prevent further vein damage, and alleviate pain.

2. Food Servers

Like chefs, servers are always on the go, carrying heavy trays. Tired, achy legs can be a huge problem, but compression support stockings can provide relief. Full-length compression support stockings apply graduated pressure from ankle to thigh, to keep the blood circulating, which alleviates the pain and fatigue of a long shift. Knee high compression socks are popular, too, because they prevent swollen ankles, match any uniform, and are more convenient.

3. Health Care Professionals

Nurses and other health care workers also spend long hours on their feet, and often experience leg swelling, fatigue or varicose veins. Compression socks can increase circulation and alleviate these problems. In a recent study, 31 nurses were given knee-high compression socks and instructed to keep a record of any leg swelling or other symptoms they experienced during their shift. About 84% of the nurses reported improvement in their symptoms after wearing compression socks, and 74% saw decreases in swelling.

4. Airline Attendants

Confined movement on an airplane also decreases leg circulation, increasing the risk of DVT, or blood clots that can potentially cause a pulmonary embolism. Compression support stockings can help both travelers and flight attendants who spend long hours in the air, reducing leg fatigue, pain and swelling. Sometimes it’s possible for flight attendants to get their insurance to pay for their compression support stockings.

5. Computer Programmers

Extended periods of sitting is just as bad for the legs as standing, which particularly increases risk of DVT. After sitting all day, many programmers and other computer users find their legs are as achy as if they had been standing. By wearing compression socks at work, programmers will improve their circulation so when they finally get up and walk around, their legs will feel energized and ready to go.