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compression therapyOur bodies are well-built machines. We often take for granted how easily they function. Until we experience some pain or discomfort. And when your feet or legs ache, it can be unbearable. You’re no longer able to do the things you did before.

Your blood circulation plays a crucial role in your overall health. Did you know that compression therapy can help improve your blood flow and help reduce pain and discomfort in your legs and feet? It’s a key part of our custom orthotics services in Ottawa.

What is compression therapy?

Compression therapy is a type of treatment for circulation problems. It involves using specialized socks, stockings, boots, or bandages to apply gentle pressure to the leg. Medical professionals will often recommend compression therapy to prevent problems from getting worse.

Your body will experience circulation problems if blood vessels and arteries narrow. Compression therapy garments apply pressure to affected areas, which reduces the pressure on the veins. This results in better blood flow to the heart. You’ll also be improving your body’s ability to remove waste and swelling.

The therapy works because it applies the right amount of pressure for the specific condition, and it is used consistently. You can find different grades of compression socks or stockings. It depends on the type of material they are made from, how it is applied, and the amount of movement. Compression therapy includes over-the-counter items and physician-prescribed items.

10 benefits of compression therapy

Medical professionals have used compression therapy to treat a number of ailments. They’ve found it holds several benefits, including:

1. Enhanced blood flow

Gravity can be a challenge for blood heading back to your heart. When you are standing or even sitting, it takes more effort to push blood through the veins towards your chest. Applying gentle pressure, like with compression therapy, helps your blood flow better.

2. Treatment of varicose veins

To move blood back to your heart your veins have valves that only permit flow in a single direction. Unfortunately, these valves can wear out. Blood is then left to collect in the veins, which causes varicose veins. These can lead to an achy feeling in your legs. Using compression therapy can alleviate the ache. It will also reduce the swelling.

3. Decrease swelling

Wearing compression socks can decrease the swelling in your legs. The pressure prevents fluid from leaking out of your blood vessels, which collects in your feet. You may notice this swelling after long periods of sitting or standing. For example, if your job requires you to be on your feet for a long time. While compression therapy can be used to prevent swelling, it can also be helpful if you’re suffering from swelling in your legs. Gentle pressure can help your body absorb the extra fluid that causes swelling.

4. Reduce risk of blood clots

Patients who are at risk for blood clots or deep vein thrombosis can benefit from compression therapy. If you are not able to move around as usual, you are at a higher risk of developing these conditions. For example, if you’ve just had surgery and are required to rest at home or in the hospital. Wearing compression socks can reduce your risk. They are also advisable for travellers going long distances and sitting for extended periods of time.

5. Help heal leg ulcers

Some patients suffer from ulcers or open sores on the legs. It can be caused by diabetes or other conditions, such as varicose veins, kidney failure, heart disease, or poor blood circulation. Compression bandages or stockings can aid the healing process. Items like compression socks or stockings can reduce the symptoms that patients experience, including swelling and pain. They can also help avoid recurrence.

6. Enhanced athletic capability

Some athletes use compression therapy to enhance their performance. Compression garments can also be used to speed along healing. Some athletes will also use compression items to treat muscle soreness. Compression therapy may also improve range of motion, leading to better sports performance.  It has also become a tool for everyday individuals looking to get better results from their workouts.

7. Improve comfort during pregnancy

Many women suffer from back pain, poor posture, and poor circulation during pregnancy. This usually happens in the later months as the body carries more weight. Compression garments can help ease the discomfort for these patients, such as improved blood flow and posture. It can also relieve any swelling that you may experience in your lower limbs due to pregnancy.

8. Ease cancer recovery

Patients who undergo cancer-related surgeries involving the lymph nodes can benefit from compression therapy. These individuals can find relief from lymphedema, which is when the body is not able to drain the lymphatic fluid from the affected area. Compression garments can be used to apply some pressure to help drain the fluid and help the patient recover from the operation.

9. Relieve dizziness

Patients with orthostatic hypotension condition experience a drop in blood pressure when they stand up. This can cause dizziness or even nausea. Using compression stockings can help alleviate your symptoms. Because orthostatic hypotension is caused by blood pooling in the legs, adding compression therapy to your treatment plan can help you feel better and improve your blood circulation.

10. Reduce cellulite

While researchers are still working out what causes cellulite, some believe that blood circulation has a vital role. Wearing compression garments can help reduce the appearance of cellulite and even prevent it.

Compression therapy offers several benefits for those with circulation issues. It can help you reduce discomfort in your legs and feet and improve your blood flow. You don’t need to wait until you experience aches and pains before you start compression therapy.

At Healthy Step Orthopedic, we carry a wide range of compression stockings and socks to help you feel your best and look your best.