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Using compression socks for pain and swelling

Compression Socks for Pain and Swelling - Community Feedback!

Pain and swelling in our feet and ankles are common symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis, and finding relief is important. While the use of various treatments, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), glucocorticoid treatments, and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are often effective ways to reduce inflammation, there are additional interventions that may help.

Compression socks for RA pain

The use of compression socks not only can help reduce pain and swelling, but can also impact our ability to sense where our limbs are in space (also known as proprioception).1 The improved sensation and spacial awareness of our limbs can make it easier and safer to walk. So, we wanted to know more about your experience with compression socks. We asked our Facebook community the following questions, and we received some great feedback!

Does anyone use compression socks when their feet swell? Does it help with the pain? How else do you manage swelling?

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Here’s what you had to say!

Non foot-related compression objects for RA

I haven’t tried compression socks, but I have tried other compression gear

  • I haven't used compression socks yet but I highly recommend compression gloves for finger and hand swelling.
  • I have not used socks, but I highly recommend IMAK gloves! I purchase from ebay for under $20.
  • I wear compression gloves to protect my hands while doing chores. The socks are painful to put on.
  • I use copperwear compression sleeves on knees and elbows. They help.
  • When my wrists hurt, I wear the gloves. They relieve the pain for me.
  • I haven't used compression socks but I have used compression wrist splints & they always work well!
  • I wear the knee high diabetes socks, they have some support but not compression. I always feel better wearing them!

Advice for compression gear to fight RA

I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m thinking about it

  • My feet have hurt the most and it’s difficult to walk/stand for any period of time- think I will try the socks.
  • Compression socks are actually on my Christmas list! I've wondered the same. My right ankle is constantly swollen and has been for years.
  • I haven't tried the socks but am thinking about it because after sitting at a desk all day my feet and legs are so swollen.
  • I haven't tried them but my mum says to, and after reading comments I’m going to! Thanks!
  • I never used them might have to get some to try!

Compression socks may not work for some

Compression socks don’t work for me

  • I'm unable to wear anything form fitting. Only a wee bit of compression or tight-fitting gear causes extreme pain in both my feet and my hands.
  • They make mine worse, but everyone is different. It won't hurt to give them a try. Any relief is a good thing
  • They don't work for me, they make it worse.
  • I can't get those things on with my hands as weak and sore as they are!
  • I’d try them if I could get them on with my hands!!
  • No, I hate them actually.
  • The socks don't work for me.
  • It makes it worse. Then I get cramps in my feet. No thanks.

Compression socks aren't guaranteed RA pain relief

Yes, I use compression socks

  • I also bind with ace bandages. As ridiculous as this may sound, anti-itch cream relieves a lot of the burn I get from swelling.
  • Compression socks and compression gloves – I couldn't live without them.
  • Tommy Copper has been a life saver - have the socks gloves knee braces and shirts.
  • It is the only thing that helps, even more than meds. Pain in the hands to get on but worth it.
  • I wear marathon runners’ socks. The extra padding helps.
  • Yes, unless I'm in a really bad flare - then I don't have enough grip strength in my hands to pull them over my ankles and up my leg. The toeless kind pinches less.
  • My doctor prescribed them for me and they help immensely. I also use splinted hand braces, which help also.
  • Yes, they are very helpful. I also gloves to the inflammation down.
  • Yes I use Dr. Scholl's brand. They work wonders for swelling and pain.

Yes, I wear them, but not all of the time

  • I wear compression socks when my feet and ankles swell. It’s ok for 4-6 hours then they have to come off or they start hurting.
  • I use Mediven medical grade compression socks. They aren't foolproof but they certainly help to keep swelling down. I find if I wear them too long, however, they have the opposite effect.
  • I wore them on the 6-hour car trip for Thanksgiving. I always wear them flying.
  • The help especially when I travel. I've had 3 DVTs. So it is necessary.
  • I use compression socks for long car rides (over 1 1/2 hrs) and plane trips. They help a lot. I also wear them if I'm going to be walking a lot - like doing a couple hours of shopping.

I use other methods to control pain and swelling

  • I take very hot Epsom salt baths.
  • I use ice packs and KT tape.
  • I drink Nettle and Mate tea. I buy it from Holland and Barratt and drink more water.

What about you? Have you ever used compression socks or other compression gear to help with pain and swelling? Please share with us in the comments!

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