How Compression Socks Can Help You Be a Better Chef
Standing during your work shift can be quite daunting for your comfort. Every person who works as a chef, nurse, hairdresser or night guard knows how difficult it is to spend hours on their feet, enduring pain and swelling while still having to focus on your work.
Most people who spend a lot of time standing or walking know the way it affects their personal health. Being a chef is one of the most demanding and challenging jobs where sharp focus, precision, and speed are essential to one’s job security, so wearing appropriate footwear and taking occasional breaks can do wonders for personal well-being and job satisfaction.
Preparing delicious meals for hours and supervising the rest of the kitchen staff can be quite stressful, and when you add foot problems to the mix, things can definitely get more complicated.
Choosing the appropriate kitchen shoes is not always as easy as it seems, and great-fitting shoes worn with compression socks may save your feet and help you be more productive in your workplace. C
Compression socks are easy to wash, pleasant to wear, and very helpful in the long run.
So, what are compression socks exactly?
Compression socks differ from regular socks, mainly in that they are based on features that allow for graduated compression and temperature control, which are essential if you’re standing for many hours in a hot kitchen.
When standing for long periods, gravity affects your blood flow and circulation. Since your heart pumps blood to your arteries and your veins return the fresh blood, when you stand, veins have to work extra hard to get your blood from your feet to your heart to get some fresh oxygen. This, in turn, causes swollen, achy, and tired feet.
Compression socks help the blood return up the leg, reducing pressure on the veins. So, if you work as a chef, or in any type of job that requires you to stand a lot, don’t hesitate to get yourself a pair.
A lot of people believe that compression socks are worn by the elderly, but the truth is, many different people with various needs and health issues wear them all the time.
For ex. compression socks are popular among athletes, runners especially, according to Rockay, a premium apparel brand.
Finding the right type of compression socks
Working in a kitchen means you have to spend time in very hot temperatures for long periods, so before you decide to purchase yourself a pair, always make sure that they’re made of moisture-wicking fabrics that can help you cool down when things in the kitchen get a bit hectic.
Microfiber, cotton, and merino wool are all excellent options, and if you want to avoid smelly feet, then you should opt for socks that have cotton or silver woven into the fabric because these metals are known to kill bacteria and prevent odor on your feet.
In order to find the right pair of socks for you, it’s first important to know about the types of socks that exist out there. The best-known types of compression socks are:
- Graduated compression socks whose compression level is strongest at the ankle and then slowly decreases towards the top. They’re made for mobility and often require professional fitting.
- Anti-embolism stockings can be beneficial for those who want to prevent deep vein thrombosis and, similar to graduated compression socks, they also provide gradient compression, although the level of compression might differ.
- Non-medical support hosiery don’t require a prescription and they include an elastic support hose and socks that are often used as a relief for tired and aching legs.
The type of garment chosen is based on where the symptoms are present, says Jonathan Levison, MD at the Cardiovascular Care Group. Although both open and close toe variety of garments exist, I have a bias to only using closed toe, as I do not like the effect of swelling in the toes that may occur as a result of wearing an open toe garment.
So before you decide to purchase a pair or two, do your research, and most importantly, make sure to consult your physician so you can be sure that you’re getting the right type of compression socks, suitable for your needs.
Precautions and safety measures
If you are already experiencing significant swelling in your legs, then it’s best to get yourself checked by a doctor.
There are a multitude of reasons that a patient may develop leg swelling tells us Jonathan Levison, MD. It can be symptom for deep vein thrombosis, venous insufficiency, varicose veins, congestive heart failure, hormonal imbalance and other serious conditions. Some of these should be identified prior to applying compression.
There are also a couple of relative contraindications to wearing compression: a history of significant peripheral arterial disease in the lower extremities and open ulcerations involving the lower extremities, according to Jonathan Levison.
Even if you chose socks not prescribed by a doctor, it’s essential to check your skin for any changes, at least during the first few weeks. The most common issues are redness and irritation. Sometimes that can be a one-off thing, but if it occurs persistently, then it might mean that:
- You’re not putting or taking off your socks the right way
- You have an infection
- Your stockings don’t fit properly
- You are allergic to certain materials used in the stockings
To prevent all the above from happening, it’s best to get a prescription from a reputable medical professional who will be able to give you the right directions and answer any questions you might have.
According to this case report from 2014, socks that are worn inappropriately can cause health problems, such as skin chapping and other damage.
Compression socks are generally safe, but they need to be looked after since they’re not a regular type of sock. Always aim to wash them every day and treat them as a delicate type of underwear.
So, should I wear compression socks?
Compression socks can seriously improve your comfort, especially if you’re working at a job that requires you to move around on your feet throughout the day. Standing for too long can have negative consequences for your health, mainly leg pain, varicose veins, swelling, and back pain.
Therefore, before deciding to buy socks, make sure to talk to a professional who will help you get the right type of socks specifically for your needs.
Also, always read the instructions before putting them on and don’t forget to check whether they’re properly fitted. Even if wearing compression socks seems strange at first, keep in mind that they’re considered a legitimate health aid, which means they can relieve your symptoms and help you excel at your job without experiencing any discomfort.