Leg Compression Therapy: What It Is and How It Can Help

compression socks

Here at Defy Sports Performance & Physiotherapy, we want to be up to date on anything that can empower our clients to perform at their highest level. There seems to be new products and influencers constantly circulating social media with bold statements about the best exercise or recovery tool. They make claims about products that are supposed to help with pain, circulation, mobility and other possible benefits. We want to use this series of blogs to break down these claims about products, and determine how they may, or may not help you. In this blog we will look into leg compression therapy.

What is leg compression therapy?

There are two primary forms of leg compression therapy. The first form is compression socks or stockings. They are worn the same way normal socks are with the added benefit of compression. The second form of compression is compression boots. Unlike compression socks, leg compression boots look more like pants and cover your legs from your toes to your mid/upper thigh. 

The concept behind both forms of leg compression therapy is to help promote blood flow. Blood is more susceptible to pool in your lower body because blood has to fight against gravity in order to be moved up through the body towards the heart. Leg compression is helpful because it provides an added boost to your veins by helping to decrease pooling, decrease swelling and also promotes blood flow. 

Compression socks vs. boots?

Compression socks use pressure measured in mmHg to create compression that is gradually graded. It is less compressive as it moves from the feet towards the knee or thigh. They provide constant compression that is non-adjustable. The amount of compression needed is based on your requirements.  To gain the benefits of these socks, they should be worn everyday, throughout the day.

Compression boots use pneumatic compression that can inflate and deflate throughout the entire boot for targeted compression, and also have the ability to increase or decrease the amount of compression based on need. Treatment lasts approximately 10-30 minutes, so the benefits received from the boots are brought on much quicker than with the compression socks. Although compression boots offer many benefits, compression boots are an expensive alternative to compression socks. 

Why use compression therapy?

The biggest benefit from using compression therapy is to improve circulation and blood flow in the lower limbs; however, the reason for needing improved circulation and blood flow can vary from person to person. Individuals that deal with varicose veins, lower leg swelling and stand or sit for prolonged periods of time can all benefit from compression therapy by reducing swelling and cramping in the lower legs. 

Compression therapy is great for athletes, runners, and individuals that exercise regularly when muscles become damaged, and waste builds up. Compression boots help speed up the healing process, help move out waste build up in the muscles, and promote better blood flow in the area. Also, compression therapy has been proven to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness and muscular fatigue after exercising.

These products are not recommended for everyone, and there are contraindications and precautions to using compression therapy. If you are unsure if compression therapy is right for you, or how to properly use it, please consult any healthcare professional here at Defy.


  1. Is air compression good for legs? It helps with recovery after exercise, helps promoting blood flow back to the heart and decrease swelling when used in the right circumstances.
  2. When should you wear leg compression sleeves? There are many situations where they can be effective. We recommend wearing them during exercise and post exercise to help with blood flow and recovery.
  3. When should you not use compression therapy? While most people can use compression therapy, we recommend that if you have underlying health conditions to consult with your doctor before use. Arterial disease, untreated deep vein thrombosis and organ failure are contradictions to avoid using them with.


Contact us and we can arrange for a Free Consultation with one of our Physiotherapists to speak with you about your individual case.

Important Notes:

  • We are able to help individuals of all ages and at all activity levels (recreational to competitive). 
  • We offer direct billing to most major insurance companies for the convenience of our clients.
  • We have appointments as early as 7am and as late as 7:30pm to accommodate busy lifestyles.

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