Which leg compression machine is best?
Gravity is not always our friend. It constantly pulls at the blood flowing through our veins and is especially felt in our lower legs as we age, or as we battle certain illnesses or recover from surgery. Pain and swelling can arise as veins become permanently enlarged to help with circulation.
Leg compression machines use air pressure to improve the blood supply to major blood vessels in the lower legs and drain lymphatic fluid to nearby lymph nodes. They are recommended medically and are now available for in-home use, too, for many purposes. For pain relief and reduced swelling, the recommended leg compression machine is the Fit King Leg Air Massager.
What to know before you buy a leg compression machine
There are three types of blood vessels that carry blood and nutrients to our cells and organs.
- Arteries carry blood away from the heart to the body tissues.
- Veins transport blood back to the heart after its oxygen has been used up.
- Capillaries are very small blood vessels that connect arteries and veins so nutrients can reach the body’s tissues.
Leg compression machines primarily increase blood flow through the veins.
Reasons to use
There are many reasons for using a leg compression machine. They may be used after surgery to prevent blood clots and aid recovery. Some medical conditions such as varicose veins or lymphedema also benefit from increased venous circulation.
Some use leg compression machines to help with recovery following intense physical labor or exercise. How often and how intensely you use the machine will be based on your intended outcome. Review the product instructions and seek the advice of your health care professional for further guidance.
Leg compression machines look like high-tech inflatable boots with handheld control. Each machine has a different array of features and options that affects the overall cost and how applicable it is to your situation.
What to look for in a quality leg compression machine
Some leg compression machines offer automatic shut-off, usually after 20 minutes of operation. This is an important safety feature for anyone who might fall asleep while the machine is running. If your machine doesn’t have an automatic shut-off, you might want to set a kitchen timer when using the leg compression machine.
While most leg compression machines have a pair of leg wraps, they don’t always fit all leg sizes, especially fo taller people. That is why some machines come with leg extensions that let the air compression wrap be elongated to fit longer legs. If you’re taller than average, look for machines that include these extensions.
Multiple modes and intensities
Having a variety of massage and therapy options is important, depending on your pain level and overall therapeutic goals. Sometimes a deeper massage is needed, while other times, a light, relaxing massage can get your circulation going. Some leg compression machines come with as many as 20 options. Most have at least two or three modes and intensities.
How much you can expect to spend on a leg compression machine
They start at $50 for basic recovery machines with minimal modes and intensities. Most cost $60-$100 and have plenty of features for the at-home user, while commercial machines used for medical purposes can cost over $1,000.
Leg compression machine FAQ
What causes pain in the legs due to poor blood flow?
A. According to the Mayo Clinic, too little blood flow to the muscles causes pain when a person uses their muscles, such as in walking. The pain typically goes away with rest but can continue hurting at rest if the condition worsens. This is medically known as claudication and is often associated with peripheral artery disease.
Who shouldn’t use a leg compression machine?
A. Pregnant women should consult their doctor before using a leg compression machine. Anyone with a pacemaker or other medical device that could encounter electrical interference should also consult their health professional. If you have varicose veins, conditions caused by claudication, or a history of blood clots, seek medical counsel before using a leg compression machine.
What’s the best leg compression machine to buy?
Top leg compression machine
What you need to know: Full of features, massage modes and adjustable leg wraps, this massager is excellent for reducing swelling and lessening pain.
What you’ll love: The handheld control runs two massage modes and three intensities with 10 massage techniques. There is a 20-minute shut-off function for safety. Airbags reach from foot to calf, and the leg wraps come with two extensions.
What you should consider: You will need to be careful in applying the large Velcro wraps since they can easily get caught on fabric.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top leg compression machine for the money
What you need to know: This affordable, versatile set of leg massagers can be used on the legs, feet and even arms.
What you’ll love: They’re durable and made with high-quality materials. They have two massage modes and three intensities. Adjustable wraps fit small and large legs and arms. The set comes with a handheld controller and carrying bag.
What you should consider: Some users reported that the set was a bit noisier than expected, with a low, droning sound.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This massager is made from high-quality materials and includes a heating function for extra comfort.
What you’ll love: The messager offers three massage modes and three intensities for a variety of applications. It has two heating levels for added promotion of circulation. The inner part of the leg wrap is removable and washable.
What you should consider: Some reviewers reported that the controller cord was too short.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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