Compression Stockings


One of the easiest and most cost effective ways of treating venous insufficiency (varicose veins) is through the use of compression stockings. In fact, compression therapy is one of the mainstays in treating venous insufficiency in all of its forms. Compression stockings work by compressing the superficial veins, and pushing more blood into the deep venous system, ultimately decreasing venous pressures in the leg, and decreasing leg swelling. For some patients, symptoms of venous insufficiency go away completely with compression stockings, and no procedures are needed. Even if medical procedures (varicose vein removal surgery andradiofrequency ablation) are performed in order to eliminate varicose veins, compression therapy is often used prior to the procedure, and for a few weeks afterwards.

To fit correctly, the calf and ankle measurements must be taken, and the correct size of compression stockings must be ordered. Furthermore, the amount of compression needed to improve symptoms in patients with venous insufficiency is usually higher than what's available in the drugstores, and requires a prescription. The stocking fitters will also be able to provide aids to help you wear stockings, and give you instructions for use. Usually stockings should be worn during the day and should be removed at night. Most patients find that compression therapy makes their legs feel much better!

  • When you should wear compression stockings?: You should wear the compression stockings during the day. You should put them on in the morning and take them off before bed. Compression stockings do not need to be worn at night. If only one leg hurts or is affected, then you only need to wear the compression stocking on that leg.
  • What strength should you get?: Generally, compression stockings are prescribed in two strengths. The weaker strength, 20-30 mmHg, is usually for people with mild spider veins or varicose veins. This strength is also used for people who have difficulty putting on the compression stockings. The tighter compression stockings, 30-40 mmHg, is the optimal strength for most people with documented venous insufficiency, especially if they have skin changes or ulcers.
  • What length should you get?: Even if you have varicose veins as high as your thigh, knee high stockings will help a lot more than you would think. Most people are more comfortable wearing knee high compression stockings as opposed to thigh high. However, the most important thing is that you wear the stockings regularly.
  • How should you apply stockings?: Many medical supply stores supply rubber gloves, which will help you put on the stockings. There are also other application devices which help. Without these aids, putting on stockings can be quite time consuming. Ask the store about this, and have them give you a demonstration about how to put on stockings. Making it easier to put the stockings on will increase your chance of wearing them regularly.
  • What is the cost?: Compression stockings can range from 65 to 120 Dollars for a pair from a medical store or medical supplier. Sigvaris and Jobst are the industry standard best but most other brands are fine as well.

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