When you have a vein condition, compression therapy is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Compression therapy is the use of compression socks or stockings to support veins and promote blood flow to your legs. Your doctor may prescribe compression therapy if you recently have undergone vein surgery or if you have varicose or spider veins. While you might associate compression stockings with Grandma, compression stockings now come in a variety of styles, designs, and colors, so wearing them doesn’t have to cramp your style. In this blog, we will go over all of the important information you need to know to take full advantage of the health benefits of compression therapy.
Who Benefits From Compression Therapy
Compression stockings are most commonly prescribed to people with leg conditions that cause blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). If you have DVT, wearing compression stockings may prevent your condition from escalating to post-thrombotic syndrome.
Additionally, compression stockings even have benefits for otherwise healthy individuals. Compression stockings are commonly used by runners or athletes of other kinds for injury prevention and higher endurance, as it will make your legs get tired less quickly. Additionally, compression stockings may be beneficial if you are on my feet most of the day, or if you are going to be sitting for a long period of time (i.e. on an international flight).
While compression stockings are generally safe to use without complication, there are some people who should not wear them. For example, people with peripheral neuropathy, peripheral artery disease, a skin infection, dermatitis, or pulmonary edema from congestive heart failure. Consult with your vein doctor to determine whether or not compression therapy is right for you.
What Compression Therapy Can Do For You
There are many ways compression therapy could be beneficial. Here are some benefits of wearing compression socks:
- They reduce soreness in the legs.
- They reduce leg swelling.
- They slow the progression of varicose veins.
- They prevent blood clots.
- They improve blood flow.
- They prevent blood or lymph from pooling in the legs.
How Compression Stockings Work
Compression stockings provide graduated compression on your legs, meaning that they are tight at the feet and become looser up the leg. Gravity is working against the blood in your legs as it tries to flow back to your heart, and if you have circulation problems, venous insufficiency (weak vein walls), or lead a sedentary lifestyle, you are predisposed to blood pooling in your legs, which may lead to blood clots. Compression stockings help your legs by squeezing the walls of the vein, promoting blood flow to the heart. Additionally, they help by improving the flow of lymph to the legs, which is the fluid that bathes cells in your legs. By improving the flow of lymph, compression stockings help reduce swelling in the legs.
Where to Get Compression Stockings
At our vein clinic, we offer a selection of compression stockings in our office, and we may be able to help you with any special sizing as well. Additionally, you can often find compression stockings at pharmacies, and you can also order them online. However, consult with your vein doctor before ordering to ensure you get a pair that offers you what you need. There are a variety of different types of compression stockings, and depending on your specific condition, you may need a certain height. Additionally, it is crucial that your stockings fit properly, so make sure to measure your ankle, calf, and thigh before investing in any compression stockings.
How to Use Compression Stockings
Compression stockings can have many benefits, but only if they are used properly. A recent study by the American Journal of Nursing found that 26 percent of people prescribed compression stockings get the wrong size, while 29 percent do not wear them correctly. This can actually cause more vein problems by exerting too much pressure on the skin, and will likely make the compression stockings too uncomfortable to wear. This is why it is so crucial to ensure you invest in a pair that actually fits.
It is best to make your compression stockings part of your daily routine. Keep them beside your bed so you can put them on first thing in the morning, when there will be the least swelling of your legs. While sitting in a chair with a back for best support, hold the top of the stocking with one hand while you reach inside the sock with your other hand and grab the toe. Pull the toe through the stocking, turning it inside out. Put your toes in the stocking toes, and gently roll it over your heel and up your leg. Be gentle as the stocking could rip at the top.
If you need guidance from a vein specialist to determine whether or not compression stockings are right for you, contact our vein clinic in Mentor, OH today. At the Center for Advanced Vein Care, we are about your health and want to ensure your veins are working to the best of their ability.