Compression stockings or socks are a completely non-invasive way to improve blood flow in your legs. The doctors at University Vascular may prescribe them as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. They gently, gradually squeeze your legs, moving the blood back up your legs toward the heart. This helps prevent leg swelling and, to a lesser extent, blood clots. They help the calf muscles perform their pumping action more efficiently, thus increasing venous blood return to the heart. They are commonly prescribed to patients with varicose veins or leg swelling.
Sometimes referred to as compression hose; pressure stockings; TED hose; support stockings; gradient stockings. Gradient compression stockings have a higher compression level at the ankle which gradually decreases toward the top. There are many reasons compression stockings are prescribed. They help with aching and heaviness in the legs, reduce leg swelling and may prevent blood clots especially after surgery or during periods of extended inactivity like long plane trips.
Compression hose come in different styles, lengths, pressures from light to strong, even graduated. If our expert surgeons believe compression stockings will be beneficial to your treatment he will write a prescription for you. They may be covered under the durable medical equipment benefit of your health insurance.
Fit is extremely important for compression stockings to work properly and to not cut off your circulation. Knee length stockings should stop at least two inches below the knee. It is a good idea to be measured for these stockings so you get a good fit. Careful measurement is key to getting the best fit. Before you purchase your stockings, measure carefully. Using a cloth tape measure, measure your legs to ensure you get the right size and fit according to the size chart found on the stocking package. Compression stockings should be strong, but not necessarily tight.
If compression stockings are prescribed, wear them all day. Your compression stockings should feel strong around your legs. You should feel the most pressure around your ankles and less pressure higher up on your legs. Put them on first thing in the morning while your legs have the least amount of swelling. They can be challenging to put on, but well worth the effort. Hint: Don’t put lotion on your legs before putting on your compression stockings. Try a bit of baby powder or cornstarch on your legs to help them roll up more easily. Once on, check for bunching or wrinkling.
Low-pressure compression stockings are available without a prescription. They are sold at pharmacies and medical supply stores. Higher pressure and gradient stockings usually require a prescription from your doctor after he completes your evaluation. It is very important that compression stocking fit well for them to be effective.
In recent years, compression stockings have become popular with athletes. Research has shown they enhance muscle performance by accelerating lactic acid removal and stabilizing the leg muscles. They are now available in many sizes and colors.