Compression therapy is frequently the first and most conservative step in the management of varicose veins. In fact, insurers often require that patients undergo conservative compression therapy prior to becoming eligible for reimbursement for the VenaCure EVLT™ system or other more aggressive varicose vein treatments. Compression stockings are also often used following those same treatments to promote healing by lessening pain, swelling and bruising.
It is important to recognize that compression stockings can alleviate some symptoms of varicose veins but they cannot treat their underlying cause, failed valves (also called venous reflux). Even with faithful use of compression stockings, the disease may progress to the point that more advanced treatment is necessary.
Gradient compression stockings and hosiery provided pressure that is strongest around the foot and ankle and looser as it moves up the leg. The steady pressure provided by compression stockings assists the leg muscles and veins in moving blood more efficiently and quickly up the leg to the heart. They also prevent the superficial veins directly beneath the stockings from over expanding with pooled blood. For best results, compression stocking should be worn throughout the day.
Compression stockings and hosiery are available in varying degrees of compression that are expressed in units called “mmHg”, or millimeters of mercury. The range is from 10 mmHg to over 50 mmHg. Compression stockings at the lower end of the scale are used for milder cases of vein disease and can be purchased over the counter. Higher compression stockings require a prescription from your physician.
Compression stockings and hosiery come in a variety of types and brands and in styles and colors to suit both women and men. They are readily available online as well as at most pharmacies and medical supply stores.
The main potential complication linked to graduated compression stockings is that a poor fit may obstruct venous or arterial blood flow. When trying on compression stockings, choose a comfortably supportive fit over one that’s overly tight.