Compression Stockings… the Lowdown

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Curious about compression stockings and how they work? Well, we’ve compiled some of the most popular questions and have answers here… all in one place.

What are compression stockings?

Compression stockings are specialized long socks, which are worn from the foot to the knee/thigh. These specialized stockings have a gradient of pressure (tighter in the foot and gradually less tight at the knee). These stockings when worn properly reduce the swelling in the feet and also decrease the chance of blood clot formation in the legs.

How do compression stockings work?

Compression stockings are made of strong elastic material and fit tightly at the feet and gradually become less tight at the knee/thigh. The pressure in the stockings is graded and this allows for the stockings to constantly squeeze the leg muscles. This motion helps to drive blood back to the heart, reduce swelling in the feet and prevent blood clot formation.

What are compression stockings used to treat?

Compression stockings are an excellent and simple method of treating disorders such as chronic venous insufficiency, varicose veins, lymphedema, post phlebitic syndrome and prevention of blood clots in the leg. The stockings can be worn as either in-patient or out patient. The stockings do not eliminate the varicose veins but do help reduce the swelling, aching and heaviness feeling that individuals with varicose veins experience. It is also recommended that such stockings be worn during long plane rides to decrease the probability of blood clot formation in the legs.

How does one wear compression stockings?

The stockings should be worn first thing in the morning before one gets out of bed. Some practice is required to wear compression stockings. One may either turn the stockings inside out or apply a small amount of silicone lotion to assist in wearing the stockings. One may also place a rubber glove on the toes and then pass the stockings over them to wear the stockings. A good deal of pulling is required to get the stockings past the ankle. This gets easier when one is used to wearing the stockings.

Are there any complications associated with use of compression stockings?

There are no complications associated with compression stockings. However, they do take time to adjust to and the patient experience warm leg, especially in hot weather.

 

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