How Compression Stockings Help Varicose Veins and Ulcer Patients?

May 9, 2022

Varicose veins and foot ulcers are arduous yet common afflictions that may affect anyone anytime. Varicose veins are normally caused due to a condition known as venous insufficiency wherein it becomes difficult for the veins to carry blood back to the heart, which causes swelling and pain. Particularly affecting those who have suffered an injury, varicose veins make day to day life difficult and painful if left untreated.

In addition to the medication and treatment plan prescribed by your doctor, the use of compression stockings is a verified at-home remedy that can help you to a large extent. In this article, we will take a look at how compression stockings help alleviate varicose veins and how they should be properly used.

Why Should you Use Compression Stockings?

Compression stockings are specifically designed to address the issues relating to varicose veins and to alleviate any pain or discomfort that may come up. In addition to promoting blood circulation in the feet and legs, compression stockings also help prevent many health conditions such as chronic venous insufficiency, spider veins, and of course, varicose veins. 

The compression stockings are designed in such a way that the gradation of compression is higher at the feet and comparatively lower as we go up. This causes a pump effect in the veins, both superficial and deep, and thereby helps in minimizing swelling and stimulating circulation.

How to Use the Stockings?

The best time to use compression stockings would be in the morning right after you wake up. It is important to put on the stockings before you lower your feet off the bed as this would help keep the vein valves in the right position, thereby stimulating blood flow. 

The vein valves tend to function more efficiently when lying down; when you sit or stand, the blood flow is compromised and hence you feel swelling and pain as the day progresses. So it is vital that you start off the day with the compression stockings in place so as to alleviate heavy or aching legs, swollen ankles, restless legs, night cramps, fatigue, and pain.

How to Choose the Right Compression Level?

How to choose right compression stockings level

Depending on the severity of your condition, you may select the level of compression suitable for you. Always seek medical counsel before deciding on the right level of compression to treat your varicose vein condition. 

Compression is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The gradient of compression decreases from ankle to calf with the highest degree of compression at the foot of the leg.

Generally, there are three levels of compression which are normally prescribed:

  • Mild compression - for when you suffer from a mild condition of chronic venous insufficiency. These stockings stimulate blood flow so that your legs do not feel heavy or achy.
  • Moderate compression - for those afflicted by spider veins or varicose veins. These stockings are more effective than mild compression stockings
  • Firm and extra-firm stockings - for serious cases of varicose veins including deep vein thrombosis, leg ulcers, lymphatic edema, etc.

How to Choose the Right Size?

Finding the right size of compression stockings depends on the length you deserve them to be. For the correct fit, take a measurement of your legs right when you wake up in the morning when the varicose condition has not yet been activated.

For socks of knee-high length - measure the lowest part of the ankles and widest part of the calves. You should also take a measurement of the length between your knee and the floor in a sitting-up position.

For socks that are thigh-high in length - take measurements as required for knee-high-length socks. Proceed to take measurements of your thighs up until your buttocks. And finally, take a measurement of the length between the buttocks and the floor.

As prescribed by your doctor, you may use the stockings best suited for your needs.

How to Take Care of Compression Stockings?

You can ensure your compression stockings last longer by taking good care of them during and after use. Extending the durability and life of the stockings can help you use them with their benefits and strengths intact for a longer period of time. 

Always wash your compression stockings in cold or mild temperature water. Do not put them in the washing machine, it is better to wash them by hand. There is no requirement to use a fabric softener, soap or mild detergent is sufficient. Hang your socks out to dry naturally instead of putting them in the dryer.

Small steps like these help maintain the elasticity and durability of compression stockings for a long time.

To conclude, it is important to note that the usage of compression stockings is not to prevent or cure varicose veins, rather it helps alleviate the pain and discomfort caused therein to a large extent. Therefore, it is vital that you use compression stockings only on the advice and recommendation of your doctor. 

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