- Great support for your veins
- Prevention of varicose veins
- Easily accessible
- Low cost
- No surgery
If you suffer from any vein-related condition, are immobile after a surgery or simply travel on a long-haul flight, compression stockings can become a regular part of your wardrobe. Learn why they’re so important for your legs, how to choose the most suitable ones, and eventually you might be able to turn them from a temporary nuisance into a permanent fashion accessory!
So, what exactly are Compression Stockings?
Compression stockings are a special kind of elastic hosiery intended to compress your legs and support healthy blood circulation. The pressure on the legs and ankles compresses the surface veins so that more blood can return to the heart and less blood is allowed to pool in the feet and calves. Overall these elastic, not-so-sexy stockings will not only reduce swelling, heavy feeling and aching in your legs, but they can also help prevent serious conditions such as blood clot formation.
How do I know I have to wear Compression Stockings?
Compression Stockings are usually prescribed when blood circulation in the legs needs support due to vein-related issues. If your legs get heavy in the evening or you experience swelling or pain, it is absolutely necessary to see a medical specialist – phlebologist or vascular surgeon – to resolve what the underlying cause of these problems is. Then your doctor may decide whether Compression Stockings would be of great assistance to you. These are the most common conditions for which wearing Compression Stockings is recommended:
- Chronic venous insufficiency – this happens when the valves in your veins are damaged and for whatever reason can’t pump blood to the heart properly.
- Deep vein thrombosis – this is a serious condition that results in the formation of a blood clot in the veins which ultimately damages the vein valves and obstructs the blood circulation.
- Varicose veins – enlarged and twisted superficial veins whose valves were damaged or whose walls are weak, and thus the blood circulation is compromised.
- Spider veins – these are not as serious as varicose veins, but unfortunately with time can develop into varicose veins. Compression therapy can stop this process or at least slow it down significantly.
- Pregnancy – leg veins are always affected during pregnancy – and not in a good way. Whether it’s the uterus pressing on pelvic veins or hormones dilating the veins, compression therapy is a great support for your legs during those nine uncomfortable months.
- Economy class syndrome – this potentially very dangerous condition is related to relative inactivity of your legs on long-haul flights. Compression therapy can help you prevent very serious conditions such as blood clot formation and possible pulmonary embolism.
Are there different types of Compression Stockings?
The short answer is YES. There are many different types of Compression Stockings depending on the pressure of the stockings (from light pressure to very strong), various lengths (from knee-high to the top of the thigh), gradient stocking, and also numerous colors and materials.
So, how do I choose the right ones?
This is a tough question to answer. The only thing you can as a layperson truly correctly decide is the color. Whether you go blue or nude is your call and you are more than qualified to make that decision for yourself. Everything else should be discussed with your physician to get professional advice. The pressure of the stocking, as well as its length, will depend on your specific health condition. Keep in mind that choosing the wrong type could potentially do more damage than good! Even the material is important, depending on how sensitive your skin is and whether your superficial veins are too prominent so as to be compromised by certain materials.
What should I do next?
If you do experience any discomfort in your legs, they feel heavy or sore in the evenings or if you’re getting ready for a long flight, find a medical specialist – dermatologist, phlebologist or vascular surgeon, and discuss your issues. I would just call and schedule an appointment to ask any specific questions and get your answers. All these offices are state-of-the-art, the staff is very friendly to their patients, and they’re willing to help. Compression Stockings can become a part of your everyday life, so make sure you find the best ones for you to enjoy all the benefits!
Cost and Insurance
Cost of Compression Stockings varies according to a specific type, material and color. There are many retailers as well as internet stores that sell Compression Stockings and their prices differ. Once the stockings are prescribed by your doctor and there is an underlying condition for which Compression Stockings are needed, your insurance should cover them. It’s best if you simply check with your health insurance provider or prescription plan. Regardless, buying Compression Stockings is certainly not going to bankrupt you and since they can be washed repeatedly, you can use them for a decent amount of time.