Compression stockings are a medical garment worn to improve circulation in the lower extremities. The stocking fit snugly around the foot and ankle, gradually loosening as the stockings move up the leg. This graduate compression encourages healthy blood flow back to the heart. If you think of it as a tube of gel – when you squeeze the tube from the bottom, the gel comes out the top. The more you push the bottom of the tube, the more gel is expelled from the top.
Compression stockings were developed initially for those individuals who suffered from venous disease. The inventor noted that his own leg symptoms improved when he was standing in the deep end of a swimming pool. He determined that the water pressure at the bottom of the pool was higher, helping to push blood and fluid toward the middle of his body.
Use of Compression Stockings
Patients at Minnesota Vein Center wear compression stockings after procedures, to promote healthy blood flow and the healing process. Compression stockings can also be used to reduce symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and chronic vein disease.
Compression stockings also help to prevent the formation of blood clots in patients at high risk for that condition. This might include patients with chronic vascular disease like DVT and those who have recently undergone surgical procedures. In some cases, compression stockings might be combined with medication to reduce, further, the risk.
Choosing Compression Stockings
Compression stocking strength is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). To be considered medical grade, the pressure must measure at least 20mmHg. Doctors typically use compression stockings for their patients in the 20-30mmHg or 30-40mmHg ranges. The strength of the stocking is based on the severity of the patient’s condition and the perceived risk of complications.
Many patients in the past failed to wear their compression stockings as directed, which greatly impeded their potential benefit. In many cases, noncompliance was the result of stockings that were too hot, uncomfortable and unattractive. Today, compression stockings have evolved into a lightweight material that may resemble dress hosiery and now high ‘tech’ materials are used in various knee high stockings including athletic compression sleeves.
With greater comfort and a wide variety of colors and styles to choose from, patients are more willing to wear their compression stockings as prescribed and enjoy the full benefits of these garments.
If you suffer painful symptoms from venous disease, Minnesota Vein Center in North Oaks can help. Contact our office today to learn more about what compression stockings can do for you. For our athletes, we now offer an athletic compression performance sleeve, to help with exercise micro-trauma and exercise recovery. Call for more information.