Varicose Veins

How Do Compression Stockings Work for Varicose Veins?

“Varicose veins are the result of an improper selection of grandparents.” 

“Thanks to  varicose veins, no one can tell if I shaved my legs.

These are just a few of the funniest quotes about varicose veins. Well, aside from being unsightly, these bulging blue and purple strings of dead blood vessels found above the surface of the skin of the legs can also cause  aching and throbbing pain. These are the very reasons why people would do everything to get rid of them. 

Varicose veins treatments vary from expensive surgeries, sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation, to laser treatments. Over-the-counter creams, Ayurvedic remedies, and bandages are also popular temporary relief from varicose veins. So is there a non-invasive yet more practical approach for reducing varicose veins? The answer might be Compression Stockings.

So, what are compression stockings? Let’s dig deeper and learn more about what they are, how they work, and why you’ll want to have a pair.

1. What are Compression Stockings?

Compression stockings are flexible fabric tubes with elastic, rubber, or nylon mesh materials designed to offer graduated support for weak or damaged tissue by applying gentle pressure to the legs. 

2. How does wearing compression stockings help varicose veins?

Since varicose veins are caused by the increase of blood pressure in the veins, compression stockings gently squeezes the veins and arteries and help the blood flow back up from the legs. This means, compression stockings do a great job in helping reduce the swelling and blood pooling in your legs as it encourages the vein valves to function properly. Moreover, compression stockings can decrease leg pain, fatigue, night cramps, and heavy or aching legs. 

A carefully chosen compression stocking size that’s tight enough but not restrictive or uncomfortable can provide relief for those suffering from iliotibial band syndrome (pain along the side of the leg) and deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the legs). 

3. Do compression socks really work for varicose veins?

Studies showed that patients wearing compression stockings as a first line of treatment for varicose veins have less leg pain, swelling, heaviness and tension. 

Wearing compression stockings on a daily basis will not only give you relief from the symptoms of varicose veins but could also improve your overall health.

4. Do they work for everyone?

Despite being safe and a non-invasive solution to varicose veins, the effects in wearing compression stockings may vary from person to person depending on the severity of the condition. You may want to shy away from compression stockings if:

  • You are sensitive to rubber, nylon, or any elastic materials
  • If you have or suspected of peripheral arterial disease

Just like any other medication, consulting a doctor before using compression stockings is still best especially if you are suffering from any severe circulatory problems or other conditions that might worsen from wearing them.

5. Is wearing compression socks a long-term solution?

As Science advances, there’s no such thing as permanent.  And wearing compression stockings is definitely not be a permanent solution. This is especially true if your varicose veins are at their worst prior to wearing compression stockings. 

Compressions stockings are good in helping your blood circulate more efficiently for as long as you wear them. Furthermore, they can help alleviate the symptoms of varicose veins rather than directly treat them. Doctors may recommend the proper wearing of compression stockings together with lifestyle changes and other non-invasive solution to improve symptoms. They may also recommend wearing  compression stockings after you undergo invasive solutions to prevent the reoccurrence of varicose veins. 

6. What are the Risks?

It is proven that wearing compression stockings is safe and don’t have any harmful long-term effects. However, you might experience a few mild side effects, especially if you’re a first-time user:

  • Leg cramps (because it is a new sensation for your lower limbs)
  • Itchy skin due to a poor fit and mild allergic reaction to materials
  • Soreness or tingling sensations in the legs due to wrong size compression stockings

But of course, there’s no doubt  you’ll get used to wearing compression stockings with time. To avoid risks, make sure you follow all directions regarding proper fit.

7. How to Choose the Perfect Compression Socks

To get the best results, choosing the correct size compression stockings is extremely important. Here are our recommendations:

  • Don't choose your compressions stocking size based on your shoe size because it is not an accurate calf circumference measurement.
  • Your height offers a good starting point, but additional measurements will ensure a better fit.
  • Measure around the center of your calf to find your ideal circumference size. Ensure that you choose a compression sock that offers graduated compression, which will be indicated by 20-30 mmHg at the ankle and 15-20 mmHg at the top of the calf

You will notice comfort within a few minutes of putting them on, but you might not feel any pain relief until after wearing  compression stockings for about four hours. So do keep that in mind when allocating wearing times.

8. Takeaway

Using compression stockings for varicose veins is a great way to help relieve symptoms associated with varicose veins. Making sure to use a quality pair that offers the right pressure and fits snuggly without digging into your skin and will definitely give you the comfort and relief that you needed.

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