According to a study, roughly one-fifth to one-quarter of adults will experience varicose veins at a point in their lives. Within those high odds, a wide range of difficulties can emerge from the varicose veins. You may find that your problem is purely cosmetic in nature. At the other end of the spectrum, you may find a variety of issues that make daily life a trial to endure. Compression stockings can ease the symptoms of painful veins and prevent cosmetic issues from becoming painful.
What are Compression Stockings?
Compression stockings put pressure on your legs to assist your blood vessels, making them work better. Blood flows freely when the arteries carrying oxygen-rich blood can relax on their journeys to your muscles. The veins then get a boost in pushing blood back along the pathways to your heart. Because blood continually moves, it is less likely to pool within your veins, forming a clot.
The pressure of compression stockings can keep legs from growing achy and tired. These stockings can ease the swelling of ankles and feet as well as treating various vein conditions. They may even prevent you from getting a dizzy head rush when standing up.
Reasons to Use Compression Stockings
Because compression stockings provide pressure for your lower legs, they may be prescribed by your general practitioner if you have a condition causing your legs to receive poor blood flow. Lymphoedema, the swelling of your body’s tissues, varicose veins, enlarged and swollen veins, telangiectasia, the widened venules known as spider veins, and chronic venous insufficiency, when veins struggle to send blood back to the heart from the limbs, are all potential reasons to wear compression stockings.
What are Varicose Veins?
Also known as carivosities or varicoses, varicose veins refer to the enlargement, dilation, and overfilling with blood of your veins. They tend to appear raised and swollen, coloured red or bluish-purple. While these are sometimes merely a cosmetic worry, they are often quite painful.
The condition is extremely common, particularly in women. In most cases, these raised, distinct veins appear on the lower legs. Their lumpy, twisted, or bulging appearance is bad enough, but throw in the fact that they frequently hurt, and you will not want to leave varicose veins unaddressed. Compression stockings help to relieve this pain.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
In addition to the distinctive appearance of varicose veins, other symptoms include legs that are aching, heavy, and uncomfortable, legs that burn or throb, nightly occurrences of muscle cramps in the legs, swollen ankles and feet, and skin that is thin, itchy, and dry over the affected veins. Warm weather tends to exacerbate the symptoms. Standing upright for extended periods of time does as well. In this latter circumstance, the pain may improve with walking about or with rest and raised legs. In any circumstance, compression stockings can alleviate the pain.
Causes of Varicose Veins
You have a greater likelihood of developing varicose veins if you are female, older, have a close relative with the condition, are overweight, work in an environment that requires long stretches of time standing, or are pregnant. The internal cause of varicose veins is the cessation of the veins’ small valves’ proper working. These valves prevent blood from flowing backward; when they are damaged or weak, blood flows back and collects in the vein.
Treating Varicose Veins
Your general practitioner is likely to first recommend a combination of strategies for alleviating the pain and swelling of varicose veins. This begins with wearing compression stockings. It continues with taking regular exercise. Finally, when resting, you should elevate the affected area. If these techniques do not suffice to ease your pain, or the varicose veins cause complications, medical treatments are available. One is endothermal ablation, using heat to seal the affected veins. Another is sclerotherapy, which uses a special foam to close the veins. Finally, ligation and stripping involve surgically removing the affected veins.
Advantages of Compression Stockings
Prescription garments, compression stockings offer gradient pressure to the legs for the encouragement of healthy blood flow. They support blood flow and decrease the pressure within your veins. This aids in relieving symptoms of swelling and pain. Stockings fit firmly about the foot, gradually easing their compression as they extend up the leg. They create a better flow of blood in the vessels; these garments are designed to assist the veins of your lower legs in pushing blood back upward to your heart.
Compression stockings are not merely the first course of action in the fight against varicose veins and other such conditions. They are also essential after various procedures such as endovenous laser treatments and sclerotherapy. They may also be worn in hospital following various types of surgery to ensure proper blood flow and prevent clots from forming.
Choosing Compression Stockings
You should speak to your practitioner about the best compression socks to suit your needs. There are many different options. Some reach to the knee, others to the thigh. Some are open at the toe while others are closed. You need to be sure to find compression stockings that fit you properly and have the right amount of pressure.
Your doctor can advise you on which of the four main compression levels you should select. Mild compression, moderate compression, firm, and extra firm compression are these options. The first is for mild venous insufficiency, helping your legs to feel lighter. The second is more effective and typically recommended with the symptoms of varicose or spider veins. The final two are reserved for more serious venous diseases such as deep vein thrombosis and leg ulcers.
Wearing Compression Stockings
While compression stockings have many benefits, they can be difficult to get on. Try sitting in a piece of furniture that gives you plenty of space to move about freely. This might be at the edge of the bed or in a roomy, comfortable chair. A helper can be a valuable asset when putting on compression socks. If your skin is dry or moist, try a dusting of cornstarch or talcum powder. If you put lotion on the areas of your legs where the socks will go, rub it in until the skin is thoroughly dry. Then put the stocking over your toes and work it carefully up your leg.
When to Wear Compression Stockings
While this varies between patients, your general practitioner will typically advise that you wear your compression socks from the time you get up to the time you go to bed. Putting them on before you start moving around means that you will have less difficulty in doing so. Because circumstances may differ, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions on when to wear them.
Care for Compression Stockings
You should receive a spare stocking or pair of stockings if you use them on both legs. This is so that one set can be washed while you wear the other set. Hand wash them at a temperature that is warm, yet comfortable to the hands. Use a mild detergent or soap, but forego the use of a fabric softener. Do not use direct heat to dry them. Hang them, instead. Your stockings should be replaced and your legs measured again every three to six months.
Compression stockings may not always prevent the development or worsening of varicose veins. They do serve as an excellent means for supporting healthy blood flow and holding troublesome symptoms at bay. You should consult with your doctor before using compression stockings.
- Compression Stockings – NICE / NHS Guide
- Compression Stockings for Varicose Veins
- How to Keep Compression Stockings Up
- Preventative Effect of Compression Stockings During Pregnancy and Varicose Veins
- Pain Relief from Varicose Veins