Varicose Veins and Compression Therapy
"Varicose Veins Management & Treatment: Learn more about Treatment Methods and Compression Hose, Stockings & Socks"
Varicose Veins Overview: Because varicose veins occur just benefit the skin's surface, they are often visible to the eye. These veins may look red, purple or blue. They often bulge above the skin surface. Although varicose veins are visually distracting, in most cases, they are not dangerous. Varicose veins, however, can be a sign of valvular malfunction in the deeper more critical veins. Insufficient blood flow and an inefficient circulatory system can lead to more serious complications.
Faulty Valves inside Veins cause Varicosities
Inside veins there are valves. Valves are flaps that open and close to promote blood flow toward the heart. When valves are faulty, blood pools, causing varicose veins.
Vascular Disease and Compression Therapy
Vascular surgeons and primary care physicians often prescribe compression stockings, socks and hose to treat varicosities. Graduated compression hose are designed to balance the flow of fluid into and out of limbs to increase blood flow by placing the greatest amount of compression on the areas furthest from the heart. This pressure Promotes good circulation by directing blood flow towards the heart. Quite simply, the use of compression reduces fluid congestion and the back flow caused by venous disease.
Through the use of compression hose or cosmetic stockings, varicose veins can be managed and the progress of disease is slowed. Wear compression compression and socks is critical in the treatment of vascular disease and limb health.
Compression and Edema (swelling)
As discussed, the pressure of gradient compression acts to reverse gravitational pull and vascular insufficiencies, which can promote blood pooling and swapping (edema). Swelling in the lower extremities is a sign of vascular insufficiencies and an indication that compression may be needed. If ignored, poor circulation, swelling and insufficient blood flow can result in damage to the vascular system.
Medium Compression 20-30 mmHg hose are medical strength hose designed to treat individuals with various diseases, including venous insufficiencies, peripheral vascular disease and some deep vein thromboses.
Therapeutic Hose & Tired Aching Legs
By improving circulation, the wearing of the therapeutic hose can prevent both the aching and swelling associated with poor blood flow and varicosities. Not wearing specific support can make legs ache and feel tired. Beyond making legs feel better, graduated compression, also known as gradient compression hose, promote skin and muscle health.
Sclerotherapy and Phlebectomy
Years ago, vascular surgeons commonly removed varicose veins through a process known as stripping.Today, there are numerous viable outpatient procedures available to individuals with varicose veins. Two of the most common treatments are known as Sclerotherapy and Phlebectomy. Sclerotherapy and Phlebectomy treatments are inexpensive and safe. They can be performed in as little as an hour and they often relieve symptoms, as well as provide cosmetic benefits to individuals suffering from vascular disease.
Manufacturers of Compression Products
There are many manufacturers of compression products. Bell-Horn, Jobst, Sigvaris and Juzo are among some of the largest manufacturers of compression hose stockings and socks. Each manufacturer makes quality products. Consumers tend to gravitate to one manufacturer over others because of style variations, specific features, fit or price. Bell-Horn has some of the most cost effective products and manufactures compression hose and socks in most strengths. Jobst has one of the most expansive lines. Jobst is a leader in custom products and maternity hose. Some people prefer Juzo silver anti-microbial products and sleeves. Others like Sigvaris's fit. Personal preferences vary.
Compression hose are manufactured in various strengths. Mild, medium and severe strengths are created to treat the various levels and different types of vascular disease. The following descriptions break down compression strengths into three easy-to-remember categories.
Mild: Compression 8-15 mmHg –Compression strengths of 8-15 mm Hg are referred to as mild strength. These retail grade strength hose provide mild relief for tired aching legs and feet.
– Some diabetic socks are designed with mild strength compressive substances to improve circulation in the lower extremities and feet.
– Diabetic socks like Jobst's Sensi-Foot socks are designed specifically to protect sensitive feet.
Medium: Compression 15-20mmHg
–Compression hose with the compression strength of 15-20mmHg are often recommended for women who are pregnant to support circulatory health and help in the prevention of varicose veins. They are also commonly used as tool in the prevention of Deep Vein Thrombosis
–During pregnancy, additional strain on the vascular system is common in the last trimester. BSN Jobst is also a leading supplier of maternity stockings and hose.
–Medical doctors and vascular surgeons most commonly prescribe 15-20 mmHg or 20-30 mmHg stockings or socks to prevent or treat embolisms, also known as blood clots. These hose are referred to as anti-embolism hose. Many medical professionals refer to these stockings as TEDs Anti-embolism hose are made by many different manufacturers.
–As embolisms can be life threatening if not treated, the wearing of anti-embolism hose or socks is particularly important to individuals who are non-ambulatory, as they help ensure healthy blood flow.
Compression After Surgery
Compression is also important to individuals who undergo surgery. The reason for this is to keep pressure on the circulatory system while patients are less mobile. In particular, when muscles are motionless, less blood flow occurs. Another important reason to wear compression products has to do with the health of the lymphatic system. When the lymphatic and circulatory systems are damaged, compression places external pressure on areas of need to improve blood flow by gently massaging the circulatory and lymphatic systems. An additional reason to wear compression for certain types of surgery is that compression promoters healing, by encouraging blood flow and distribution of oxygen to areas of damage and need.
Compression, Wound Care & Wraps
Compression is important in the treatment of certain types of swapping ulcers and wounds. Wound care specialists are trained to care for specific types of skin ulcers with compressive wrap products like Comprilan. Comprilan and other generic compressive wrap products are also important in the care and treatment of other conditions like lymphedema.
There are many different types of donning tools. The most popular tool is the sock aid. Compression sock aids assist individuals in sliding socks onto their legs and feet. There are many different designs and types of sock assists. Each manufacturer looks to favor their own sock donning device.
Rubber gloves are also helpful in donning socks and stockings, because they can be used to gently massage compression hose into position. Jobst makes a wonderful donning glove. Dish gloves are also useful in donning compression hose. After compression is over the foot and ankle areas, many people with arthritic conditions use common dish gloves to massage stockings into position, so as to avoid pulling and potentially tearing fabric. The benefit of using common dishwashing gloves is that they are inexpensive and easy to find.
Compression adhesives are another popular item. Adhesives are water soluble substances that adhere to the leg, so that individuals who wear items like height high stockings can do so without wearing a garter belt. The most popular adhesive product is It-places.
In order to insure an accurate fit, individuals should be measured for compression first thing in the morning after getting out of bed, as swelling increases through the course of a day. In measuring for proper fit of socks individuals need to know the circumference of their ankles, calves and sometimes shoe size. A fitter should take measurements in the fullest parts of the ankle and calf for over-the-counter brands. Length is also important. Many brands come in tall, regular and short lengths. Measurements are then compared to the sizing charts on manufacturers' boxes.
Bell-Horn and manufacturers like Jobst, Juzo and Sigvaris put easy-to-read sizing charts on the outside of their retail boxes to make it easy for individuals to determine their size or fit. Although individuals can use string and a ruler to determine measurement, accurate fitting for compression socks may require the use of a measuring tape.
Compression Fitting Tips
In order to insure an accurate fit, individuals should be measured for compression first thing in the morning after getting out of bed, as swelling increases through the course of a day.
Bell-Horn and manufacturers like Jobst, Juzo and Sigvaris put easy-to-read sizing charts on the outside of their retail boxes to make it easy for individuals to determine their size or fit. Medical Health Supply Inc. has easy -to-read sizing charts for Jobst and Bell-Horn online.
As mentioned, measuring for proper fit of socks requires that individuals know the circumference of their ankles, calves and sometimes shoe size. Measurements are then compared to the sizing charts on manufacturer's boxes. If an individual does not find their measurements on any over-the-counter brand, he or she may require a specialty product.
Care and Maintenance of Compression Products
If properly maintained, compression socks hold their compression for a period of 4-6 months. One should use mild soap or washing solution like Jolastic to wash compression products and purchase one pair to wear and one pair to wash. On humid days, products may not dry overnight. It is important to wear hose every day. It is easy to tell when compression products should be replaced when the elasticity is gone and they are no longer snug. Usually people recognize that compression hose are too easy to slip on and off. This means the elasticity may be gone and it is time for a new pair of hose.
–Compression hose help maintain circulatory system heath. They also help individuals combat the fatigue associated with tired aching legs.
–Compression hose can be attractive. They come in many styles and sizes, and last 4-6 months if properly maintained.
–All strengths of over-the-counter compression hose are provided at discounted prices online. This is important to know because most insurance companies do not cover most compression strengths.
–Always seek professional advice when purchasing medical products, services or equipment. Information contained herein is provided for training purposes only. For more information on compression products such as stockings, hose and socks consult a physician or compression specialist.
Common Questions and Answers
What do I do if my size and strength is not available over-the-counter?
In some cases, compression products are specifically tailor for individuals with special needs. If over-the-counter socks are unavailable, custom products can be ordered. Purchasing, ordering and getting fitted for custom compression garments can be time consuming and expensive.
What do I do if my socks roll?
This could be an indication that your socks do not fit properly. It may also indicate that you may need a specialized product, or a compression adhesive. Socks should not roll. Each time a sock rolls, it increases the compression on the area where the compression has doubled-up. This could actually hurt circulation and constrain blood flow. Socks should never role.
I have trouble putting on compression hose, Can you suggest techniques or tools?
It takes a bit of practice. Place the toe of your sock onto your foot and do not roll the edge up. Just gently massage the socks or hose up your leg. Some people crunch compression hose up like they are putting on stockings. This makes it very difficult to get them on. If you are having difficulty, you may want to order a sock aid.
What does mmHg stand for?
MmHg is a medical abbreviation for the term Millimeters of Mercury. MmHg is a standard unit of measurement used to express compression strength within the medical community.
Individual needs and requirements may vary. Advanced compression therapy products like pumps and custom sleeves must be purchased through a medical professional in a clinical setting. It may be important to speak to a pharmacist, a medical professional, or a physician if you have medical concerns or additional questions.