In this section, you are going to learn how wearing compression stockings can help you virtually remove any pain and swelling you may have had during your day to day activities due to your varicose veins.
It’s important to wear compression stockings because if you don’t wear them or don’t wear them correctly, you are more likely to develop new varicose veins, dangerous deep vein thrombosis and even ulcers (open sores) on your ankle.
What Are Compression Stockings And Why Are They Useful?
Compression hosiery have been used to treat venous disorders since 1848, when William Brown patented the first elastic compression stocking. Since then, the use of even lightweight graduated compression hosiery has been widely proven to improve symptoms of discomfort, swelling, fatigue and aching.
Compression stockings put helpful pressure on your veins. Graduated stockings tighten the most at the ankle, and gradually delivers less tension as it stretches over the knee and towards the thigh. The result becomes the forcing of blood along its natural course despite the damage to the veins.
Before Thinking About Using Them
Make sure to check with your doctor if you have any arterial disease before using compression stockings for your varicose veins. If that is your case, compression stocking may not be the best option for you.
Tips on Buying and Using Compression Stockings
You don’t need a prescription to buy compression stockings. You can buy them online, at a medical supply store or at a full service pharmacy. Compression stockings will often range in price from about $50 to $100, depending on the size and style. I have tried both the cheap and the expense ones, and the high-end stockings are well worth it, especially if you wear them every day.
Unless told otherwise by your doctor, you should not wear them when sleeping.
If you plan on wearing them every day, get two pairs. This way, you can wear one while washing and drying the other.
To keep the elasticity, you need to wash them in warm water with a gentle detergent and let them dry flat. This means that if you remove your stockings, you need to wash and let them dry before using them again. This is where it comes in handy to have two pairs.
Most stocking will last 3 to 4 months before losing their initial strength.
How to Choose Your Compression Stocking
1. The length of your stocking
Two main lengths are available: knee and thigh highs. A knee-length gradient compression stocking is generally recommended for most case, but if you have varicose veins or swelling above your knee, thigh high is recommended.
2. The compression level
The standard compression level in the USA are divided into three classes:
Class 1: 15-20 mmHg
Class 2: 20-30 mmHg
Class 3: 30-40 mmHg
Compression stocking between 15 and 20 mmHg effectively relieve the symptoms of venous insufficiency, prevent edema (swelling) and are well-tolerated by most people.
Can Men Wear Compression Stocking?
Absolutely! I was concerned what other might say when I first started wearing them. But now, with more and more male athletes wearing them on and off training to improve their performance, there is nothing preventing you to do the same.
When and How to Apply Compression Stockings
Stockings should be apply before swelling builds in the legs. The ideal time is before going out of bed in the morning. If you take a shower, you should put them on right after drying yourself up.
A little trick of mine to make the process of applying my stocking easier is to lie on my back with my legs in the air. This allows the blood to leave my legs which reduces their size a little.
What Does Science Has to Say About Stockings?
Randomized controlled trials evaluating compression hosiery in the treatment of varicose veins were sought lately in the medical journal Phlebology. Their conclusion, after examining 25 studies, is as follow:
Wearing compression improved symptom management but wearing compression to slow the progression, or prevent the reoccurrence of varicose veins could not be supported by the current published evidence. (Phlebology 2009;24 Suppl1:13)
In other words, compression stockings make your life a lot easier but they do not prevent your legs from getting worse.
Combination is the key. You need to combine the compression stocking with the supplements that will reinforce your veins to stop the progression of your varicose veins. Stockings alone will not do.
Where Do You Buy Your Compression Stocking and Which Brand Do You Recommend?
I used to buy them at a medical supply store in my city. But the many advantages of buying them online made me switch lately. The prices are lower, you have more brand to choose from and best of all, you don’t even have to leave your home.
I tried different online stores, and even though they are rather similar, my favorite one is www.therafirm.com It has all the brands and size possible. Its customer service is fast and it even offers international shipping. Tell me if you find a better deal than that because I never did!
For the best brand, it really comes down to personal preferences. By experience, each brand has low-end products and high-end products. Be willing to spend a little more for a stocking that will make you feel better longer. The brand I am using right now is Therafirm and the model is a thigh high 20-30 mmHg that you can find here: Therafirm EASE Open-Toe Thigh High Stockings
Sigvaris is the largest maker of compression stockings in the world since 2009. They produce more than 3.6 million pairs of socks every year. But I find that Therafirm is just as good.
Make sure to view the sizing chart before choosing your size and ask the customer support team if you have any question, they are very friendly.