Compression stockings are very useful in treating the symptoms of varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency. They can also slow the progression of these diseases so that less extensive varicose vein treatment is necessary. However, it is very important to understand that compression stockings do not actually “cure” varicose veins as many people are mistakenly led to believe.
What Are Compression Stockings?
Compression stockings are elastic leg garments, similar to hose or leggings, but designed to exert much more pressure on the legs than regular hosiery. They do this by using stronger elastic material than regular hose, including hose that are sold as “support hose.” Compression stockings are prescribed by phlebologists, doctors who specialize in vein diseases and varicose vein treatment, to compress varicose veins. This reduces the volume of these abnormal veins and speeds up the blood flow. It also reduces the pressure exerted against vein walls due to venous insufficiency and the pooling of blood.
Compression stockings are also used when blood clots form in the leg. Blood clots can form in a shallow vein (more common), otherwise known as phlebitis. Blood clots can also form in the deeper veins (less common). This is known as deep vein thrombosis. You could very easily have deep vein thrombosis and not know it unless you go into a varicose vein treatment clinic like Metro Vein Centers and get a duplex ultrasound. If you elect to do this, ask your phlebologists at Metro Vein Centers to show you the 3D visuals of your duplex ultrasound and point out any blood clots or other abnormalities they see. In venous diseases, a picture is worth a thousand words!
Will I Look Like a Dork Wearing Compression Stockings?
Absolutely not! First of all, compression stockings are very thin and can easily be worn under your clothing, so in most cases, they’re not even seen. Secondly, compression stockings now come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. In fact, some compression stockings are so stylish and comfortable that you may want to continue wearing them after your doctor tells you it’s okay to stop!
Men should take special note that they now make compression stockings that are specifically designed for men. It’s important that compression stockings fit just right for optimal performance. Compression stockings designed for men are specifically designed to fit the masculine leg form. They also come in masculine design styles that look a lot like high end socks for men.
Compression Stockings Are Often Used For Recovery Purposes
After many types of varicose vein treatment, such as sclerotherapy and endovenous laser treatment, your doctor will instruct you to wear compression stockings for about one to three weeks. Usually, you’ll be instructed to wear compression stockings for a full 24 hour period after your varicose vein treatment procedure(s) and then during your daytime hours after this. Firm gradient compression stockings will likely be used after any type of varicose vein treatment. These firm gradient compression stockings exert twenty to thirty mmHg pressure on your legs and should only be applied under a doctor’s care. If you are dealing with spider veins only, you may only be asked to wear compression stocktings for a day or two after your treatment.
Wearing compression stockings during the recovery period after varicose vein treatment serves several important purposes. First, compression stockings help the healing process inside your body by putting pressure on your legs. This helps your body absorb the varicose vein remnants that remain after the treatment. Compression stockings will also help to prevent any side effects of the varicose vein treatments you received such as a vein bleeding out (very rare but it does happen). Just as importantly, compression stockings will help ease any pain or discomfort you may experience from the procedure(s) performed.
During recovery, your vein specialist will likely instruct you to wear thigh high compression stockings. However, after this recovery period, he or she may suggest that you switch to knee high compression stockings to help “maintain” your status quo. Most people who undergo varicose vein treatment still have underlying issues that could develop into full blown varicose veins or other chronic venous insufficiency issues if they do not take measures to prevent this from happening. Wearing knee high compression stockings when you are active during the day is one of the most highly recommended and effective ways to take this preventative measure.