Buying and Wearing Compression Stockings is Not Like Buying and Wearing Fashion Hosiery!
As a general rule always consult your physician or vein specialist if you are making any changes that could affect your health. Wearing compression stockings is definitely one of those changes.
What are Compression Stockings Good For?
Compression stockings are designed to apply graduated pressure to the legs to optimize blood circulation and prevent or reduce swelling in the legs and feet. They can also reduce the risk of blood clots after surgery or when travelling long distance in a sitting position without adequate movement. Lighter compression or support hosiery can simply boost an individual’s well-being and comfort level while standing or sitting all day, which often leads to achy, heavy and fatigued feeling legs after a hard day’s work.
Why Should You Talk To Your Physician Before Wearing Compression Stockings?
One very important reason to talk to your doctor or a vein specialist first before wearing compression stockings is to ensure that you don’t have any existing medical conditions that would preclude you from wearing compression stockings or where compression stockings would have to be worn with extreme caution.
Compression stockings should not be used if, for example, the following medical conditions are present:
- Arterial insufficiency in the legs (also known as Ischemia or advanced arterial disease)
- Congestive heart failure that is uncontrolled
- Septic phlebitis of the leg that is untreated (also known as a bacterial infection of a vein)
- Advanced peripheral neuropathy (also known as polyneuropathy or polyneuritis)
Compression stockings should only be considered with caution if, for example, the following medical conditions are present:
- Diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. People with these diseases may have small vessel disease and the application of compression could lead to pressure necrosis (tissue damage due to pressure)
- Skin infections
- Allergies or high sensitivity to the material of compression stockings
- Weeping dermatoses
Assessing Your Options with Compression Hosiery
Similar to fashion socks, stockings, pantyhose, tights and leggings, there are also different types of compression hosiery available. To select the style and type that would be most suitable for one’s individual needs, several factors must be taken into consideration.
- Hosiery type – thigh length or below the knee (compression socks, compression thigh high stockings or compression pantyhose)
- Appearance and fashion appeal – color, design patterns, open toe, closed toe, silicone backed lace top or garter style for thigh highs
- Sizing and fit – requires exact leg measurements
- Off the shelf or custom made depending on size requirements
- Patient’s ability to don and doff the compression stockings (e.g. patients with arthritis)
- Possibly different stockings for each leg if each leg has different issues (e.g. one leg may have much larger varicose veins and/or swelling than the other leg)
Patients should be fully involved in determining which type of compression stockings would be best for them.
The more a patient likes the style, design and color of their compression stockings the more likely he or she will follow through with wearing their compression stockings regularly and consistently. It is also important for the patient to understand that compression therapy or hosiery will not cure any underlying venous disease, but restore venous function while wearing compression stockings. Therefore, compression hosiery is a lifetime strategy.
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