This condition of poor circulation is named after the French physician, A. G. Maurice Raynaud who first described it. It is also known as Raynaud’s syndrome or Raynaud’s disease. It affects the circulation of the hands and legs, whereby the tips of the fingers and toes feel cold and numb and turn pale.
Raynaud’s is caused primarily by spasms and constriction of small arterial blood vessels as a reaction to cold temperature, emotionally or physically stressful events, or smoking. Pain and tingling may also be felt in the toes and fingers when the blood circulation is inadequate. It can affect other protuberant areas of the body such as the ears and nose as well.
Raynaud’s is more prevalent among women than men and it is more common in people living in colder regions of the country. For many people this ailment is more of a bother than a seriously disabling disease. By itself Raynaud’s syndrome can remain relatively unchanged over a long period of time. The choices of treatment largely depend on the severity and additional considerations, such as the presence of other health problems. For example, it can often be seen in individuals who also have rheumatoid arthritis.
Can Compression Stockings Be Used to Relieve Reynaud’s Symptoms?
According to our research the opinions on this seem to differ widely. Some writings stated that due to the constricting nature and spasms of the arteries, further compression should be avoided. Other opinions stated the opposite; as expressed by people with Reynaud’s who are wearers of compression socks or stockings. They felt that compression socks or stockings actually helped them with circulation and reduced or even eliminated the feelings of numbness and coldness in the feet.
On the other hand, we could not find any professional studies or research results involving the use of compression garments to help with the symptoms of Reynaud’s Syndrome. At this point in time one would have to conclude that the jury is still out on the effectiveness or usefulness of compression socks or stockings for this more or less bothersome condition.
Based on statements we found in forums and on message boards from individuals who have had reprieve from their Reynaud’s symptoms with compression hosiery, one could certainly discuss the possibility of applying compression or support hosiery with their healthcare provider.
As with any changes that could affect your health, only your physician and/or healthcare specialist(s) are uniquely qualified to make recommendations on what would be best for you.
In most instances medications such as vasodilators, alpha blockers and calcium channel blockers are prescribed to treat Raynaud’s syndrome. For some individuals with rather severe cases of Raynaud’s disease, surgery and other more invasive solutions may become necessary.
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