Do Compression Stockings Help with Vein Issues?
Friends or family members may have told you to wear compression stockings when flying, sitting or standing for long periods of time or generally to improve your circulation and vein health. You may have seen cheap compression socks in the grocery store or pharmacy. You may have also seen very expensive compression stockings that are custom fit to the purchaser’s needs. So, which one is useful and are there any drawbacks or risks of using compression stockings?
Let’s delve into what to stay away from. Compression stockings are a medical device, albeit a very basic, simple one. They do, in fact, modify your circulation and therefore must be fitted properly for your particular body type and condition. Cheap, over the counter compression stockings that are not professionally fitted to you may not be effective because they do not provide enough compression. Further, if the compression is in the wrong place, they can be detrimental to your vein health. Therefore, it is well worth the cost, which can be around $100 per pair, to get the right set of compression stockings for you. Most importantly, however, use compression stockings only when your cardiologist has told you that they are appropriate or necessary for your situation.
Properly made compression stockings have many excellent uses
First, they are the frontline treatment for chronic venous insufficiency, which involves blood flowing backwards in the veins and ultimately leading to severe varicose veins and even difficult-to-heal leg ulcers. Along with compression stockings, you will need to follow your treatment plan very closely which will include leg elevation, weight loss, salt restriction and exercise.
Compression stockings may also reduce the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis – DVT – a blood clot in the deep veins of the extremities that can break off and ultimately caused a pulmonary embolism. If you are at a higher risk of DVT or if your lifestyle lends itself to significant risk of DVT, compression stockings may be a good option to reduce that risk along with lifestyle changes including exercise.
Compression stockings may also reduce the visibility and pain associated with varicose veins in appropriate patients. It is particularly important that you speak to your cardiologist about compression stockings when it comes to varicose veins. However, the underlying vein issue will not go away. Damaged veins that lead to varicose veins can and should be treated with one of our minimally invasive and highly successful in office varicose vein therapies. Ultimately, however, while compression stockings may offer some relief, they are not the solution and do not have proven efficacy against the condition.
Wearing properly fitted, high-quality compression stockings as recommended by your cardiologist or vein specialist can be helpful for certain medical conditions. They are a small investment in your comfort and can potentially ward off or slow the progression of certain conditions. The need for compression stockings, however, means that there may be an underlying condition that should be treated. So please speak to your cardiologist or vein specialist to learn more about what you can do to try lifestyle change or pursue a minimally invasive curative procedure.