Graduated compression stockings have been proven to be effective for relieving the heavy, aching, feeling due to varicose veins, and also to help prevent DVT – Deep Vein Thrombosis (Travellers clots) with flying or driving. Over-the-counter stockings that are not graduated compression may in fact increase the risk of DVT. Sequential compression means the stocking or sock is tighter at the ankle, and gradually gets less tight higher up the leg.
How does graduated compression therapy help with the management of venous problems?
The discomfort of varicose veins is due to the weight of the blood pooling in your legs, which distends and stretches the vein. This happens with prolonged sitting as in flying, or long trips in the car, and can cause uncomfortable swelling of the feet and ankles.
As a person walks, the contraction and relaxation of the calf muscles around the veins aid in moving blood toward the heart. The external graduated compression of SIGVARIS socks and stockings act as a layer of muscle by gently squeezing the stretched vein walls together, allowing the valves to close. The excess blood is squeezed out of the vein, reducing the distension of the vein, thereby restoring blood flow to a normal state and aiding overall circulation.
For helping symptoms of Varicose Veins:-
To be most effective, the socks or stockings should be put on at the start of your day and removed before you go to bed. We can advise you whether you should wear full length or knee high stockings.
For helping prevention of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT):-
Put stockings on before you start your travel, and remove them at the end of the trip. For travel, you usually only need knee high stockings.
Support and Compression stockings…which brand?
Varicose veins don’t like stretching of the vein wall, and hence the symptoms.
If the pressure in the veins is high, you need higher compression, and so the amount of compression has a simple code that lets you know what you are buying.
Grade I 15 – 20 mm Hg
Grade II 20 – 30 mm Hg
Grade III 30 – 40 mm Hg
Sequential Compression means that the stockings or socks are firmer around the ankle than higher up the calf. This gradient of compression helps milk the blood on the veins up and out of the leg.
Why not buy the cheaper ones?
Simply put, you pay for what you get. The cheaper stockings will not last long, and it’s easy to put a finger nail through them. The compression is frequently not what the manufacturers claim, and in fact was the subject of an article in a prestigious medical journal (Phlebology March 2014) . And so cheaper stockings may in fact not really help and may in fact cause problems, especially with long haul flights.
Legs come in different sizes and shapes, so paying for a reputable brand that is measured for your leg shape is worth it.
How to tell the good from a bad
The more sizes they have, the better the brand.
When you look at the stocking, the ankle width should be obviously less than the calf width.
The leg needs to be measured at different points for the proper fit. Don’t buy those that go by shoe size…it’s the calf we are worried about, not the foot.