Blood clots and varicose veins are being found in epidemic proportions. In the United States and other western civilizations, occupations that require prolonged sitting and standing negatively influence vein circulation. As our heart pumps blood to the tissues, it is returned to the heart by traveling from small veins to larger veins and propelled to the heart with each squeeze of the calf and a series of one-way valves. If we fail to routinely squeeze our calf muscles, pressure builds in the tissues and swelling develops. The stagnant blood flow from prolonged sitting and standing raises the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Compression therapy is an underutilized preventative tool in limiting the risk of DVT and symptoms related to venous hypertension. It is widely used in the treatment of DVT, and management of leg ulcers, yet the preventative position has only begun to take hold. With reports of on-line gamers presenting with life threatening blood clots following days on the computer, the pre-emptive use of compression therapy simply makes sense.
Traditional thoughts of compression bring images of leg wraps, and heavy compression stockings. Concerns about donning the stockings, being too tight and hot are no longer fair labels with today’s options. Garments are currently made in a wide variety of colors and materials, and donning has never been easier. Recent research has shown that wearing two lighter weight stockings has additive effects of providing therapeutic compression therapy.
Where do I find stockings and what strength is recommended?
Recognize that not all stockings are created equal. There are many different materials, styles, and strengths. Today’s compression stockings may look like calf high socks or stylish stockings worn with women’s formal wear. The specific style is entirely patient dependent, where as the strength is targeted to fit the reason for compression. Strengths recommended for prevention purposes, treatment of mild swelling, or leg ulcers are different and visiting a vein center that is familiar with a variety of compression types is recommended.