Compression Stockings

Compression Stockings

Compression stockings are specialized stockings which are worn to prevent the occurrence or the progression of venous disorders. Compression stockings work by maintaining blood flow and reducing swelling or discomfort. Compression stockings are worn by people suffering from venous insufficiency, mild varicosities, edema, phlebitis, thrombo-embolism, economy class syndrome, lymphedema etc. Compression stockings are widely used for the management of varicose veins. These stockings might also be worn during pregnancy as the hormones and bodily changes can affect the blood flow to the legs due to additional pressure on the inferior vena cava (IVC). These stockings also prevent the formation of blood clots and ulcers in the lower limbs.

Compression Levels of Compression Stockings

Compression stockings have various levels of compression indicated for use in different conditions:

1. Over the counter (15-20 mmHg) - These compression stockings provide the least amount of compression and are used for fatigued and swollen legs which occur in people having to constantly travel, sit and or stand for a long period of time. These are often worn by people during long hours of work and long flights as they can reduce minor swelling and discomfort.

2. Medical Grade 1 (20-30 mmHg) - These compression stockings provide medical grade compression without being too strong and are the most commonly prescribed stockings. These stockings manage moderate to severe varicose veins, spider veins and provide compression that may be needed post some surgeries. These compression stockings can manage the symptoms of post-thrombotic syndrome, resolve superficial thrombosis and prevent deep vein thrombosis.

3. Medical Grade 2 (30-40 mmHg) - The use of these compression stockings is indicated for moderate to severe leg symptoms. These compression stockings can reduce the symptoms associated to postural hypotension, orthostatic hypotension and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

4. Medical Grade 3 (40-50 mmHg) - These compression stockings have very strong compression and their use is indicated for lymphedema, severe venous statis and wound management. These are often prescribed after surgical treatments to prevent reappearance of varicose veins. These should only be worn after consulting with a physician.

Compression Stocking Styles

Compression stockings have the maximum compression at the ankles which gradually gets less constrictive towards the knees and thighs. Compression stockings usually come in three styles:

1. Knee high compression stockings - These are also available in closed toe and open toe styles and variety of materials

2. Thigh high compression stockings - These are used when full leg compression is needed on one or both the legs

3. Maternity compression stockings - These are used when leg compression is required bilaterally

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