Do Compression Stockings Work?

compression socks

Dr. Vinay Madan at the Center for Varicose Veins may recommend that you wear compression stockings for your varicose veins. In fact, many insurance companies require you have trialled compression stocking before they will authorize more permanent forms of treatments including radiofrequency ablation, endovenous laser ablation, venaseal and sclerotherapy. But do compression stockings actually help relieve signs and symptoms of varicose veins and venous insufficiency like pain, cramping, restlessness, throbbing and swelling? Let's explore if and how compression stockings work to help improve the circulation in our legs and how to pick the right compression stockings.

What are Compression Stockings?

Compression stockings are made of special elastic materials that apply a specific level of pressure on the veins of our legs. The socks are specifically sized and fitted to your leg and will fit more tightly than your normal socks, but still be comfortable enough to wear all day.  Dr. Madan will explain the type and style of compression stockings that you should use, including how often you need to wear compression stockings.

How Do Compression Stockings Help with Varicose Veins?

So compression stocking definitely do work in helping relieve the symptoms of varicose veins and venous insufficiency.  Varicose veins and venous insufficiency develop because the valves in our superficial leg veins become damaged over time.  The cause of the damage may include genetics, pregnancy, obesity, jobs requiring long periods of standing and older age.  This results in abnormal bulging and ropey veins which are now varicose veins.  These varicose veins demonstrate abnormal pooling of blood resulting in leg complaints and possible future inflammation. The compression stockings work by applying just the right amount of pressure and compression of the varicose veins, forcing the abnormal pooling blood into normal healthy veins, which results in improved blood flow in the veins of our legs. 

Choosing the Right Compression Stockings compression socks

Compression stockings are available in many different sizes and strengths.  The strength of the stocking is measured in mm of Hg, like our blood pressure.

You will also need to use the right style of compression stockings, such as thigh high and knee high. The length of stocking is determined by patient comfort, ability to put on the stocking, along with severity and location of vein disease.  If you have only mild symptoms and early varicose veins, you would benefit from knee high stockings, especially if all your symptoms and varicose veins are only in the calf.  If you have more severe symptoms and varicose veins are visible in the thigh and calf, you will likely be recommended to wear thigh high stockings.  At Center for Varicose Veins, the staff is trained to take appropriate measurements and fit you for your stockings.

Tips for Using Compression Stockings

What to Expect From Compression Stockings

When you first start using compression stockings, they may feel somewhat uncomfortable at first. You should start to notice after a few hours, that your legs feel lighter than before you started using stockings. This is because the blood is returning back to your heart instead of pooling inside your legs. You may also notice a reduction in other symptoms, such as pain, itching, burning, and leg restlessness. If your stockings are unbearable to wear, be sure to have your your legs reevaluated and remeasured. It's quite possible the stockings are the wrong size. 

Dr. Madan will do a complete evaluation including checking your peripheral arterial pulses prior to prescribing you stockings, to exclude underlying peripheral arterial disease (PAD).  Compression stockings should eventually become comfortable to put on and wear throughout the day and represent a first line of treatment for varicose veins and venous insufficiency.

Learn More About Varicose Vein Treatments. Contact Center for Varicose Veins.

To learn more about non-surgical treatments for varicose veins and the benefits of compression stockings, contact Center for Varicose Veins to schedule a consultation. Dr. Madan offers non-surgical varicose vein treatments, such as sclerotherapy, endovenous laser ablation, radiofrequency ablation, and VenaSeal™.

Author
Dr. Vinay Madan, MD, DABVLM Dr. Vinay Madan, MD, DABVLM Dr. Vinay Madan is a board certified Interventional Radiologist and Phlebologist with over 25 years of experience in treating vein disease. Dr. Madan has served as the Chairman of Radiology and Section Head of Vascular Interventional Radiology at Eastern Connecticut Health Network. Dr. Madan brings a wealth of knowledge which allows him to treat patients with cosmetic and medical vein disease in a caring and compassionate way.

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