Elastic compression stockings to treat venous pathologies

Sometimes, the doctor or specialist prescribes the patient a compressive therapy, usually based on elastic stockings, which, although they seem uncomfortable and unaesthetic, are much more useful than many people think.

Normally, elastic compression is used to treat venous or lymphatic pathology.

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a health problem caused by a malfunction in the circulatory system that affects between 20 and 30% of the population in Spain, with a prevalence five times higher in women than in men.

In which pathologies are elastic stockings used?

The most common venous pathology is varicose veins, and the elastic compression stocking is one of the basic elements to make compression on the dilated veins, emptying them partially and decreasing their diameter. With this, the pain is less and the tendency to suffer itching and cramps decreases. The use of elastic stockings is also important in the treatment of deep vein thrombosis, reducing pain and edema and preventing the appearance of postphlebitic syndrome, which causes heaviness and the appearance of edema (swelling) in the legs. These symptoms worsen with heat or when standing, as well as including tingling, tiredness, cramps and the appearance of varicose veins.

What is elastic compression?

Elastic leg compression is one of the oldest methods of treating varicose veins and their complications. It is mainly based on the application of bandages on the legs and is useful to heal leg enlargements due to insufficiency and to cure edema. Nowadays, bandages have been replaced by stockings and elastic tutors, becoming essential pillars to prevent and cure venous diseases and lymphedema. Stockings are extremely important during therapy, the postoperative period, in sclerosing therapy and when it comes to maintaining the result obtained after starting treatment. At the same time, they also function as prevention, delaying or avoiding the appearance of the disease, and reducing the complications derived from phlebitis and ulcers in more advanced stages. It can therefore be said that compression stockings have a preventive and therapeutic effect on venous problems thanks to the application of external pressure on certain points of the legs from the ankle to the thigh in a decreasing manner, favoring the ascent of blood towards the heart.

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Who should use these stockings?

Therapy with compression stockings is recommended when the patient suffers from varicose or spider veins, after undergoing surgery and sclerotherapy and when there are edemas and/or alterations during pregnancy. People who spend a lot of time standing or sitting also benefit from these stockings.

When should elastic compression stockings not be used?

They should not be used in patients with:

  • Arterial diseases
  • Diabetes with neuropathies
  • Moist dermatosis
  • Intolerance to the elastic material

How are compression stockings used correctly?

Stockings should be put on after daily hygiene and before getting dressed. Ideally, they should be worn lying down or sitting up in bed. It is recommended:

  • Turn the stocking inside out and leave the foot area facing inwards.
  • Tuck the foot in and unroll the stocking over the leg.
  • Stretch the fabric well to avoid creases.

Types of stockings

The compression, size and model must be the right one, since each one is different for each patient. There are different types of stockings:

  • Short stocking: reaches just below the knee.
  • Sock: reaches below the knee, although it is a thicker stocking that helps to keep warm in the winter months.
  • Long stocking: reaches to mid-thigh and is held in place with silicone bands. Allows for easy wearing of dresses and skirts.
  • Pantyhose: they reach to the waist, and are the most classic option for those who prefer to wear dresses or skirts.