They are a specialized hosiery, designed to help prevent the occurrence of, and guard against further progression of venous disorders such as edema, phlebitis and thrombosis. Compression stockings are elastic garments worn around the leg, compressing the limb. This reduces the diameter of distended veins and causes an increase in venous blood flow velocity and valve effectiveness. Compression therapy helps decrease venous pressure, prevents venous stasis and impairments of venous walls, and relieves heavy and aching legs.
Knee High Compression Hose are used not only to help increase circulation, but to also help prevent the formation of blood clots in the lower legs, as well as aiding in the treatment of ulcers of the lower legs. “The majority of venous ulcers heal with compression bandages, however ulcers frequently recur. Clinical guidelines therefore recommend that people continue to wear compression, usually in the form of hosiery (tights, stockings, socks) after their ulcer heals, to prevent recurrence.”
Unlike traditional dress or athletic stockings and socks, compression stockings use stronger elastics to create significant pressure on the legs, ankles and feet. Compression stockings are tightest at the ankles and gradually become less constrictive towards the knees and thighs. By compressing the surface veins, arteries and muscles, the circulating blood is forced through narrower circulatory channels. As a result, the arterial pressure is increased, which causes more blood to return to the heart and less blood to pool in the feet.
Treatment is usually prescribed by a physician to relieve all manifestations of chronic venous disease and prevent venous troubles. Compression stockings are recommended under the following conditions:
- Tired, aching legs
Tired, aching legs occur when the blood flow slows down in the legs (can be an indicator of deep vein thrombosis).
When any combination of blood or tissue fluid, pool in the legs and feet due to poor circulation.
- Venous insufficiency
This is when the veins cannot pump deoxygenated blood to the heart.
- Varicose veins
Varicose veins are saccular and distended veins which can expand considerably and may cause painful venous inflammation. Once developed, will not disappear on its own. The formation of varicose veins is an externally visible sign of venous weakness.
- Spider Veins (mild varicosities)
Spider Veins are the smallest cutaneous blood vessels which shimmer bluish or reddish through the skin.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
Deep vein thrombosis occurs when blood flow decreases (especially in the lower extremities), causing blood to pool in the legs and leading to blood clot (thrombus) formation.
When a body part swells due to an abnormal accumulation of lymph fluid, occurring when there is interference with the normal drainage of lymph fluid back into the blood, commonly swelling the arm, leg, neck or abdomen.
Inflammation and clotting in a vein, most often a leg vein, due to infection, inflammation, or trauma. People with varicose veins are more often affected. Inflammation occurs suddenly, causing the thrombus to adhere firmly to the vein wall, which can clog a superficial vein.
Inflammation of subcutaneous fat, form of panniculitis.
Hormones released during pregnancy and the expanding uterus (pressure on the inferior vena cava – the major vein returning blood up to the heart) can affect leg veins.
The use of elastic compression stockings can reduce volumetric variations during standing hours. The use of stockings for the entire day is more effective than just half the day or not using compression stockings at all. Many physicians and vein specialists recommend wearing compression stockings after varicose vein stripping, but studies show that wearing an elastic compression has no additional benefit following elastic bandaging for three days in post-operative care after stripping of the great saphenous vein as assessed by control of limb, oedema, pain, complications and return to work.