Compression stockings are a special type of hosiery that is designed to provide you with extra support and increase circulation in your legs to prevent venous disorders and to assist in healing after vein procedures.
They have a bad reputation for being uncomfortable but they’re a lot more than just an itchy bit of fabric. If you have a venous disorder they can literally save your life. But that doesn’t mean all compression stockings are created equal.
These are some key things you need to know so they’ll work for you.
If you plan to walk into your local discount store and pick up a pair in your size, think again. Not only aren’t they “one size fits all” but they’re not even “one size fits a few.” In fact, compression stockings should only ever fit one person – you.
When you need compression stockings your doctor will actually measure you for them so they fit your leg exactly and provide for your compression needs. The good news is that by getting stockings measured rather than just picking a pair up off the store shelf, they’ll be far more comfortable and effective.
The amount of pressures applied by compression stockings is measured in units of millimeters of mercury. The compression that’s right for you will depend on a variety of factors including your diagnosis, age, activity level, skin tolerance and more.
That means not only should your stockings be measured to fit but they should also be designed with the appropriate compression to meet your individual needs.
Gone are the days of “old lady” stockings. These days compression stockings come in a variety of styles not only to work for your health benefit but to fit your lifestyle, too.
There are thigh high and knee high versions (depending on where you need the compression applied), open toe and closed toe, and they even come in a range of colors. They can be designed to look like your everyday women’s stockings or regular sports socks.
Considering that if they’re fitted properly they probably won’t be as uncomfortable as you might expect, and they won’t look out of place in your wardrobe, wearing them just got a whole lot easier.
Wearing compression stockings is a low impact, non invasive and conservative therapy for those diagnosed with venous disorders.
And while they won’t fix the problem if you have varicose veins, many insurance companies require that you wear them for 90 days before they will pay for other treatment.
And since varicose veins are considered a medical condition, their treatment is covered by insurance so you want to be sure that you’re following your insurance company’s protocols to ensure you won’t end up out-of-pocket for a covered medical expense.
This may sound obvious but just as all compression stockings are not created equal, neither is all advice for wearing them.
Depending on your diagnosis and health needs, your doctor will recommend the best times for you to wear them. In most cases people will wear them during the day and remove them at night, but it’s important to be sure you’re following doctor’s orders to get maximum benefit.
If you’ve been reading through this article, you know now that what you need in a stocking isn’t what someone else needs – and that what you need is something very specific and custom. That’s why doctors write actual prescriptions for compression stockings rather than handing them out at the door.
So while it might be tempting to take a shortcut and skip the prescription in favor of grabbing a pair off the internet, they’re not going to do much good. With ill-fitting stockings you may not be applying enough compression to matter. Or you may be applying too much, cutting off the circulation you’re trying to improve.
The bottom line is that your health is important and your purchase of healthcare materials should be, too.
If you have questions about compression stockings or think you may need them, let us know. We’re available to help you decide on the best treatment options for you.