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Using Compression Stockings to Treat Venous Insufficiency

Published on January 12, 2017

Venous insufficiency is a condition that affects many people as they get older. Simply put, the condition refers to a state where the veins in one’s body fail to circulate blood in the required direction. All the veins in the human body have valves that make sure that blood flows in a single direction throughout the body. When these valves fail, blood circulation is interrupted.

Compression stockings are used to gently squeeze the area and make sure that the veins are compressed and the blood moves in the right direction.

Causes of Venous Insufficiency

Venous insufficiency is caused by numerous factors including pregnancy, obesity, and old age. It can be inherited genetically, so if older generations have the disease, future generations are also more likely to obtain it as well.

Severe injury or trauma to the leg can also lead to venous insufficiency along with high blood pressure in the leg veins caused by prolonged standing or sitting. Smoking and lack of exercise are also common contributors. Phlebitis and deep vein thrombosis also lead to this condition.

Symptoms of Venous Insufficiency

Common symptoms of venous insufficiency include:

• Swelling of the legs/ankles
• Pain during walking or standing constantly
• Varicose veins
• Itchy, painful legs
• Dark colored skin near the ankles
• Leg ulcers

If not treated, these symptoms will get worse and cause pain and discomfort to patients.

Different types of compression stockings

Compression stockings are differentiated based on the pressure they apply. The pressure is measured in terms of millimeters of mercury or mmHg. The lowest compression is 20mmHg, while the highest is 30mmHg. There are lower pressures available from 15mmHg -20mmHg but these are meant for daily use or for occasional support while traveling.

Compression stockings not only support the veins, but also the lymphatic systems. They are often the most recommended form of treatment for varicose veins along with venous insufficiency. Commonly available at all medical stores and pharmacies, stockings come in different sizes for different parts of the leg. Generally, stockings meant for the ankles are tighter than those meant for the upper leg.

Are they effective?

Compression stockings are used to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and ensure proper blood flow. However, their effectiveness depends on the patient and the severity of the condition. Irregular usage of compression stockings will not help patients get better.

Depending on the condition, other forms of treatment like physiotherapy might be recommended. Losing weight, avoiding long periods of standing, or sitting and regular running/jogging regiments are also suggested to prevent the condition from getting worse.

Other forms of treatment

There are multiple surgical options for treating vein conditions. A valvuloplasty might be performed for suitable candidates but the results and success rate are not set in stone. Other surgeries like venous bypass are also suitable for limited patients and their results might not be effective. Other methods are being investigated through clinical trials. These include thermally induced collagen shrinkage and external valve banding devices.

Contact Our Office

Contact us to learn more about the treatment benefits compression stockings have on venous insufficiency. Dr. Raffi Dishakjin, an experienced vein specialist, can help resolve the issues you’re experiencing so that you can finally have relief.