Are compression stockings effective – DIABETIC SOCK CLUB

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Are compression stockings effective

Typically, people wear compression stockings to improve their performance in sports, for comfortability, and to help prevent severe medical conditions. They are specifically made to exert pressure on your lower legs, improve your blood, and thus, reduce discomfort and swelling in the area.


What precisely are they?


Compression stockings are specially designed, stretchy socks that gently squeeze your legs more than regular socks. They are snug-fitting but not excruciatingly tight. Around your ankle, they are closer, and as they ascend your leg, they become looser.


Depending on your condition, you can use various sizes, compression levels, or strengths. Ask for your doctor's prescription and professional fitting for the best results.


What are the various types of compression stockings?


Most compression stockings come in length below the knee; however, you can also find thigh-highs and tights. 


Graduated compression stockings: In this type of compression stockings, around the ankle has the most substantial compression and gradually decreases towards the knee. They are designed for mobility and to meet particular length and strength medical requirements. 


Physicians usually recommend this type if you have peripheral edema or orthostatic hypotension. Peripheral edema or swelling of the lower legs resulting from fluid retention is lessened by stockings that finish just below the knee. Stockings or socks that reach the thigh or waist help minimize orthostatic hypotension by reducing blood pooling in the legs.


Graduation compression stockings generally require to be prescribed and professionally fitted by a doctor. 


Anti-embolism stockings: Their function is more specific. They are intended for bedridden patients, especially those recovering from surgery, to help maintain circulation and prevent blood clots.


Using anti-embolism stockings lowers the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A blood clot forms in a vein deep within your body; it can lead to a threatening condition known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A blood clot is a collection of blood that has solidified. Deep vein blood clots generally develop in the lower leg or thigh.


They offer gradual compression, just as graduation compression stockings, but the degree of reduction varies. Anti-embolism stockings are designed for those who are not mobile.


Non-medical support hosiery: A prescription is often not necessary for this type of compression stocking. They are offered in physical locations and online retailers. They include flight socks and an elastic support hose, advertised as potential remedies for sore, achy legs.

Compared to prescription compression stockings, these provide uniform compression with less pressure.


How do compression stockings help, and are they effective?


The arteries that carry the blood rich in oxygen to your muscles can relax due to the pressure these stockings apply, allowing blood to flow freely. The veins get a boost and force blood back toward your heart. By reducing the extra fluid in the legs, compression stockings not only relieve edema but also have the potential to prevent it.


Additionally, they lessen the capacity of superficial veins to expand and fill with blood, preventing backward flow of blood and congestion. If there is blood pooling in the veins of the legs, damage to the vein walls and valves, varicose veins, inflammation of the vein (also known as phlebitis thrombophlebitis), and even blood clots can occur. 


Indeed, compression stockings are effective in treating and preventing a variety of illnesses because of this mechanism. According to a 2014 study, high-compression (30–40 mm Hg) stockings are preferable to mild and low compression stockings in accelerating the healing of venous ulcers and reducing their recurrence. Meanwhile, as stated by the 2020 study, diabetic patients have shown that mild compression (18–25 mm Hg) therapy offers a therapeutic advantage in reducing edema and improved patient satisfaction. This is why it is optimal to ask your doctor what type of compression stockings are appropriate for your health.


Steps to find the suitable compression stockings for you


There are so many different factors that you should consider when you are finding the perfect compression stockings:


Step 1: Choose the compression level 


You should know how much compression is needed for your feet, legs, and ankles. Stockings should feel snug but not painfully tight. The key to obtaining the most benefit from your compression stockings is to choose the proper compression levels to address your needs. Applying too much compression can give you the opposite advantage and cause serious problems. 


Step 2: Choose your style 


Knowing the differences between knee-high socks, thigh-high socks, and pantyhose/waist-high socks will help you decide which best fits your condition and prevents the compression stocking you are wearing from interfering with your regular activities. 


Step 3: Select the appropriate material


You have a variety of options when it comes to the material to further personalize the kind of compression stocking that is best for you. Compression stockings should not irritate your skin, particularly for diabetic people who use them to promote blood flow and want to avoid cuts and sores. Stockings that are ultra-soft, comfortable, breathable, and have moisture-wicking properties are the most recommended for people with health problems. 


Tips for using compression socks


Wearing your compression stockings


When you wear compression stockings, you should put on your stockings just like any other socks – you should unroll the hose up your leg and pull it over your feet. Stockings are delicate, so it's important to avoid pulling on the top portion, which could result in tearing. If you have trouble putting the compression sock on, try using a small amount of silicone lotion or talcum powder on your feet or legs. To ensure that the compression is evenly distributed across your feet and legs, try to draw up the compression stockings fully. Don't let the socks cluster up in any particular location. Your compression stockings shouldn't hurt, but they should fit over your skin snugly and securely. Before putting on your compression, it is also a good idea to apply protection to any open wounds to ensure that they won't rub against them.


Take care of your compression socks


By putting on your compression stockings when you get dressed in the morning and removing them before bedtime, you can wear them all day (unless your doctor advises otherwise). Compression stockings may take some time to get used to, but if they fit correctly, wearing them for most or all day shouldn't be painful or too uncomfortable. You should purchase at least two pairs to wash and dry your compression socks between uses, just like you would do with any other pair of socks or stockings. Reading and following the washing directions on your compression stockings is crucial. If washing on the mild setting of your machine is an option for your compression stockings, place them inside a mesh laundry bag.


Seek medical assistance


If you have any concerns about the blood flow in your legs, start by discussing your problems with your primary care provider. They can assess your circulation and send you to a vascular specialist if you require more specialized care.

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