Compression stockings are a specialized hosiery designed to help prevent the occurrence of, and guard against further progression of, venous disorders such edema, phlebitis and thrombosis. Compression stockings are elastic garments worn around the leg, compressing the limb. This reduces the diameter of distended veins and increases 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 stockings are used not only to help increase circulation, but also to help prevent the formation of blood clots in the lower legs. They also aid in the treatment of ulcers of the lower legs.
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 toward the knees and thighs. By compressing the surface veins, arteries and muscles, they force circulating blood through narrower 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.
The symptoms of poor foot mechanics can include any one of the following:
Compression stockings are recommended for patients with the following conditions:
Support, compression and gradient compression are seen as interchangeable, but they are not all created equal. Support often refers to control top. Support pantyhose do not provide any gradient compression or compression in the product except for the thigh and tummy area. Compression normally refers to a product that provides equal pressure through the garment. It will feel tight all over. Gradient compression products provide the tightest 'squeeze' or pressure at the ankle and gradually decrease the pressure or 'squeeze' up the leg.