Compression stockings are probably the most often recommended home remedy for varicose veins. Both my wife Melinda and I have made extensive use of them in our treatment. They can be pretty fundamental.
The purpose of compression socks is to improve the blood flow in the legs and to manage any pain or swelling you may have. Our biggest likes about them were how easy they were to use and their relatively low cost. Compression stockings can also be used at the same time as other home treatment methods like supplements and exercise. We eagerly took advantage of this fact. Using multiple treatments in parallel was part of our plan from day one. As long as it can be done safely, why not improve your odds?
For those who have elected to undergo surgery, compression stockings are still beneficial to help ensure varicose veins do not re-develop in the future.
How They Work
Compression socks work by putting outside pressure on leg veins, not allowing them to dilate or enlarge. They counter and equalize the varicose veins that are pushing out by pushing them back in. This pressure prevents the blood from pooling and also helps overcome the effects of gravity by making it easier for your blood to travel back where it should, up to the heart. To further help blood properly circulate up the leg despite damaged veins, proper varicose vein compression stockings should be graduated. A graduated stocking fits tighter around the ankles, with the pressure decreasing more and more as it extends up the calf and into the thigh.
Compression stockings are often associated with something thick and ugly people wore 40 years ago. That association is no longer valid. Many new materials that meet the necessary compression requirements and standards that did not exist years ago are available today. These materials allow manufacturing of products in any color or style, and suitable for any occasion, like work, playing sports or a night out. Men may often be reluctant to wear compression stockings, but shouldn’t be. If you look around carefully, you’ll notice how many men, athletes including, wearing compression socks. People recognize their benefits, which drives acceptance.
There are three classes of compression stockings and they are determined by how much pressure is applied. The pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), with higher numbers representing higher compression. The three classes are:
Class 1: 15-20 mmHG
Class 2: 20-30 mmHG
Class 3: 30-40 mmHG
Class 1 compression stockings for varicose veins should be well tolerated by most people, and should suffice in the relief of symptoms and the treatment of varicose veins. Melinda and I both used Class 1 compression stocking and found them both comfortable to wear and effective. We have heard conflicting information about Class 2 and Class 3 stockings requiring a doctor’s prescription, so that is a potential caveat to keep in mind. Having never tried anything beyond Class 1 however, it is something we cannot confirm.
How To Use Them
To work effectively, compression stockings should be put on before daily swelling in the legs builds. This typically means first thing in the morning, before you had a chance to get up and move around too much. Unless told to do so by your doctor, do not wear compression stockings while sleeping. If you shower in the mornings, it’s ok to do so first. You should not wear compression socks while bathing.
If you get too far into your daily activities before putting compression stockings on, blood may start to pool, and swelling may appear. Once that occurs, you should be careful. Putting on compression socks at that point can trap the extra blood in the legs, potentially making things worse.
Where To Get Them
Compression socks for varicose veins can be bought online, at full-service pharmacies or most medical supply stores. If it is within your budget, we would recommend leaning towards some of the higher end ones. They will be worth the extra cost, especially in the long run. This is particularly true if you plan on wearing them every day, as you likely should. All compression socks will lose their elasticity and stop being beneficial over time. The better quality products will keep working longer and always be more effective.
I switched between two selections, the Vitalsox Graduated Compression Socks and the Wanderlust Air Travel Compression Stockings, depending on my activities on any given day. Melinda used this Therafirm model pretty much every day. We both made our picks due to product affordability and solid reviews, and were both quite happy with our selections.
We hope this information was helpful. If there is any other information you think we can provide you with, or if you have any questions, by all means, please leave us a comment below.