Varicose Veins and Compression Stockings
If you suffer from varicose veins you know all too well that they can impact your self confidence. You decide to wear long pants on a hot summer’s day, then when you summon up the courage to wear shorts or a skirt, you feel like everyone is staring at your legs. It doesn’t have to be this way though.
There are at home treatments that can help manage the appearance of varicose veins and spider veins like compression stockings – so you can regain your confidence and show your legs off to the world.
What are varicose veins or spider veins?
Before we jump into the best treatment available, it is important to understand what varicose veins are and how they develop.
Varicose veins occur when valves aren’t functioning properly. Veins have one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backward.
When these valves fail, blood pools at the lower parts of your body due to gravity and the veins enlarge.
The veins there are the farthest from your heart (specifically the legs).
Compression stockings help do the work of these faulty valves by pushing the blood back to your heart.
Pregnancy, weight gain, lack of activity or your body type.
Each of these are thought to be the driving factors towards varicose veins.
Often appearing in late 20’s, early 30’s, they are often considered to be just a cosmetic concern, but the condition can lead to pain and discomfort.
Many people with varicose veins complain of aching legs, especially after standing for long periods of time.
As you age, the risk of varicose veins increases.
Valve wear, tear and deterioration occurs overtime which can allow some blood to flow back into and pool in your vein.
Women are at higher risk of developing varicose veins than other genders. Female hormones tend to relax vein walls.
Birth control pills and implants can also increase your risk of varicose veins.
During pregnancy, many hormones are released and the volume of blood in your body increases.
This change supports the growing fetus, but also can enlarge varicose veins in your legs.
Being overweight puts added pressure on your veins.
Standing and/or Sitting for long periods of time:
Venous blood flow is reduced if you are sitting or standing in the same position for long periods of time.
Gravity pulls blood into the legs when standing for extended periods which causes blood to collect.
Treatments – Compression Stockings & Socks for Varicose Veins
When treating varicose veins you can opt for sclerotherapy, laser ablation surgical removal, or the less invasive treatment; compression socks.
Compression socks put pressure on your legs, which encourages venous blood flow to gently push blood and fluid back up the leg.
This increased pressure on the leg prevents the veins from collapsing, reduces the amount of blood pooling in the leg, reduces the appearance of veins and also alleviates pain.
Wearing a good-quality pair of compression stockings has been shown to reduce the formation and severity of varicose veins.
If you spend all day on your feet, pregnant or have a low activity level then you’re at risk.
Prevention is always better than treatment, and many cosmetic doctors recommend wearing compression stockings even before varicose veins have developed to avoid the condition altogether.
If you have already had your varicose veins surgically removed, a pair of compression stockings will help with recovery and prevent further problems.
Graduated compression socks and stockings are medical devices. Consequently these must be fitted correctly.
Stockings which are too tight will cut off circulation, and those that are too loose will have little impact in your varicose vein treatment.
To measure your legs, follow the steps below first thing in the morning (before your legs have had a chance to swell):
Thigh – Measure one thigh at the widest point just below the crotch
Calf – Measure one calf at the widest point
Ankle – Measure one ankle at the narrowest point above the bone
Leg Length – Measure one leg from the floor to the crease of your buttocks
Some who suffer from varicose veins may also suffer from swelling in the lower limbs.
You may need to purchase two different sizes to allow for any fluctuation in your leg size.
Choosing the right type of Compression Stockings
Medical Grade Graduated Compression socks and stockings come in different strengths.
The amount of compression is determined in the amount of compression from the ankle to the top in millimeters of mercury (or MmHg).
* 15-20mmHg – Class I, for varicose vein prevention
* Class II, or 20-30mmHg compression, is generally used to manage those who already have been diagnosed with varicose or spider veins.
In 2018 researchers found that those who wore compression stockings for a period of only one week experienced a reduction of pain associated with varicose veins: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1078588417306421
What stockings are for you?
Undoubtedly as will need to wear your socks & stockings daily – so you should choose socks that are breathable and made with quality materials and good stitch-work.
Graduated compression stockings need to be tight and if the quality is poor, they’re likely to split and ladder, therefore rendering them useless.
To conclude, we only ever supply the highest quality compression garments and we’ve selected two in the treatment for varicose veins.
Two of the best compression stockings for varicose veins on the market are:
Sigvaris Thigh High Cotton Stockings and JOBST® Ultrasheer Thigh High Compression Stockings.
The Sigvaris cotton thigh high CII stockings are specially for those with sensitive skin.
These unisex stockings are made in Switzerland with a silicone blend.
This makes them softer, easier to put on but also highly durable.
The Sigvaris also are crafted with a wide comfortable support band that stays in place, so you won’t find yourself pulling them up all day.
The JOBST® Ultrasheer Thigh High with Lace Band Compression Stockings are constructed with a high performance silicone blend fabric.
These are long lasting and retains the garments shape and compression even under extended wear and washing.
These latex free stockings are designed with a reinforced heel and smooth breathable fabric.
If you need any help with choosing a pair of compression stcokings to start your varicose vein treatment, please contact us, we’re here to help!