As you may know, a varicose vein is a large, very visible vein, located just under the surface of the skin. Varicose veins are more common in the legs and feet, as the blood returning to the heart has farther to travel. Most vascular surgeons recommend the use of compression stockings to minimise varicose veins, improve circulation, relieve the pain and discomfort, and prevent them from getting worse.
While there is mixed evidence that the use of compression stockings helps in minimising varicose veins, most studies do support their use. While compression stockings may not eliminate varicose veins, they may reduce associated pain and swelling. In this article, we’ll talk about the use of compression stockings, the different types of compressions stockings and their benefits…
Different Types of Compression Stockings
The compression stockings you should use depends on the type and cause of your varicose veins. Compression stockings are of different types:
- Support pantyhose: These do exert some amount of pressure, but are not very tight.
- Compression socks and stockings: These provide more support and pressure than support pantyhose and are available at many drugstores, pharmacies, and online stores.
- Prescription compression stockings: These provide the greatest amount of pressure, which is just enough but not too much that it would affect a person’s circulation.
Compression stockings are typically knee-high or thigh-high. Knee-high stockings promote circulation in the lower leg, especially when exercising.
Using Compression Stockings
You should put on compression stockings in the morning before you get out of bed. This is because when you are sleeping, the valves in the veins of your leg function more efficiently than when you are sitting or standing.
This is why varicose veins are better early in the morning and then become swollen and painful as the day progresses. This is why putting on compression stockings in the morning helps keep the valves in the right position to ensure healthy blood circulation in your legs during the day.
Compression stockings help relieve the following conditions that are associated with varicose veins:
- Swollen ankles
- Aching legs
- Fatigue and pain
- Restless legs Night-time cramps
When it comes to compression stockings, you should speak to your doctor or vascular surgeon about the right degree of compression for you. There are different levels of compression, which are mild, moderate, firm and extra-firm.
Compression stockings that exert mild pressure are recommended if you have chronic mild venous insufficiency to support healthy blood flow so that your legs feel lighter. Compressions stockings that exert moderate pressure are recommended if you already have varicose veins and are experiencing mild symptoms. Compression stockings that exert firm and extra firm pressure are recommended if you have serious cases of venous diseases, such as leg ulcers, deep vein thrombosis, and lymphatic oedema.
You should ensure that you use the right size and fit of compression stockings. You will need to take measurements to get the right fit. If you are not sure, do consult your varicose veins specialist, who can guide you as to the right compression stockings for you.
When Compression Stockings are most likely to benefit you
Compression stockings are most likely to benefit you if:
- You have varicose veins or leg ulcers: While compression stockings may not cure these conditions they will go a long way in combating the general pain, aching, and discomfort that accompanies these conditions.
- You have recently had surgery or have been on bed rest: If you have varicose veins, being immobile can increase your risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
- You are going on a long flight: You will be inactive and confined to a small space for many hours, which can increase your risk for developing blood clots. Research has shown that those who wear compression stockings during a flight are less likely to develop both varicose veins and DVT.
- You have a clotting disorder: This can put you at risk for DVT, as can a family history of varicose veins and DVT.
Taking care of your Compression Stockings
While taking care of your compression stockings isn’t difficult, here are some tips to ensure that you take care of your compression stockings in the right way…
- Do not use a washing machine, but hand wash your stockings
- Use cold water
- Use soap and a mild detergent, not fabric softener
- Hang your stockings to dry, instead of using a dryer
Laser Treatment for Varicose Veins
Besides wearing compression stockings, laser treatment for varicose veins is the most common procedure to treat varicose veins. A laser is a focused beam of light and your vascular surgeon uses a laser to treat your varicose veins. The way this works is that laser heat damages a vein, which causes scar tissue to form. This scar tissue then closes the vein and a closed vein loses its source of blood and dies. After a year of two, the vein disappears. Laser treatments include:
1)Simple Laser Treatment: This is done on the outside of your skin. It can treat varicose veins just underneath your skin. Your vascular surgeon may schedule more than one laser session. Treatment sessions are typically scheduled every 6 to 12 weeks or as recommended by your vascular surgeon.
2)Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT): This can be used to treat larger varicose veins in the legs. A thin tube (catheter) is inserted into the vein and a laser fibre is then passed through it. During this procedure, the vascular surgeon watches the vein on a duplex ultrasound screen. Laser treatment is less painful than vein ligation and stripping and has a shorter recovery time. For laser treatment, only a local anaesthetic or sedation is needed. EVLT has a very high success rate and typically closes veins about 94 out of 100 times.
Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala at the Flow Vascular Clinic has deep experience treating varicose veins using EVLT. He treats each patient holistically, with a mission to provide personalized, high-quality healthcare. Dr. Sandhyala treats his patients’ vascular problems effectively to ensure their long-term health. So, the next time you have any questions or concerns regarding varicose veins and their treatment, do consult Dr. Sandhyala and resolve all of your doubts in one go!
For more information about wearing compression stockings and other treatment for Varicose Veins, DVT, or other vascular conditions, contact Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala at (+91) 9989649498 or 9959033037, or at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.drabhilash.com