Q: I’m interested in varicose vein treatment but hate wearing compression stockings. Are they really necessary?
A: This issue is, without question, the biggest complaint we hear with regards to varicose vein treatment. Graduated compression stockings are specialized lower extremity garments that encourage good blood flow in the veins. Wearing compression stockings does not make varicose veins go away, but they are a very effective way to help manage the problem. They alleviate leg discomfort from existing varicose veins, control leg swelling, and prevent progression of existing veins. The stockings are designed to be most supportive at the ankles where the vein pressures are greatest and apply less pressure higher in the legs, hence the term ‘graduated compression’.
A knee-high stocking with 20-30 mm of pressure, available without a prescription, is a good choice for most people. Occasional daytime use may suffice for those with mild leg symptoms but regular use is recommended for those whose jobs or lifestyles involve prolonged standing or sitting. They are not needed during exercise or sleep. They need to fit properly: – if too loose, and they are ineffective; and if too tight, they are uncomfortable. and forFor this reason, custom fitting sometimes is sometimes needed.
Compression stockings are an important part of a comprehensive approach to managing varicose veins and maintaining overall leg health. Even those who have had varicose vein treatment can benefit from continued use of compression stockings, as they potentially prevent formation of new veins over time. The two other important components are regular exercise and following through with varicose vein evaluation and treatment. Those who can do all of these measures definitely give themselves an advantage to avoiding chronic varicose veins problems and do best over time.