How Compression Garments promote Leg Health

Varicose  Veins Can Be Unsightly, Painful And Are Often Associated With Tired, Aching Legs.

Treatment: Often, varicose veins can be treated by surgery and minimally invasive procedures. While these procedures can obliterate a varicose vein they cannot prevent new ones from developing. This is because the procedure does not eliminate the underlying factors that caused the varicose vein in the first place.

Compression stockings help counter some of these factors and slow the progression of venous disease and the recurrence of varicose veins!

How Vein Problems Occur

Valves: Veins have valves that keep blood moving in one direction -back toward the heart. Problems begin to occur when a valve no longer works properly. This allows blood to flow backward in the vein. The backup of blood results in higher pressure in the veins below.


High pressure in the veins may strain the wall of the veins, causing them to enlarge. This leads to small bluish spider veins and enlarged varicose veins that become visible bulges underneath the skin.

The high pressure causes more valves to fail with time. The enlarged veins make the valves below to function less efficiently. This results in the varicose veins getting larger or the development of new varicose veins.

Swollen ankles and leg discomfort are often the result of standing or sitting for long periods of time. This slows the flow of blood, reduces the amount of oxygen supplied to the legs and allows fluid to accumulate in the feet and legs. This explains the tired achy feeling after you stand or sit for long periods of time and at the end of the day.

Risk Factors

The risk factors do not cause varicose veins. However, if damage to venous valves occurs then these factors can hasten the development of varicose veins.

Here are some important factors that indicate if you might be pre-disposed to developing varicose veins:

  • Heredity (familial history toward development of varicose veins)
    • Studies have shown that when both parents had varicose veins, 85% of the children also had evidence of varicose veins.
  • Prolonged standing or sitting
    • Standing for long periods of time is particularly stressful to the veins of the legs. As a result of gravity very high pressures develop in the lower legs and calf. Over time the persistent high pressures can damage the valves in the leg.
  • Heavy lifting
    • Intense flexing of muscles applies pressure to the veins causing them to bulge. When this is done frequently, the veins lose their elasticity and become permanently distended or varicosed.
  • Hormonal influences
    • Increases in progesterone levels in the blood during pregnancy and in the second half of a woman’s menstrual cycle allow the vein walls to stretch more, to accommodate the increased volume of blood.
    • While most enlarged veins that develop during pregnancy subside within a few months after delivery, there tends to be an increase in varicose veins with multiple pregnancies.
    • As a result of the repeated changes in progesterone levels, older women are more likely to develop varicose veins.

How Does Compression Therapy Work?

Compression therapy counters the high pressures that can develop in the legs and reduce the risk of developing additional varicose veins. It also helps blood flow by compressing the veins and making the valves in the veins function more efficiently.

Furthermore, gradient compression reduces swelling and helps prevent pooling of blood in the legs, by delivering the highest level of compression at the ankle and gently decreasing up the leg. Improving blood flow helps the wearer experience immediate relief from tired, aching legs.

Medical stockings are available in different compression levels to meet the therapy needs based on your diagnosis. While compression stockings of 8-15mmHg or 15-20mmHg are normally worn by healthy people, if you suffer from chronic venous disease you should consult with your physician for the compression level that is appropriate for you.

Maintaining Leg Health

  • Maintaining leg health is a life long activity. The regular use of compression garments helps to counter the damaging effects of high pressure in the veins. It also helps improve blood circulation and provide immediate relief from tired aching legs.
  • Taking steps to improve blood flow helps reduce the chances of developing chronic venous disease and managing your varicose veins. They include:

• Getting regular exercise

• Wearing comfortable shoes

• Not standing or sitting for long periods of time

• Not crossing your legs while sitting

• Eating a balanced diet

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