Venous Insufficiency and You

It has been a very long time since we have discussed the major diagnosis of people who wear compression hosiery or compression socks … Venous Insufficiency. I thought it might be a good time to revisit this malady, its causes and treatment.

One of the first signs you may experience in venous insufficiency is tired, heavy legs, discoloration or swelling. You may experience minor pain. These symptoms may be the result of insufficient blood flowing back to the heart. As the blood pools or congests in the legs, the veins become insufficient. They expand to accommodate the volume of blood in the lower leg and even appear to meander. Up to 13 million people in the U.S. suffer from chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).

Competent Vein

Competent Vein

Most leg problems are caused by age, obesity, sedate lifestyle, standing or sitting for long periods of time, past surgeries, pregnancy, or heredity. You must remember the heart is a one-way pump. The heart pumps blood from the heart through the arteries to the various parts of the body. The veins have the arduous task to return the blood to the heart along with waste and metabolic residue. The movement of the blood toward the heart can be a challenge. Gravity forces the veins to work harder to return the blood to the heart. The veins have little one way valves that work with the leg muscles to pump the blood back to the heart.  In a normal vein, one way valves are located ever 2 – 5 cm to aid in the proximal flow toward the heart. When calf muscles relax, the valves close to prevent blood from flowing backward into the lower part of the veins. These valves are fragile and can be easily damaged. The contraction and relaxation of the calf muscles work as a “secondary pump” to move the blood. Many things can happen that interrupts this blood flow. The valves in the veins may be injured

Contraction of the calf muscle

Relaxation of the calf muscle

Relaxation of the calf muscle

so they do not close completely and allow the blood to remain in the lower leg. Fortunately, the compression provided by your support stockings or compression socks assists the muscles to close the valve properly and to pump the blood back to the heart. When blood remains in the lower extremities, it does not pick up the waste products of cellular metabolism and transport them to the liver for detoxification and to the kidneys for disposal. These waste products remain in the lower extremity and when a small scratch occurs it may not heal and it can become a deep wound or even cellulitis.

The moral to this story is you need to get exercise to make those calf muscles pump (you might want to consider walking or a stationary exercise pedal and wear your compression stockings or support socks. If you are in the very early stages of venous insufficiency, a mild medical compression (15-20mmHg) may be adequate. Something like the Mediven forMen or the pretty Mediven Sheer and Soft. If you have moderate Venous Insufficiency, you might consider in a 20-30mmHg compression Jobst forMen  or the new women’s Jobst soSoft and if your Venous Insufficiency has progressed further, you might consider, upon your physician’s recommendation, 30-40 mmHg the Sigvaris Sea Island Cotton  or Juzo Dynamic (Varin).

If you have venous insufficiency, and have experienced the difference a pair of support hose or support socks can make in your daily life, please scroll to the bottom and leave a comment as a guest.


18 Responses

  1. I would like someone to let me know how you manage to make compression hose last for 4 to 6 months. The best I can do is 2 months.

    Irene Arizona

    • Hi Irene,
      Thanks for asking your question. The compression in stockings and socks will last four to six months. We suggest using the Sigvaris Donnning Gloves to aid in donning your stockings. I know it is very hard to keep from putting those nasty holes in your stockings, I could never get my stockings on without the Sigvaris Donning Gloves and I would have ever so many more holes or runs without the gloves.

  2. I’m “new” to this site after being happy I could order the donning gloves I like that are no longer offered where I purchase my compression hose (due to many peoples’s allergy to latex). I’m going to investigate your prices on the hose I wear and I have a feeling they may be cheaper! What I wanted to communicate to today is that your description of venous insufficiency is the best I’ve read! Very informative and easy to understand.
    Thank you very much!

    • Hi Shirley,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave your comments. We love hearing from you!

    • I am also allergic to latex and I use fabric gloves with tiny dots on them. They work so much better. I get them through the Support Hose Plus too. If you wear the open toe, I also use the Sigvaris Foot Slip, it covers your toes to help put on the stocking – unfortunately, it only works for open toes.

  3. Dear Vanda,

    I was diagnosed with CVI back in 2005, but because of my own stubbornness hadn’t stayed consistent in my doctor-advised compression program. Since then, my condition has worsened.

    I visited a different doctor after moving from the island of Oahu (Hawaii) to Maui (Hawaii) and related my issues with him. He agreed with my original doctor’s diagnosis and prescribed the same treatment.

    I’ve since re-dedicated myself to tackling this problem and getting healthier. Part of my program included using the Mediven Sheer & Soft pantyhose in 8-15mmHG compression in size XL, “Natural” color. I’ve found these to be extremely comfortable and easy to put on and keep on all day. The price is also very affordable which I appreciate. I wear these daily and have been extremely happy with them, compliance is not an issue. I had tried compression socks previously, but they did not have the desired results that my doctor was looking for. Full-length compression was the only alternative.

    The only issues I have with the Medivens is that the color selection is poor (only 2 colors), and I probably need to step up into the 15-20mmHG range. Unfortunately, there are no Mediven dealers on my island and no real source I can turn to to get information about the products in person and ordering online, when shipping costs are factored in, is expensive to Hawaii.

    Living in Hawaii, it’s hot and humid year round and despite that, it’s no reason for me not to wear my required compression stockings. As a 37 year old husband and father of two young boys, sometimes that’s difficult to do discreetly. I have been wearing my full length compression stockings with shorts but because my skin is tanned, the “Natural” color that was offered to me is too light and extremely noticeable. I considered just ordering the stockings online, but fear that I would have to eat shipping costs of $20-30 just to “try” the product which would cost another $120 for two pair.

    I have been approached by a few people so far that have noticed my legs and have educated them about my condition and gave the treatments a ringing endorsement each time.

    I appreciate your time in reading this and hope that you are able to accommodate my request. I look forward to hearing back from your company in the future. Thank you for selling such wonderful, life-changing products.

    Maui, HI

    • Hello,
      Thanks for taking the time to share with us. The Natural colored Sheer and Soft are really light and I love the Toffy. When you look at the they have a lot of red in them, but once they are on, they look great!

      Before you order, please take your measurements. Here is How to Measure. The 15-20 compression is fit different than the 8-15. We want to make sure what you order fits. We offer shipping to Maui for only 6.99… very reasonable.

      How lucky you are to be on the island of Maui. We love it there!

  4. Hello Vanda and team:
    I was reading through some of your blogs and I was wondering how I can find the information needed for me to buy the correct type of compression socks. I am in the extremely obese category and I know I have venous insufficiency because my left leg swells everyday and I am seeing a discoloration of my lower leg. I also have two jobs of which both reqire alot of sitting and not much standing. I would be so appreciative if ii could get someone to lead in the right direction of what to buy and at what compression ratio. I am 400 pounds, 6f 3in tall, and I wear a size 15 shoe with wide claves. Please allow me to apologize if I am in the wrong place for this type of info.

    Rod…Dallas, Tx

    • HI! Thank-you for stopping by and asking questions. We do fit a lot of larger folks. You may need someone to help you get the measurements. Measure the smallest part of the ankle above the ankle bone, fullest part of the calf and top of the thigh. When you get the measurements, why don’t you call one of our Certified Fitters at 1-844-472-8807 so we may assist you in the selection of a garment in the correct size and compression.

  5. During the summer, when my Sigvaris stockings are more visible, I get many people telling me that they didn’t even notice it. The ‘natural’ color is a perfect match to my skin color. They are also cool and comfortable!! Thanks!

  6. I just bought a new pair of Jobst Large Petite Natural and I’m not too happy. The top rolls immediately after donning them, not but aout 1/8 to 1/4 inch, just enough to leave a deep impression when I remove them. I can’t help but think this is not very helpful to my leg. I really would like to find a size and proper pressure with toes and a silicone band. Is there such a product?

    • Hi Janet, Thank-you for leaving your comment. No, your stockings should not roll. That can be very detrimental to your leg health. The Large may be too large. We do have a 20-30 knee high closed toe and silicone band…Please call our customer service at 1-844-472-8807 with new measurements. We would like to make sure you are in the correct length and the correct size.

  7. Thank you , Good Job !!!! 🙂 Pleasure doing business with you :> !!!! I like my stockings 🙂 !!!!!!! I am happy with them 😉 !!!!!!!

    • Hi! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

      • Sigvarus are cheaper and are comfortable, but the color is odd. Jobst are more expensive and can be bought to be more sheer and have better color selections. They help my legs greatly. I hurt if I don’t wear compression stockings.

      • Hi! Thanks for leaving you comment. Everyone has their favorite hose or sock. In the Sigvaris line, I love the EverSheer and the Comfort thigh high because they have patented Sensinnov band. This band is not your regular dot band or lace band. It is a looser fitting French style band that does not use pressure to hold up the stocking. It uses the new “sticky” silicone to keep the stocking in place with less skin irritation and has excellent moisture management. I agree the color is a bit light, but I prefer the suntan.

    • I am 29yo, diabetic, wheelchair bound and I need / like to wear kneehighs with open toe. wishing there were more colors, patterns, etc., if you know of any manufacturers or ideas about dying the colors of products now offered!

      • Hi Christine,
        Thanks for stopping by and asking questions. It is very difficult to find colors and patterns in open toe knee high stockings. What compression do you wear?

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