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What does compression stockings mean?

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11.10.2016

Compression stockings are one of the basic means for preventing varicose veins, as well as an essential element of surgical treatment and sclerotherapy. Moreover, compression stockings are produced to fit specific disease states where pressure of various range is required. Therefore, medical stockings have corresponding compression class marks. The packaging of medical stockings should bear clear indications on the compression class and pressure in millimeters of mercury.

The mechanism by which the compression stockings therapy works is based on precisely calculated and graduated pressure on venous walls. Compression stockings of different length and tight form an additional casing supporting veins and protecting them from excessive extension. Pressure exerted on veins reduces their lumen. This results in accelerating the speed of venous drainage and prevents forming of thrombus. 

The compression of soft tissue of lower leg prevents leg swelling, fatigue and muscle pain. The compression of venous wall supports venous valves and prevents the blood pooling. 

Distribution of compression

Distributed amount of compression is one of the factors ensuring the medical efficiency of compression stockings: 100% at the ankle, 70% at the calf and 40% at the upper part of thigh. As a result, the compression gradually diminishes from ankles with max compression towards thighs thus causing more blood to return to the heart.

Medical compression stockings branded Lauma Medical provides physically graduated compression in three pressure ranges:

Compression Class A: 10 – 17 mm Hg

energize tired legs and feet
improve circulation
assist in the prevention of swelling and varicose veins

Compression Class 1: 18 – 17 mm Hg

tired, aching, fatigued legs
minor ankle and leg swelling
minor varicosities
minor varicosities during pregnancy

Compression Class 2: 23 – 32 mm Hg

Moderate ankle and leg swelling
Moderate varicosities
Post-sclerotherapy applications
Moderate ankle or leg swelling and varicosities during pregnancy

One should consider the use of compression stockings when surgery, childbirth, rehabilitation after surgery on the lower extremities, or prolonged bed rest is expected. Blood flows slowly in leg veins, when a person is in lying position, and it can lead to the stagnation of blood in patients with limited mobility; surgical intervention and childbirth involves the risk of occurrence of thromboembolism. Compression stockings will help accelerate blood circulation and prevent thromboembolism during childbirth and surgery.

Wearing hospital compression stockings in following cases - 13 - 18 mm Hg .: 

- Surgeries
- Prevention of deep vein thrombosis (for people with varicose veins disease, after sclerotherapy)
- Prevention of thromboembolism
- Before and after childbirth, as well during the childbirth
- Patients in intensive care units
- Bedridden patients who are in the long-term bed rest
- Long-term immobile patients (state after sustained insult, infarct, burns, hip fracture and other injuries)

How to put on compression stockings 

Compression stockings should be put on in the morning, before swelling appears, and preferably not getting out of bed. It is preferably to use rubber gloves when putting on compression stockings; all decorations should be taken off from your hands. Legs must be dry. In order to facilitate the process legs can be powdered with talc or baby powder. Use a special silk sock (for the compression class 2) to ease putting on compression stockings with open or closed toe. How to put on compression stockings see below.

Insert your hand into the stocking and grip the heel.
Turn the stocking inside out up to the heel.
Put on the toe and heel parts of the stocking and ensure that your heel is centered in the heel pocket.
Bring the rest of stocking up over the leg.
Smooth out any creases thus ensuring graduated compression.

How to take off compression stockings

1. You may use rubber gloves to take off your compression stockings; any decorations should be removed from your hands. Take hold of the top of the garment and peel it downwards to the foot. 

2. First, take off the stocking from the heel and then from the foot.

Recommendations on care          

Wash daily using mild detergent in water of 30-40º C.
Do not wring out the water; the garment must be gently squeezed in a dry towel.
Air dry avoiding exposure to heating devices and direct sunlight.
To recover the adhesive properties of silicone bands on stockings, please, rub the bands with an alcohol wipe.
Do not use bleaching agents and fabric conditioners.
Do not cut off technological threads.