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All About Compression Therapy

Compression Therapy
Written by Dr. Gesner

Compression stockings and socks have long been used to promote blood flow from the legs to the heart. Here at our Jacksonville vein clinic, we prescribe medical-grade stockings as part of our compression therapy program.

Why is this seemingly simple item so useful? Read on.

How compression stockings work. Compression therapy is a straightforward mechanical treatment; by applying compression with an elastic garment, blood is helped along on its way back to the heart.

Stockings are made so that the greatest degree of compression is applied at their lowest part, near the ankle, with gradually decreasing compression as they go up the legs. This graduated compression helps decrease pressure in the veins and prevents the back flow or stagnation of blood that weak or diseased veins allow.

Who can benefit from compression therapy? Compression therapy may be prescribed for those who have had vein surgery or other vein treatments, and those who suffer from certain symptoms of compromised or diseased veins, such as a heavy feeling, aching, or swelling in the legs.

Our patients who may benefit from compression therapy include:

– People whose jobs or routines require that they stand or sit for long periods each day
– Women who are pregnant
– Patients on anticoagulants
– People with deep vein thrombosis
– Those with spider or varicose veins

What types of stockings are used in this therapy? There are various types of stockings, some of which are available over the counter and others that are only available by prescription. While both kinds operate on the same principles of compression, it’s important to have guidance from a qualified healthcare professional who is familiar with your particular symptoms and/or disease.

Compression stockings vary in the degree of pressure they apply, and may be knee high or go to the top of the thigh. They are available in an increasing number of colors and styles.

When compression therapy is prescribed by a vascular physician, he or she will take into consideration a number of factors, from the severity of your condition to your activity level. This helps ensure that you receive the compression stockings that are right for you.

Some compression stockings may be covered by insurance. Check with your insurance company to find out what medical equipment is included in your coverage.

How compression stockings are used. Compression stockings are usually worn throughout the day, but not during the night. They are put on first thing in the morning when leg swelling is likely to be at its lowest. Depending upon the strength of the stockings, they can be a bit difficult to put on. Your healthcare provider can give you tips on how to properly put on the stockings and how to make putting them on easier.

How you can learn more about compression therapy. Our physicians will be glad to answer your questions about compression stockings and provide a complete vascular analysis. Please contact us to set up a consultation.

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