Compression Stockings (Information)

Picture of compression stockings

Most of the time varicose veins treatment begins with the use of compression stockings. These stockings are strong elastic hosiery designed to increase circulation in the legs. They are used to treat various vascular issues, such as phlebitis, edema and varicose veins. These stockings come in various forms depending on the condition for which the patient is being treated.

Types of Compression Stockings

The most common form of compression stockings is known as gradient. This stocking exerts the greatest amount of pressure at the ankle with a gradual reduction of pressure along the length of the hose. This type of stocking is the most effective at reducing swelling in the legs as well as a bulging varicose vein. The length of the stocking depends upon the location of the problem vein. The optimal fit for hose is when it extends above the problem area to achieve adequate circulation. Stockings that are low pressure may be purchased without a prescription. A stocking with high pressure requires a prescription to avoid obstruction to the patient's arteries.

What if Compression Stockings Don't Work?

If compression stocking treatment does not alleviate the condition, there are procedures which can help. These procedures should only be done if recommended by a physician and performed by a vascular specialist. Small areas may be treated through sclerotherapy, which involves a chemical that is injected into the vein to seal it off. Other treatments involve minor surgery to insert a catheter to cauterize the vein (VNUS Closure) or to remove it completely (Ambulatory Microphlebectomy). New technology involves the use of laser treatments, which are also effective to reduce swelling (Laser Vein Removal).

Once the problem veins have been treated, circulation will be performed by the healthy veins in the leg. This is why vascular specialists recommend the use of compression hose before and after treatment to promote healthy circulation. Although the problem can recur, the best way to prevent this is through the use of compression hose. Other preventive measures include losing weight, avoiding tight clothing, smoking cessation and moderate exercise.

If you would like to know more information on ways to help prevent varicose veins please view our Ways to Prevent Spider and Varicose Veins Graphic .