How Do Compression Stockings Work?
Compression socks promote the venous blood flow from the feet back toward the heart overcoming the effects of gravity. Medical grade graduated compression is designed to be stronger in the feet and gradually diminish in pressure as they extend up the calf into the thigh. Properly designed and fitted compression prevent venous blood pooling in the legs and feet, help improve leg symptoms, and decrease the risk of blood clots.
Not Just For Grandma Anymore!
Gone are the days of Grandma’s ugly rubber compression hose. New fabric designs have revolutionized the compression market. They now come in great colors and styles including sheer fabric, different flesh tones, open-toe and closed-toe styles, knee high, thigh high, and pantyhose.
With advances in weaving mechanisms, the leading medical grade compression hose manufacturers have introduced a number of new products. There are now compression socks for most any occasion: work, sports, and an evening out.
The Time & Place For Compression Socks
If you have symptomatic vein disease, you should wear compression when you are up and about, except for bathing. If you wait until later in the morning to put on your socks, the blood will already begin to pool in the lower legs and feet making your symptoms worse.
What about the folks who are lucky enough to not suffer from varicose veins? We believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Wearing compression socks along with regular exercise, healthy weight management, elevation of your legs, and saving your high heels for special occasions will benefit you.
What do the levels of compression mean?
Compression is measured by a unit called mmHg which stands for millimeters of Mercury. This measurement is used to measure pressure. Since gradient compression hosiery exert a gradually decreasing amount of pressure up the leg, this unit of measure helps express the amount of pressure the wearer will feel.
Compression levels are indicated with a range of numbers like “20-30 mmHg”, which means that the amount of compression will not fall below 20 mmHg and not exceed 30 mmHg. The unit of measurement is called “millimeters of mercury” which is a measurement of pressure, also used in blood pressure.
Having “graduated compression” means that the compression is strongest at the ankle and gets lighter as you go up the leg. Not all compression stocking manufacturers properly graduate the compression, so be sure to only wear reputable brands.
One of the confusing aspects of choosing the right compression stocking is to understand the level of compression. Compression stockings have a range of numbers to indicate how much graduated compression the garment has.
- 15-20 mmHg (over the counter)
- extended standing or sitting
- heavy fatigued, tired legs
- 20-30 mmHg
- painful fatigued and aching legs
- spider veins, mild edema (due to pregnancy, age and travelling)
- mild to moderate varicose veins
- elective surgery such as vein stripping, sclerotherapy, etc
- orthostatsis/postural hypotension
- 30-40 mmHg
- moderate/severe edema (pregnancy, risk factors)
- surgery (ost fracture, traumatic edema, orthopedics, vein stripping, phlebectomy, sclerotherapy
- skin changes with and with out healed ulcerations
- 40-50 mmHg and 50-60 mmHg
- severe deep vein thrombosis / Post thrombotic syndrome
- severe skin changes with healed and active ulceration
Can wearing compression stockings be harmful?
Patients with the following conditions should consult a physician before wearing compression
- Arterial insufficiency, intermittent claudication, ischema
- uncontrolled congestive heart failure
- acute dermatitis, weeping dermatosis, cutaneous sepsis
- signs of infections
- excessive venus ulceration\skin sensitivities or allergies
- history of diabetes
- confinement to bed or non-ambulatory use
How should I prepare for my appointment?
- Arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to register and complete paperwork
- Wear loose fitting clothing.
Do I need a prescription?
- You will require a prescription with a diagnosis for compression stockings if you are going to claim them through your health plan, regardless of the compression level.
- If you are not claiming the compression stockings through a medical plan you are required to have a prescription for compression levels 30-40 mmhg and higher.
Note: it is always a good idea to consult a physician with regards to compression stockings.
Will my insurance plan cover compression stockings?
Most medical insurance plans will cover Compression Stockings
Each insurance plan is different, therefore coverage for each product and service will vary from plan to plan. To ensure you understand your coverage it is best if you contact your insurance company to inquire about your plan details.
Upon request, we are happy to direct bill your health benefits plan.
Note:If you would like us to bill your plan directly, please call to inquire if you plan permits direct billing. Some plans require members to pay for the services and submit receipts for reimbursement.
Blue Cross – Belmont – Benefit Plan Administrators – Chamber of Commerce – Claim Secure – Co-operators – Community Services – Desjardins – Equitable Life – Great West Life – Green Shield – Industrial Alliance – Johnson – Manion Wilkins – Manulife – Maxium Benefit Assurance – Standard Life – Sunlife – Workers Compensation Board, etc.