Wearing compression stockings is new to many people. This is why our certified compression fitters take the time to review your information and work to ensure you have the right style and fit for you.
.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.
What are compression stockings?
Graduated Compression stockings are specially made, snug-fitting, stretchy socks that gently squeeze your leg. The stockings are tighter around your ankle and get looser as they move up your leg.
Who Wears Compression Stockings?
- People with or at risk for circulation problems
- People who’ve just gotten surgery
- People who stand or sit all day at work
- Pregnant women
- People who spend long stretches of time on airplanes, like pilots
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.
Why do people wear compression stockings?
People wear compression stockings for comfort, to do better in sports, and to help prevent serious medical conditions.
Basically, they improve your blood flow. They can lessen pain and swelling in your legs. They can also lower your chances of getting deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – which is a kind of blood clot, and other circulation problems
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.
Compression stockings can keep your legs from getting tired and achy. They can also ease swelling in your feet and ankles as well as help prevent and treat spider and varicose veins. They may even stop you from feeling light-headed or dizzy when you stand up.
What are Blood Clots and DVT's?
Blood clots typically form when blood has a chance to pool. Compression keeps the blood moving, making it harder for it to pool in your veins and make a clot. If a clot forms and breaks free, it can travel with your blood and get stuck somewhere. Clots make it harder for blood to flow around them, and that can cause swelling, discolored skin, and other serious medical problems.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain or swelling, but also can occur with no symptoms.
How do I Wear Compression Stockings?
Smooth out the stockings so they lie flat against your skin. Avoid bunching.
Make sure they aren’t too long. Don’t fold or roll the tops down, because that can make them too tight. It could cause blood flow problems or cut off your circulation like a tourniquet.
If your doctor told you to wear them, you’ll probably want to keep them on most of the time. But you can take them off to shower or bathe. You can wear socks, slippers, and shoes over compression stockings.
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
- uncontrolled congestive heart failure
- acute dermatitis, weeping dermatosis, cutaneous sepsis
- signs of infections
- excessive venous ulceration\skin sensitivities or allergies
- history of diabetes
- confinement to bed or non-ambulatory use
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.
How should I prepare for my appointment?
- Arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to register and complete paperwork
- Wear loose fitting clothing.
- Bring along a copy of your prescription
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.