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Compression Stockings

Compression stockings are a treatment option for varicose veins. Suitable for individuals with swollen ankles or heavy, aching legs, they work to prevent the veins from dilating, improving a patient's symptoms.

Compression stockings have fewer side effects than alternative minimally invasive varicose vein treatments, like sclerotherapy or endovenous thermal ablation.

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What You Should Know About Compression Stockings

When Are Compression Stockings Needed?

Compression stockings or socks are a medical-grade treatment for several vascular conditions involving the lower limbs. As a special elastic sock made to your personal limb measurements, they help support blood circulation. You should consider stockings if you have the following medical conditions:

  • Chronic Venous Insufficiency: A condition where the veins cannot pump enough blood back to the heart, leading to swelling, pain, and skin changes.

  • Spider Veins: Small, damaged veins that can appear on the surface of the legs or face, often looking like a spider web.

  • Varicose Veins: Large, swollen veins often found on the legs, caused by weakened or damaged vein walls and valves.

Stockings are particularly effective when treating symptomatic varicose veins. While they won't cure the condition, if you struggle with aching, throbbing, or itching due to venous pooling, compression stockings can help – especially if worn continually throughout the day. 

 

How Do Compression Stockings Help?

Blood flows from the heart to the lower limbs via arteries and because of the high pressure and gravity, blood reaches the legs without any issue. However, as the blood begins to return to the heart, it must work against gravity. That is why veins contain valves, which prevent the backflow of blood.

 

When these valves become damaged, blood pools around your ankles or calves. Malfunctioning valves will result in varicose veins due to this back pressure and venous pooling.

Compression stockings increase the pressure in the legs, preventing blood from pooling. They also compress the twisted varicose surface veins, allowing blood to flow back to your heart without obstructions. This helps alleviate symptoms such as heavy or aching legs, swollen ankles, restless legs, or night cramps.

 

How Are Compression Stockings Used?

For best results, you should wear compression stockings throughout the day. Putting them on first thing in the morning will reduce symptoms to a minimum. If advised by your doctor, you may also need to wear compression socks when sleeping.

 

You should always wear compression stockings in situations that may aggravate your condition, including:

  • Prolonged standing or sitting

  • Pregnancy

  • Long flights or travel journeys

Depending on the compression level, stockings are safe to wear throughout the day. Regular breaks and proper skin care are essential to avoid any potential skin irritation or discomfort from prolonged use.

 

The length of the compression stocking is based on the severity of your varicose veins. For the stocking to work effectively, it should compress the entirety of any visible twisted veins. 

 

How To Choose Compression Levels

Not all compression stockings are the same. The primary difference between stockings is the level of pressure. The more severe the vascular disease, the greater the pressure needed. Pressure is either measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) or graded mild, moderate, and firm.

1. Mild Compression: Ideal for relieving tired, achy legs and minimal swelling, suitable for daily wear and for those standing or sitting for long periods.

2. Moderate Compression: Used to treat mild to moderate varicose veins, oedema, and to help prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in individuals who are more active or have been recommended this level by a healthcare professional.

3. Firm Compression: Recommended for moderate to severe varicose veins, moderate oedema, and post-surgical use under the guidance of a healthcare provider to ensure proper use and to manage more significant symptoms or conditions. Some prescribers also provide extra-firm stockings for the most advanced disease. 

  • Can medication and compression stockings treat varicose veins?
    Medication and compression stockings may help with mild symptoms but it doesnot treat the root cause of varicose veins. The most effective treatments are through surgery and minimally invasive procedures.
  • Can I get my varicose veins treated if I am diabetic?
    Diabetic patients can get their varicose veins treated using minimally invasive techniques that leave minimal wounds that heal well.
  • How long is the stay in hospital after varicose vein treatment?
    Varicose vein treatments are usually done as a day surgery. Patients will be discharged after the procedure.
  • How soon can I return to work after treatment?
    While Dr Ooi provides his patients with a 2 week medical certificate, some patients may be able to return to work within 4-5 days.
  • Can I exercise after varicose vein treatment?
    Low-impact exercises like walking are allowed after treatment, but patients should avoid strenuous exercises for at least a week.
  • Where does my blood flow once the damaged veins are removed?
    The blood in the affected veins will reroute into your healthier veins and flow normally after varicose vein treatment.
  • Will my insurance cover varicose vein treatments?
    Depending on the severity and symptoms of your varicose veins, your treatment can be insurance claimable. Contact our clinic to find out more information on your out-of-pocket fees.

Dr Desmond Ooi: Prescribed Compression Stockings in Singapore

 

For individuals seeking relief from varicose veins or other venous issues, consult with Dr. Desmond Ooi for personalised care. With expertise in varicose vein treatment, Dr. Desmond Ooi can prescribe compression stockings tailored to your measurements, helping alleviate discomfort and promote better vein health. Take the first step towards improved circulation and vein management by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Desmond Ooi today.

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