Compression stockings for varicose veins work by applying pressure to improve blood flow from your legs to your heart. Compression stockings for deep vein thrombosis help to drain blood from the legs and avoid a clot occuring. They are available for purchase from our clinic in Auckland, NZ and can be used to improve the symptoms of varicose veins and to prevent and/or manage deep vein thrombosis.
Compression stockings (also known as compression socks) cover your feet, ankles and legs. At Palm Clinic in Auckland, NZ we use below-knee compression stockings as these are more comfortable than thigh high compression.
The pressure that they apply to the legs works to narrow the size of the deep veins which helps to improve blood flow – much like narrowing the tip of a hose increases flow. This increases return of blood from the legs up to the heart , therefore improving symptoms of varicose veins (aching, heaviness and swelling) and reducing the chance of deep vein thrombosis.
When wearing compression stockings, please check your legs daily for signs of skin irritation or redness. The presence of skin irritation may indicate that your stockings don’t fit properly, have been put on incorrectly or an allergy to the stockings. In this case, please remove the stocking and contact us.
The benefits of wearing compression stockings include:
Compression stockings come in different sizes and compression levels to suit the need and size of the leg. Occasionally a leg will not be suitable for an off-the-rack stocking and you will be referred to have a stocking custom fitted. In most cases though, your calf and ankle circumference will be measured to choose the appropriate stocking.
Our compression stockings have ‘graduated pressure’ meaning the pressure is highest at the foot and ankle and gets slightly less as they go up the leg. This creates a pressure gradient which helps the venous circulation return fluid back up the leg.
Varicose Veins – Post Treatment: You must wear the Class 2 compression stockings for 24 hours a day, including sleeping and showering for the first three days after treatment. From day four onwards you can remove the stockings for sleeping and showering but must wear them during the day until two weeks after treatment.
Spider Veins – Post Treatment: The stocking is a lighter Class 1 compression and only needs to be worn for three days for 24 hours a day, then for four days just during the day.
When should you not wear compression stockings?
Your Palm Clinic Doctor will assess your suitability for compression stockings. We may recommend either a lower grade of compression, or to not wear them at all if you have:
Showering in Compression Stockings
Ideally, do not take the stockings off for the first three days, so try to wear them while showering. Treat them like a second skin. It is true that the hosiery can take some time to dry. Try using a fresh towel on the hosiery and dry the thicker parts with a hair dryer. Many patients have a sponge bath in the morning and a complete shower later in the day when they have more time. Be careful in the shower – water, soap and hosiery can be very slippery.
How to Put On Compression Stockings NZ
Unlike normal socks, do not bunch your compression socks up before putting them on. The compression is too high to allow you to pull them up this way. Either stocking can go on either leg so there is no need to choose a left or right.
If your socks are toeless then putting a plastic bag or similar over the top of your toes before sliding the compression socks up will make the process easier.
Wearing plastic gloves or dishwashing gloves makes it much easier to grip the stocking material.
Place the stocking over your foot and pull them up to above your heel bit by bit. Once you have pulled the stocking above your heel, work it bit by bit over the ankle to the upper calf. They only need to cover your upper calf, do not attempt to have them cover the knee. The upper end of the stocking should come to the narrow part of your upper calf below the knee. Smooth out any wrinkles in the stocking as bunching can irritate the skin.
If your stockings feel too long for your leg, don’t roll them down at the top. This will have a tourniquet effect where they are rolled. Instead try to pull them down a little lower and ‘ping’ them to spread the stocking without causing wrinkles. If you are having trouble, call us for advice.
Avoid applying any oil based ointments to your skin under the stockings as these will damage the elastic in the stocking.
Care of Compression Stockings NZ
For the first three days while wearing the stockings in the shower you can wash them like a second skin. Use shower gel and make sure to rinse them well while you are wearing them. You can dry them either with a hair dryer or a warm towel after showering.
From day four onwards you can hand wash them. They can dry over the top of a towel on the heated towel rail. Do not tumble dry.
Very rarely compression stockings can cause issues. If you notice any of the below, remove your stocking and call Palm Clinic:
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Please note that individual results may vary from patient to patient, and the information provided on our website is only a guidance to the possible results.