Before opting to have surgery or drug therapy for your varicose veins, you might consider compression stockings as a first choice for treatment. Also known as support hose or support socks, they may help reduce the symptoms of discomfort, heaviness, and swelling in your legs that are commonly experienced with varicose veins.
Compression stockings are simple to use, you just put them on like a regular pair of socks. They are tighter than a regular pair of socks and getting them on will take some practice. If you find you cannot get them on or cannot get them on correctly there are implements you can buy to help you get them on.
When I say get them on correctly I mean that when you have them on there should be no rolls or creases anywhere. Rolls or creases can cause damage to your leg by contributing to ulcer formation. In a leg that has circulation issues to begin with, you do not want to do anything that will cause you more problems.
Varicose veins stockings, when worn correctly, apply pressure to your legs in a gradient style. This means that the stockings are tighter at the ankle than they are at the knee. This gradient pressure helps the blood in your legs get pushed back up the leg to the heart.
Compression stockings come in knee high and thigh high lengths and are to be worn all day long. Depending on where your varicose veins are located your doctor may prescribed either length. Put them on in the morning and take them off at bedtime.
Size is important. You cannot just go to the store and pick up any old pair of comrpession stockings. Measurements have to be taken to ensure you do not buy stockings that are too tight. Measuring is quick and easy. Take a tape measure and starting at the bottom of your heel, keeping the tape measure taut measure up to the back of your knee. Then measure around at the widest point of your calf.
Give these measurements to your doctor so she can prescribe the right size stockings. If your doctor wants you to have thigh high stockings, then measure from the bottom of your heel all the way up to the top of your thigh. You may need some assistance for this measurement unless you have done work as a contortionist.
Your doctor has a few different brands available that she can prescribe and the decision to use one over another has only to do with her personal preference. If the first one that is prescribed does not relieve your symptoms, ask for a different kind. Some stockings even have zippers to make it easier for you to get them on and are probably the most expensive. You may have your choice of colors, too.
Cost is another factor to be aware of. Compression stockings are much more affordable than surgery or drugs. Your insurance may help with the cost as long as your doctor has prescribed them. Of course you should see a doctor for professional medical advice.