What are compression stockings?
When most people think about compression stockings, they think about those white toe-less knee-high socks that people wear when they are in the hospital. Those do offer some support and prevention against blood clots while you’re lying in a hospital bed all day. However, they do not provide an even compression gradient to prevent excess fluid from pooling in your feet and ankles when you are walking, standing, or sitting.
True compression stockings are designed to prevent fluid retention and increased leg swelling. They are tighter around the foot and ankle and loosen slightly as they go up to your knee, or in some cases thigh. Please note that compression stockings do not get rid of the swelling; there are other resources and techniques for this (see below).
What type of person should wear compression stockings?
Compression stockings are beneficial for everyone, even if you don’t have any leg swelling or circulatory problems. Athletes use compression stockings to keep the circulation in their legs as good as possible, especially during longer endurance sports. Nurses, teachers, and anyone that stands a lot during their workday will benefit from compression stockings to prevent fluid retention. Pregnancy-induced or medication-induced swelling in the legs can be prevented with consistent compression stocking use.
If you have a lot of leg swelling, it is important to seek treatment for this from a physical therapist that knows about your type of condition. Reducing the swelling in your legs before being fit for compression stockings is very important! If you do not reduce the swelling first, then the size of compression stockings you purchase will maintain the amount of swelling currently in your legs. Massage and edema bandaging are the quickest route to reducing edema; but be sure to do this under the guidance of a professional if you have never done this before.
What type of compression stockings are right for you?
The type of stocking or sock that is best will depend upon your activity level, your flexibility and ability to get them on and off yourself, any medical concerns, as well as what area of your legs need to be targeted the most. It is important to have someone measure and fit you for the most appropriate size. Most high-quality compression stockings do not come in standard small, medium, and large sizes. Getting the wrong size can cause more harm than good by cutting off circulation or rolling down your leg.
Hohman Rehab has therapists trained to work with individuals with swelling. We also have a certified compression stocking fitter that will assure you receive the best possible stocking for your needs. We work with people in need of compression stockings, ankle and foot swelling, and lymphedema in the Clermont 34711 area!