Compression Socks! What is a thigh high compression stockings used for and are there various types of compression stockings? These and many more questions run through our minds. Compression socks and stockings help to ameliorate leg pain and ache, treat varicose veins, embolism, and so much more. Read on as we provide you with a well-detailed article on compression stockings, high compression stockings, and support hose.
View Details to Help your Thigh High Compression Socks Stay Up
During my days as a nursing student, I vividly remember the stress of having to continually pull up my stockings because they kept sliding down my legs. I was patient enough to pull it up from time to time because I felt it was only natural for socks to slack and go down and I couldn’t do anything about it. Well, things in my country didn’t help matters either.
The internet wasn’t so prevalent in my country, so I couldn’t afford the luxury of knowing that we have different techniques to adapt to keep your stockings up all day long. You can’t blame your socks for everything because you also have a role to play in keeping them up. You have to know what and how to do it.
Reasons why your stockings doesn’t hold firm and keeps sliding down your legs
It is bigger than your size
Most people are fond of wearing bigger stockings size because to them, it’s easier to put on. This is wrong; however, because not only is the socks not able to compress your legs well, it’ll roll down because it isn’t tight enough to adequately wrap your legs, so thigh high compression stockings are ideal for you. When buying thigh high compression socks, buy according to the size of the leg’s circumference. It’s always better to have tight thigh high compression stockings with the compression being lost as you keep using regularly. Below are the reasons why your compression stockings always slide down your legs and how to stop your high compression stockings from such occurrence.
They may be old already
If you’ve used your stockings for about 4-6 months down, it may be worn out and stretched already because it has attained maximum days of effective compression.
What to do: Mark the date you first it on the calendar. This gives you an idea of when to buy a new pair. Always remember, compression stockings have a shelf life of just 4-6months or lesser, depending on use and how it is handled.
How do you wash your socks
If you are in the habit of putting your thigh high compression socks in the washing machine with other items, you shouldn’t wonder why they get snagged and ruined easily. The kind of detergent used also has a role to play in the wear and breakdown of your socks.
What to do: The best means to wash is by hand washing. Do this using warm water and mild detergent. Detergents for delicate fabrics are available and can be used. Avoid using bleach or fabric conditioners. Do not wring with your hands after washing, preferably use a towel, pat them dry and spread on a drying rack.
You don’t wash every day after use
After donning your socks to your legs for the whole day, they are stretched, and it may be challenging to get them back to their original size. This will result in your stockings rolling down because they’re not as tight as they used to.
What to do: Wash properly every day after using it. This allows the fabric to go back to its initial fit and tightness.
You don’t spread them evenly on your legs
Most compression stockings are tight, thereby making it difficult to put them on. There’s every tendency that the upper part will be more stretched than the lower part causing the socks to slide down.
What to do: Ensure to clean the silicone band with cotton balls and alcohol at least once a week or even twice. Having a clean silicone band helps the stockings hang onto your legs for longer.
You don’t clean the silicone lining hanging on to your legs
There’s a possibility that the silicone band will gather dirt, oils, and hair from the legs after use consecutively and store.
What to do: You can use Donning gloves to enable you to put them on, quickly and without stress. They are very effective.
You can try these alternatives if the suggestions above don’t work:
- Make use of a garter belt or compression stockings with waist attachment present. This will keep your stockings up for as long as you desire.
- Use hypoallergenic body adhesives. They help hold the thigh-high and knee-high stockings in place comfortably and in a secure position.
- Try using pantyhose. Put on the pantyhose, pulling it up to your waist and the stress of rolling down the whole day. This is the easiest way to make sure your stockings stay up all day.
How to Choose and Use firm support Compression Stockings
Compression stockings are worn for a wide range of reasons, for comfort, to help prevent the occurrence of severe medical conditions and to perform better at sports.
Their primary function is to improve blood flow. They are also capable of easing pain and swelling in the legs. The chances are that they lower the tendency of developing a condition known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It is a kind of blood clot, associated with other circulation problems.
The decision of which will work best is yours and your doctor’s to make as they are available in different sizes and strengths.
What are compression socks?
Compression stockings refer to comfortable specially made stretchy socks that give your leg a gentle squeeze when worn. These pressure or graduated stockings have a tight fit around your ankle and get loose as they go up to your leg. Compression sleeves consist of just the tube area without the foot. They can be bought over the counter, but if they are prescribed, insurance may cover the cost.
You can also buy them online, at medical supply companies, and in various drug stores. They cost around $10 to $100 per pair, depending on what kind you want to get.
Who Uses them?
- People with circulation problems like DVT, diabetes, or varicose veins, or stand the risk of having it
- People who have just undergone surgery
- Those who find it difficult to leave their bed or having difficulty moving their legs
- Those who stand all day as a result of work
- Pregnant women
- People who spend long periods on airplanes, like pilots
What Do they do?
These stockings put pressure on your legs, helping your blood vessels function better. The arteries that carry oxygenated blood to your muscles relax, allowing blood flow freely. The veins thereby are triggered, causing blood flow back to the heart.
Compression stockings keep your legs from getting weary and achy. They ease swelling in your ankles and feet, and also treat and prevent varicose and spider veins. These socks are also capable of stopping dizziness or lightheadedness when you stand up.
Blood is prevented from clotting after making a pool because the blood keeps moving. If one is formed and is broken off, it may travel along with your blood, getting stuck at a dangerous and strategic point like your lungs, thereby causing more harm. The clots make blood flow around them very difficult, thus resulting in discolored skin, swelling and other problems.
Athletes, including runners, triathletes, and basketball players put on compression socks and sleeves on their legs and arms. The theory behind this is that, while carrying out their activity, their muscles will receive oxygen as a result of better blood flow, thus support help prevent damage of tissues. Afterward, the circulation of blood and lymph, which is already beefed up helps in the quick recovery of muscles. They won’t be sore or cramped so much.
Studies have shown that the gear has a very little or negligible effect on the performance of athletes. However, some people disagree with this. They feel they have an edge. Evidence of quick recovery is good but not enough reason to make a difference for weekend warriors.
How to wear high compression stockings
To avoid bunching, smooth out the stockings to enable them to lie flat, opposing your skin. Do not enlarge the socks by making it excessively long, and do not roll the top down. If you do, they will tighten you, resulting in cut off circulation similar to tourniquet or blood flow problems. If advised by your medical doctor to always wear them, in adherence to that instruction, keep them on most of the time. However, there is an exception:
You can take them off when you are going to the shower. When you wear them, you can support it either with socks, shoes, or slippers. Nevertheless, for an authoritative guide, you can consult your doctor on how often and how long you will need to wear them.
Several criteria need to be met in selecting the right compression socks; these points are highlighted correctly below.
How to Select the Right Compression Socks
For simplicity, I’ll break down the criteria that must be met when choosing the best compression stockings into three fundamental categories. These categories are:
- Basic Selection Criteria
- Advanced Selection Criteria
- Intervention Selection Criteria
Starting with the first category, essential selection criteria, we’d examine six different types under it.
Basic Selection Criteria
1. Compression Level. Measured accurately on the mercury scale, the compression level accurately depicts the amount of pressure required to treat, manage symptoms, or provide relief effectively.
Typical anti-embolism stockings would provide pressure within the range of 15-20mmHg. Nevertheless, this isn’t often prescribed for patients. Instead, the commonly prescribed range by most doctors is the moderate compression that ranges between 20-30mmHg. The range, though, is the start of remedial class compression socks. Lower fields of pressure in the market are the least expensive stockings, while the higher pressure level is more expensive.
2. Easy to Don or Doff. Stockings that come with higher pressure levels are quite challenging to wear and remove. But light and mild compression stockings are quite more natural to wear and off.
Experiences have shown that some patients who had difficulty in donning their compression stockings are discouraged from wearing them again. And when they do, apart from their non-compliance to doctor’s prescription, it makes their condition go from bad to worse.
The growing trend has compelled most doctors to prescribe a Lower level of pressure. This will make it easier for patients to wear and obtain the benefits of compression stockings. But if you must wear the high compression stockings, it is helpful to apply a simple device that will enhance smooth wearing. These devices could include stocking Donner or the Doff N’ Donner.
3. Comfort Level. Another essential factor that will make a patient comply with a doctor’s prescription is the level of comfort enjoyed. The increase in pressure would make patients complain about discomfort in wearing compression socks. Thus, some doctors would prescribe that patients should prioritize on a Lower level of pressure socks so that patients would continue to wear them.
While at the start of the complication, it would be good to master wearing low-compression stockings to prevent the development of illnesses that will necessitate treatment and management. However, chronic and acute conditions would need higher pressures.
4. Sizing. Compression stockings are available in a wide variety of sizes. These sizes are subject to each patient’s needs. For example, there are thigh-high stockings, pantyhose, knee-high socks, pregnancy hosiery, and thigh-high with waist attachment that patients can buy from.
Therefore, consult your physician to get the best option for you. Circumference and length are the measurements that are needed for proper fitting; it’s not based on shoe size, weight, or height. If you can get the right size, then it will improve effective intervention and comfort.
Bear in mind that incorrect or improper size will lead to your non-compliance. Also, a better fit makes an excellent therapy. As a result, when you need to choose a stocking size, go for your size; however, if you can’t, choose one that is close to your actual measurement. The more precise it is, the more the pressure will become accurate, and ultimately, leading to better therapy. So, any pick that isn’t subjected to these considerations aren’t ideal and wouldn’t work for damaged veins.
5. Stocking Features. The features of compression socks provide further comfort to patients, controls infection, adds to fashion, and increase durability. Some compression socks could offer either closed or open toe, sheer or opaque silver additives, fashion prints, retaining bands, padding, reinforced toes or heels.
Each feature that you could find in a particular compression sock can provide an impressive function or makes it capable of making the socks more pleasurable and appealing.
6. Stocking Patterns. More fashion and appeal can be achieved when a compression sock is amazingly designed, and when it’s colorful. Among the existing stocking patterns available. The top ones are:
Sport stockings, for example, add a lot of flare and color. Some other compression socks are designed with safety features of reflective materials.
Advanced Selection Criteria
1. Compression Type. There are two distinct types of pressure. The famous and familiar is the uniform compression, while the other type is the graduated pressure.
Uniform compression provides a nearly equal amount of pressure all over the garment. Although, there might be a feeling of slight variations of pressure due to the curvature of the leg or the arm.
Graduated pressure provides high pressure at one end of the sleeve and less at the other. The higher pressure at the end of the stocking is farther from the patient’s heart, while the lowest pressure is closer to the heart. Graduated compression promotes impressive circulation by making the transition of fluid to the limb possible.
2. Stocking Construction. Two basic patterns the construction of stocking fabric takes are:
- Flat Knit
- Circular Knit
The round or circular knit design has a lifespan of a month or a month and a half while the flat knit design can span from a month and a half to two months.
Circular knit is seamless, and it is beneficial for gauntlets and diabetes patients. Flat knit stockings usually have a seam. However, the adoption of new technology has made a lot of manufacturers to provide a seamless flat knit. And it’s interesting to know that a flat knit is capable of providing a higher compression level of up to 50mmHg.
Although some individuals with diabetes or sensitive skin have complained about irritation from thigh high compression socks with seams, this has made some brands to use a low-profile seam with flat knit in combating this irritation.
Intervention Selection Criteria
This type is available to support four distinct interventions. These include:
- Comfort and Performance
Varying levels of pressure grants intervention for several illnesses. The more complicated the condition, the more matching a higher pressure level will be. Below are the explanations of these four components.
1. Comfort or Performance. This intervention adopts lower levels of pressure. It entails daily applications and patient satisfaction. Patients that spend a long time sitting, like traveling, will enjoy the immense benefit from mild compression. Additionally, patients that participate in sports will also be required to use slight compression stockings to support circulation. After completing a strenuous activity, some patients are encouraged to use a firm compression level to help enhance recovery from the sport.
2. Prevention. Venous insufficiency must be prevented from sending off chronic illnesses and conditions. A low level of pressure is capable of preventing spider veins and varicose veins. It is also capable of reducing swelling and pain. Higher levels of pressure are also capable of orthostatic hypotension and DVT.
3. Treatment. Where illness results from poor circulation, compression stockings are effective. For instance, compression socks can treat diseases related to poor circulation, lymphedema, edema, swelling, superficial thrombophlebitis, and diabetes. The complete range of stocking pressures is from 8-50mmHg, which offers treatments for lots of illnesses.
4. Management. An illness that reaches the chronic stage isn’t referred to as curable. However, compression socks can conveniently manage these diseases so patients can gain relief from the pain and symptoms. These illnesses are Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS), chronic venous insufficiency, and venous ulcers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who Can Benefit From Wearing Compression Stockings?
A. Anyone can wear gradient compression socks and feel better. Those who spend excessive time in sedentary standing or sitting positions can immensely benefit from the use. Precisely, wearing gradient compression stockings have benefited the individual with these leg complaints:
- Healed Venous Ulcer
- Venous Insufficiency
- Post-thrombotic syndrome
- Varicose veins
- Active Venous Ulcer
- Leg Swelling
- Tired, heavy, and aching feeling in the leg.
Nonetheless, before you start to wear compression socks of 20mmhg and above, you should consult your doctor. Additionally, if you’ve been diagnosed with an arterial circulation problem in your leg, it is recommended that you consult your physician before wearing any level of compression.
Q. What is Gradient Compression?
A. Gradient compression gives a squeezing to the leg that is highest at the ankle, with the amount of compression or squeezes steadily decreasing from distal to the proximal leg. In a simple term, compression is expressed in mmHg, which stands for millimeters of mercury.
Q. What is Compression Therapy?
A. Compression therapy means the benefits gained from the utilization of specialized bandages of stockings in the treatment of lymphedema and chronic venous disease. Individuals that are suffering from chronic venous disease would suffer from complaints of fatigue in the leg, heaviness in the leg, and aching.
While the precise mechanism of action of compression stays elusive, compression is believed to give two significant benefits to those suffering from chronic venous insufficiency:
Compression enhances the pressure in the tissue under the skin, thus providing help in the reduction and prevention of some parts of the body swelling. The compression of this subcutaneous tissue aids in moving excess fluid into the tiniest of the blood vessel and would assist in preventing excessive fluid from leaking off these vessels.
Secondly, patients who want to reduce the possibility of the cutting of the superficial veins will be helped when they opt-in for compression. This, on the other hand, helps in preventing blood in these veins from flowing backward, leading to congestion. Additionally, congestion in the leg is one of the factors that account for swelling and skin changes.
Q. What are the Reasons an Individual would be asked not to wear compression socks?
A. There are several contraindications why a compression sock would not be recommended.
These conditions include:
- Uncontrolled congestive heart failure
- Phlegmasia Cerulea dolens
- Untreated septic phlebitis of the leg
Further, the wearing of compression should be applied with caution in the presence of:
- Immobility. When a person is confined to bed
- Weeping dermatoses
- Impaired sensitivity of the limb
- Skin infections
- Incompatibility to the fabric of the garment
Still, if you’d want to use compression stockings, speak with your doctor first. Then follow his prescriptions.
Q. Why is it Hard to Wear Elastic Stockings?
A. Well, you may have heard some physicians say: “if they aren’t difficult to wear, then they won’t provide you with the accurate compression needed.” But is that the answer you needed? Maybe not. But that’s the reality, what would make you get the best compression. Although newer knitting technologies, finishes, and yarns have begun producing stockings that are relatively easier to wear in comparison with old ones.
Q. What is Latex?
A. It is a natural substance that stems from a rubber tree. Latex can be adopted in textiles in varying forms. There are dry natural rubber and natural rubber latex. Latex makes one of the essential materials used in the design of compression stockings.
Q. When Should a Knee-length be Recommended?
A. In most cases, knee-length gradient compression socks are recommended to prevent or manage symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency. Also, it can be recommended to reduce the causes of skin changes and leg swelling.
When varicosities and swelling are present above the knee, then a thigh, pantyhose, and tight style can be recommended as a practical choice. For adequate assistance, it would be nice to consult your physician.
Q. What Is called “Economy Class Syndrome?”
A. The economy class syndrome is the term for describing the Deep vein thrombosis medical condition when it happens after an extended airplane trip. For more precise information, please, consult your physician. They will provide full details regarding the full meaning of the term and guide you through what should be done if you have it.
Q. What is the best time to Measure Compression stockings during the day?
A. Physicians recommend that before a person’s leg starts to swell, the measurement should be done. The measure that is taken later that day after the leg must have swollen could result in choosing a compression stocking that could be too large for such a condition.
Some clinics that aren’t able to attend to patients at the early hours of the day will have to elevate, bandage, and pump the legs for a time before they’d measure to allow them to reduce any swelling present.
Q. What does mmHg mean?
A. The abbreviation mmHg stands for millimeters of mercury. It is the correct measurement of how much squeeze or compression is placed in your leg. The higher the number, the more the compression that would be experienced.
Q. Why Must Compression Stockings that will be worn on the leg be gradient?
A. Gradient compression is essential to the legs. Each time we stand still, the force of gravity increases the pressure experienced within the veins of the legs. It becomes highest at the ankle and gradually decrease steadily up the leg and body.
This pressure solely depends on the vertical distance of the column blood off the heart to the foot. Approximately 86mmHg of pressure is present in the ankle’s veins of a 5.7″ tall adult standing in a quiet position.
The venous pressure is about 2mmHg in the vena cava before entering the heart. The majority of gradient compression stockings are designed with the pressure that is heaviest at the ankle and reduces up the leg to counter the effect of the more significant venous pressures.
Q. Does Unaffected Leg Need the wearing of compression?
A. No! Only legs with the disease or symptoms should wear the compression, and that’s what some individuals have done. Whereas, some individuals who decide to wear compression socks have opted for a similar brand of stockings though with a lower compression level on the healthy leg.
For instance, your physician could inform you that you should wear 30-40mmHg stockings for men to handle chronic venous insufficiency in the leg affected. However, you might now later decide to wear 15-20mmhg on the other leg. Nonetheless, regardless of what you want to choose, try your best to consult your doctor before you make your final decision.
Q. Is Uniform Compression Efficient
A. Yes. It is. Uniform compression is specifically efficient in managing a condition like edema. Nevertheless, further research has indicated that gradient compression in the legs is more efficient than uniform compression in the improvement of venous return.
Q. Why are compression stockings prescribed immediately after a blood clot in the leg?
A. You’d have noticed that compression stockings are prescribed for a patient that has a deep vein thrombosis or blood clot in the leg. These are some of the reasons:
- To control the sweeping in the leg that happens with deep vein thrombosis
- To prevent any development of post-thrombotic syndrome this could come up months after the DVT.
Q. What is the Difference Between medical compression stockings and anti-embolism stockings?
A. Anti-embolism stockings are primarily designed for bedridden individuals. This is done to hinder blood from accumulating in the leg veins. This sort of pooling of blood in the veins of the leg can contribute to the forming of a blood clot.
Anti-embolism socks are specifically designed for a short duration when a person is hospitalized. These types of socks deliver gradient compression effectively, and according to manufacturers’ choice, they could provide the ankle to range from 13-18mmHg.
These stockings are ideally available in white. After discharge from the hospital or comprehensive care facility, if you’d want to continue wearing the compression, your doctor could get you an appropriate level of compression.
Q. Is there a layering or additive effect of compression? Is it possible to wear one compression stockings on top of the other, instead of opting for higher compression stockings?
A. Yes! There are additive effects that come with the use of compression stockings. For instance, some physicians have instructed patients to only wear a single level of compression in a pantyhose style, and then wear knee-length compression stockings over the pantyhose compression. For concise assistant and proper guidelines, visit your physician.
What should be your next move? If you have any complications mentioned, see your physicians to accurately prescribe a reliable compression stocking for you. Follow all instructions given to benefit maximally. However, if you notice any unusual pain or your condition worsens, don’t hesitate to visit the clinic for a proper check-up.