How to use Compression Stockings for DVT?
Did you know about the medical condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)? Caused due to the clotting of blood inside the veins that are located deep inside your body, it can become potentially life-threatening once a piece of a blood clot breaks off. While it can happen all over the body, it’s more commonly seen in the lower leg or thigh region.
The common DVT symptoms are pain, swelling, tenderness, and warm skin. While everyone is susceptible to DVT, the condition is more likely to develop after surgery or trauma, or even during winters, a reason you need the right precautions.
Other factors that can contribute to DVT are obesity and frequent smoking. DVT can develop into a serious medical emergency if the blood clot travels to the lungs and tries to block an artery. This will lead to a pulmonary embolism, and it is more common after major surgery.
In order to avoid the serious consequences of DVT, the doctor may suggest that you should wear DVT compression stockings, which will reduce the swelling and help to maintain the blood flow to the heart and lungs. These stockings can be a game-changer if you use them correctly.
What are Compression Stockings?
Compression socks are usually shaped like tights, but they are made from a different material that suits its purpose more. They come with an elastic fabric that will fit snugly around the legs, ankles, and thighs. They are supposed to be tighter around the ankle, and the tightness decreases around the calves and thighs.
These stockings create pressure on the region so as to push the fluid up the leg. This helps the blood to flow easily all the way from the legs to the heart. Compression stockings enhance blood circulation, and they also reduce the swelling and pain over time. These stockings are recommended for patients who are vulnerable to DVT because the added pressure keeps the blood from forming clots inside the body. They can also be used for other thrombotic conditions like Post Thrombotic Syndrome (PTS). Since they are stretchy, they do not feel very uncomfortable when worn over long periods of time.
According to studies, compression stockings have proven effective in preventing DVT. A link has been established between DVT prevention and compression stockings. A study involving 1,681 people and 19 trials found that only 9% of the patients who wore compression stockings pre and post-surgery developed DVT. 21 percent of the patients who did not wear compression stockings suffered from DVT.
When wearing compression stockings, patients should take some precautions if they want to get the most out of it. It is important the patient does not opt for excessive compression because that can lead to conditions such as edema, hyper-pigmentation, lipodermatosclerosis, or stasis dermatitis. On the other hand, inadequate compression will not give patients the desired results, which is also a problem. Patients should put on the stockings early in the morning when the swelling is low so that it is easier to fit them. A patient with peripheral arterial disease should not wear compression stockings under any circumstance.
It is best not to wear the compression stockings when taking a shower or a bath. Compression stockings are designed to be elastic and tight, so it might be a good idea to apply lotion on the skin before putting them on. Make sure that the lotion is completely absorbed into the skin before that. This will help you slide the material up easily. Moreover, your legs will remain hydrated.
When putting on a compression stocking, you have to grab the top and roll it down towards the heel. Insert your foot into the stocking, and then slowly pull it up over the leg.
If you want to avoid infections, then you should ideally wash the stockings with mild soap after every use. You can air dry it and then use it again. It is best to replace the stockings at least once after every six months.
Degree of compression:
There is no need to apply a high degree of compression to get the job done always. Usually, the physician recommends the degree of compression that is required to serve the purpose. Patients with minimal swelling may need lesser compression. On the other hand, if a patient notices that fluid is accumulating every day even after wearing the stocking, it might be time to increase the compression.
How to use Compression Stocking?
After you undergo a leg trauma or surgery, the doctor will prescribe the compression stockings that you should use both during your hospital stay and after you are home. You will be able to purchase them from any medical supply store near you. You can wear the stockings to alleviate the swelling and discomfort after a DVT diagnosis. Earlier, doctors used to recommend compression stockings after a patient was diagnosed with acute DVT in order to prevent a medical condition named post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS), but that is not the case anymore. Patients can also wear compression stockings in order to prevent DVT and reduce the risk of developing the condition.
Types of Compression Stockings:
There are different kinds of compression stockings available on the market.
Stockings that offer 8-15 mmHg compression provide mild support and light pressure. You can also get your hands on stockings that offer 15-20 mmHg pressure. They are great for providing you with medium support. They can be used to treat minor swelling, but they are temporary solutions. You should use 20-30 mmHg stockings if you want firm compression. They are the most beneficial when it comes to thrombosis prevention. They are designed to provide relief and reduce swelling after a patient undergoes surgery.
For extra firm compression, it is recommended that one uses 30-40 mmHg stockings. They are excellent for preventing DVT, but they should only be worn under a physician’s supervision. On the other hand, 40-50 mmHg compression stocking for DVT can also be used if a patient is highly susceptible to DVT.
The Ankle Brachial Index (ABI) can be used to ensure that there is sufficient blood flow in the legs. Usually, patients prefer to use stockings during the day. Most of them do not wear stockings to bed. If someone is not used to wearing compression stockings, then it is best that he or she is first given low compression stockings before increasing the degree.
Length of the compression stockings:
You can choose among thigh-high, knee-high, or full-length stockings. The doctor may suggest that you wear a knee-high stocking if you have swelling below the knee, or that you wear a full-length or a thigh-high if the swelling is located above the knee. The ideal tightness of the stocking for DVT is between 20 and 30 mmHg. You must have the correct amount of tightness in order to prevent DVT.
You need to be aware that the compression stocking for DVT sizes can be different based on the brand. It is best that you rely on your body measurements and then consult the brand’s sizing chart so as to get the right size for yourself. If you are on the hunt for knee-high stockings, you will have to measure the narrowest point of your ankle, the broadest part of your calf, and also your calf length. On the other hand, if you are looking for thigh-high or full-length stockings, you need the measurements of the widest part of the thighs and the length of the leg.
DVT can be a life-threatening condition if you do not take the necessary precautions. If you feel that you have any of the DVT symptoms, do not hesitate to consult your physician on the subject. If you are already using compression stockings, then you should visit your doctor once every three months to make sure that they are working. The doctor will also suggest necessary changes. It is important that you purchase a comfortable pair of stockings so that you can continue using it without wanting to give up. The gradient intermediate 20-30 mmHg stockings make for a good investment.