Swollen feet can be some of the most annoying conditions that we have all experimented at some point in our lives. Whether we are talking about specific conditions that can lead to the swelling of the feet or some regular day-to-day activities that cause this annoying edema, we are going to discuss how compression stocking can help you get a better quality of life.
What is edema?
Edema can be basically translated as the swelling of the feet, ankles, calves or even thighs. This condition is caused by a multitude of factors that in some cases can be controlled easily while in other cases they represent a chronic state.
Basically, the swelling of the feet can be caused by these main factors:
Further, we are going to discuss how each one of these factors influences the apparition of edema.
Obesity and edema
Obesity can be defined as a BMI (body mass index) that exceeds the normal one. Obesity is a very important lifestyle factor that influences the apparition of edema. Worldwide there are millions of people who suffer from obesity and many of them experience problems with swollen feet, ankles, calves and even thighs.
The swelling appears because the lymphatic vessels and veins are compressed by the excessive weight and they can’t properly drain the lower limbs.
Pregnancy and edema
Being pregnant is an amazing experience but sometimes it has its downsides. It is very common that ladies in the third trimester of pregnancy experience swollen feet. This happens in the same principle as in the case of obesity.
During pregnancy, the belly compresses the veins and lymphatic veins in the lower abdomen. These vessels are responsible for the drainage of the lower limbs and often times they can’t properly do their job. The main cause for the edema is the fact that blood stays in the veins and at some point, the liquid and proteins in the blood get in the tissue.
This leads to the swelling of the feet and often times this can lead to difficulties in putting on shoes or even walking. Pregnancy is an amazing period and compression stockings can definitely help.
Venous dysfunction and edema
Venous dysfunction is an affection that can be found at many ages, mainly after the age of 50. It is very annoying because it oftentimes leads to the swelling of the feet and pain. This affection is caused by a deficiency or destruction of the valves located in the veins. These valves have the role to help the blood go up from the lower limbs to the heart.
This affection can cause many other symptoms in time such as pain, the coloration of the skin and pigmentation. This specific affection can also cause blood clots that can migrate in the vital organs in time.
Excessive heat and edema
We have all experienced this during the summer. Heat and feet often don’t get along together. During the hot summer months, our body tries to release heat by sweating and by dilating all the vessels in the body. This is why, for example, we tend to get very red when it is very hot. The same thing happens in our lower limbs.
When the vessels dilate, especially arteries, they tend to have a lower speed of blood flow. This in time leads to the diffusion of liquids from the blood vessels in the tissues. This is the main mechanism that causes swelling during the summer. Basically, our feet are full of excessive liquid. The downside is that the body gets that liquid back in the body for a long time.
Ill-fitting shoes and edema
We have all had that one pair of shoes from which we barely got out. And when we finally managed to see our feet again, they were very swollen and they hurt. This is one of the most moments one can experience after a long walk or a long night. Ladies, in particular, tend to experience this even more often because many of the high heels aren’t very comfortable or designed to fit every type of foot.
Edema develops because the blood flow in the foot is stopped by the shoe that is too tight and liquid gets out from the vessel into the tissue. Unfortunately, this type of edema is also very painful and it can lead to bloody blisters after a night out.
Liver/kidney disease and edema
During these two types of affection, edema is very common. This happens for a multitude of reasons but the main culprit is the protein. Not the protein you eat, the protein your produce or lose. The liver is the main organ that produces blood proteins. When the liver is affected by a disease, the proteins are not produced in the needed quantity and because of that, liquid gets out of the blood vessels easier, mainly in the lower limbs.
In kidney disease, proteins are often enough but they are lost through urine. The kidney membrane starts to fail and this is why it gradually loses protein. By the way, one of the main ways in which kidney disease is evaluated is based on the number of proteins lost. The less, the better. Because proteins are less than they should in the blood flow, the liquid starts to get out and cause edema.
What are compression stockings?
These medical devices are basically stockings that maintain the foot, calf, and thigh at a pressure that helps blood flow normally. As we mentioned previously, the moment the pressure in the blood vessel is low, the liquid starts to get out and cause swelling. These special stockings come to balance that loss of pressure and maintain the blood flow normal.
These stockings are made from a special material that helps that skin breathe while keeping a constant pressure in the feet, calves, and thighs.
How do they work?
Compression stockings are not the tight tubes many imagine. They are made from a special fabric that is designed to keep a designated pressure constantly in the designated area. In terms of structure, they are designed to keep the natural shape of the anatomy and to be like a second skin.
They come in many variations in terms of pressure and structure. For example, a person that has thicker ankles can easily get a pair of edema stockings that are a perfect match. All the sizes are designed to respect your own dimensions and to perfectly adapt to your shape. In terms of pressure, they come from 10 mmHg to 30 mmHg for over-the-counter use and the ones over 50 mmHg are usually designed for after-surgery use.
Are they comfortable?
Yes, edema stockings are very comfortable to wear throughout the day. There are many medical professionals that actually use them during the long shifts. They may be quite hard to put on at first but you feel very comfortable with them after a few minutes. You should feel some pressure developing on your skin but it shouldn’t feel unpleasant.
If they are too tight you will feel your toes getting tingly or numb. If this thing happens it means that the size you chose is too small or that it doesn’t follow all your shapes.
How can they stop my swelling?
These stockings will aid your lower limbs with extra pressure. As we discussed previously, in many cases our vessels can’t properly drain the blood and fluids from our lower limbs and this is why edema develops. These stockings offer the amount of compression needed by your legs in order to keep them properly irrigated and firm.
In specific conditions like kidney and liver disease, they can help the patient improve the quality of life until the condition is solved. In the case of pregnant ladies, these devices can literally change the pregnancy. The ladies feel much lighter and there are many studies that show how great the quality of life of pregnant women increased while wearing these stockings.
How long can I wear them?
This is a very good point. There are some compression stockings that can be literally worn 24/7 while there are others that can be worn only during the day. If you know that your edema is a constant problem that doesn’t go away when you go to sleep you should go for the 24-hour wear option. If you only experience swelling during the day you can put them on in the morning and take them off at night.
Overall, these stocking can definitely improve the quality of life in many situations, ranging from swollen feet in the summer and finishing with chronic diseases. They are easy to wear and comfortable and in many cases, they can also complement your outfit amazingly.