Varicose veins can be unsightly, uncomfortable, and susceptible for health complications. If you have varicose veins, you may have heard about compression socks and wondered if they can help you manage your symptoms.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins usually occur in the legs, resulting from weakened or damaged blood vessels that cause a twisted, swollen, or bulging appearance. They are more common in women and more common as you get older, but can occur at any age.
Some common risk factors of varicose veins include:
- Being a woman
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Hormonal imbalance
Preventive Measures for Varicose Veins
It may not be possible to completely prevent varicose veins because you can’t control all the risk factors, but some steps can reduce the risk for developing them or prevent them from getting worse. Some steps you can take include:
- Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Get more physical activity.
- Elevate your legs when possible.
How Compression Clothing Can Help Varicose Veins
If you have varicose veins and experience cramping or pain in the legs or feet, you might want to try wearing compression stockings.
Compression stockings are special supportive elastic stockings that can keep the valves in the vein in the proper position and, by doing so, help support healthy blood circulation. This reduces the blood pooling that leads to worsening varicose veins.
Modern compression socks and stockings come in different styles and compression levels, and can help provide consistent and firm pressure in the legs to facilitate efficient blood return to the heart from these veins. Studies have shown that using compression garments can improve some symptoms of existing varicose veins, including:
- swollen ankles
- heavy or aching legs
- restless legs
- nighttime cramping
How Can You Choose the Right Kind of Compression Socks or Stockings?
The experts at Beach Wellness MD can advise on the right kind of compression garments. The type of compression garment you use will depend on the underlying cause of the varicose veins and other factors of your condition.
In addition to selecting the correct compression level, you need to choose the right size for comfort and effectiveness. You should measure your legs in the morning before you get out of bed. For knee-high socks, you should measure the narrowest part of the ankle and the widest part of the calf. Bending your knee at a 90-degree angle, measure between the bent knee to the floor.
For thigh-high compression stockings you also need to select the correct size. Measure the distance around the narrowest part of the ankle, the widest part of the calf and the widest part of the thigh. Also take a measurement of the distance from the floor to under your buttocks.
The Best Way to Use Compression Stockings for Varicose Veins
It’s critical to use compression socks properly to get the best benefit from them. You should put them on first thing in the morning, before you have lowered your legs to get out of bed. This is because the horizontal position in sleep helps your vein valves function better than when you’re sitting or standing. Putting the compression socks on in the morning can take advantage of this effective positioning of the veins before you stand up and gravity does its work!
Because sitting and standing are more likely to cause circulation problems, many people will wear them all day. You should remove them at night, unless your doctor recommends wearing them during sleep as well.
Are There Any Risks to Using Compression Stockings and Socks?
Compression socks are generally safe to use, but if they are worn for too long or incorrectly, skin irritation can result. The best way to prevent this is to remove the stockings every day and check the skin for irritation or damage, and talk to your doctor on the best way to address it if it occurs.
Varicose Veins Treatment Options
Varicose veins can get worse over time, becoming more unsightly, and causing pain and swelling in the legs and feet. In some severe cases, they can lead to complications and can rupture or form ulcers. Compression socks or stockings can’t eliminate varicose veins completely, however. When you need help managing varicose veins, consult a vascular specialist.
When early preventive and management techniques are not effective, we offer minimally-invasive, nonsurgical treatment options. These “leg makeover” procedures only take about 15 minutes and cause little to no discomfort, with a quick recovery. Full results are usually visible in as little as a month.
Contact a Leading Varicose Vein Specialist!
If you need help learning how to best manage varicose veins or if you are interested in treatment options, contact us at Beach Wellness, MD. We are leading experts in the care of varicose veins.
Dr. Ali Golshan, MD, is a top vascular expert who specializes in varicose veins and other vascular conditions. Dr. Golshan emphasizes one-on-one treatment and designs
personalized care plans for each patient.
Contact us today to schedule your appointment.