Why wear compression stockings?
Compression hosiery/stockings can be used:
- As the only form of treatment for varicose veins as they relieve symptoms but most people would find this too difficult long-term.
- As flight socks to help prevent DVT on long haul flights or prolonged car travel.
- After Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) or Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy (UGS) treatment of varicose veins. After ELT or UGS Most of our patients would agree that wearing compression hosiery after ELT or UGS treatment is not too arduous, but it is a vital part of the treatment. They help the healing process in the varicose and spider veins, and protect you from blood clots in the main deep muscles veins. We will fit you with the special hosiery after the injections.
- After Microsclerotherapy treatment of spider veins
- After liposuction of the legs.
- Compression hosiery is very useful for helping to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and swelling during air travel. For maximum benefit, the hosiery should be worn for the entire flight duration.
Instructions for Wearing Compression Hosiery
You must closely follow the instructions that we give you for wearing the hosiery.
You must wear the Class 2 compression hosiery 24 hours a day, including sleeping, showering etc., for the first week after treatment. During the second week after further treatment you will typically wear the hosiery day and night for 3 days, then take them off for showering and sleeping for the next four days.
The hosiery is a lighter Class 1 compression and only needs to be worn for 4 days after each treatment including the first night.
Types of Hosiery
Patients having one leg treated will have a single stocking, those having two legs treated can have either two singles, or a pair of compression pantyhose.
We now have two types of single leg stocking. The singles that are suitable for men are held up by a wide elastic band around the waist fixed with velcro. The singles that are suitable for women are called "lacy stay ups" and have a lacy elasticized band around the top. These have proven to be very comfortable to wear. The single stockings for men have open toes, the pantyhose and "lacy stay ups" have closed toes.
The hosiery is fitted to you by either leg measurements, or by your height and weight. The stocking must be kept well up into the groin. If it irritates the skin wear it over boxers shorts or similar. Don't let the stocking gather in the crease behind your knee, as it will dig in and cause quite a nasty rash. On the foot keep the open end of the stocking down by the ball of the foot. If it rides up to the middle of the foot you will get swelling in your toes.
Most patients get a few ladders in the hosiery during the treatment - this does not matter.
We have tried a number of different brands over the years, and the ones we use currently are the most comfortable we can find. The hosiery is firm, but not unduly thick - certainly not as thick as Grandma's support stockings! Because they are firm, they tend to work their way down the leg during the day, and you may find yourself pulling them up fairly frequently. The most common comment we get is that the stockings are not the correct size - half say the stockings must be too big because they keep slipping down, the other half say the stockings must be too small because they keep slipping down. The point is that the stockings do keep slipping down on everyone, and that is because of the tension in the stocking and the shape of the leg - the thigh being wider than the ankle.
Useful Tips to Help Hold the Hosiery Up Stockings
If they lose their grip, wet the elasticized band and they will re-cling. Occasionally patients need to use a glue which we can provide to keep them up. Hint: It is much easier to adjust your hosiery if you wear gloves. Strong rubber kitchen type gloves are best so carry a pair around with you.
Important Note: Pulling the top of the stocking will tear or ladder the stocking. You must work the stocking up from your ankle.
Showering in Hosiery
You must not take the hosiery off for the first week, so you must wear them while showering. Treat them like a second skin. It is true that the hosiery is not easy to dry - especially the waist band. Try using a fresh towel on the hosiery, and drying the thicker parts with a hair dryer. Many patients have a sponge bath in the morning and a complete shower later in the day when they have more time.You can cover the hosiery with a large plastic bag if you like. Some pharmacies sell suitable large bags designed to keep plaster casts dry. But be careful in the shower - water plus soap plus plastic can be very slippery. Colours The pantyhose come in two colours: "nude" or "black", the full length single stockings are in "nude" only. "Nude" is a mid shade of brown.