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compression garments

Lymphedema, Leg Swelling, Venous Disease, and Medical Compression Stockings



Venous Disease, as it sounds, is a disease that affects veins often becoming chronic in nature producing damaged, weak, and/or faulty veins and return of fluid to the heart.  The disease causes pooling of fluid as the normal muscle pump that returns fluid is not as effective as it once was.  This is often due to leaky valves or "poor plumbing".  Chronic Venous Insufficiency over time affects the lymph system and both venous and lymphatic flows become faulty.  Many topics fall under the broad category "Venous Disease", even spider veins and skin changes as a result of the dysfunction.  Venous Ulcers are often attributed to this disease as the condition goes unchecked.        

Those at Higher Risk: 

  • Genetics: History in family; History of Blood Clots
  • Standing for prolonged periods
  • Obesity and Pregnancy
  • Surgery and Trauma

Complete Decongestive Therapy aka CDT followed by Compression Garments is a common and effective way to address venous disorders and lymphatic disorders involving limb or trunk swelling.  Discuss these options with your Physician and your Certified Lymphedema Therapist.  The key to addressing Venous Disease is trying to catch it before it gets too severe.  Proper Compression Stockings are important and often stop the condition from progressing.  Unfortunately many are misinformed on Compression Stocking and Compression Garments often using an incorrect Lymphedema Product or Venous Product.        

Important Facts About Venous Disease 

  • As the baby boomers are growing, so is the incidence of venous disorders.  Gravity is unrelenting and our lives are increasingly demanding with long hours on our feet contributing to this disease.
  • Venous Disease is believed to be the 7th most common medical referral.
  • 20% or 1 in 5 people will likely develop venous insufficiency
  • Varicose veins are twice as high in women than men.
  • Being Pregnant likely accounts for the aforementioned and as many as 1/3 of pregnant women will develop varicose veins.
  • 2/3 of those with varicose veins are likely to have: edema, leg ulcers, and skin problems from the condition.
  • Genetic and Familial component is Tremendous.  With two affected parents, you have a 90% chance of having varicose veins.  With two parents unaffected you have a 20% chance *

A Common Misconception and some things to know about Compression Stockings

Misconception :

"I can get socks over the counter at my drug store and they are all similar".  These are just "TED stockings".  

This is very far from the truth.  There is a tremendous diversity in materials, pressures, brands, and uses of compression garments.  TED stockings are often used specifically for the "recumbent patient" or those lying in bed to prevent or reduce embolism.  When lying in bed, pressures fall equally across a leg.  When standing, pressure changes as a result of gravity.  Gravity now applies tremendous pressure and distends veins.  This pressure is no longer linear like when lying down.  The pressures now change with the shape of the leg and venous return of fluid to the heart also slows concomitantly.

This last sentence has tremendous importance.   The "pressure now changes with the shape of the leg".  Think of how many times you put a sock on that didn't fit right.  The same holds true for many off the shelf products.  Compression Products and Compression Garments may need to be custom ordered.  If compression stockings are ordered for you by your physician, stick with the reputable brands dedicated to research and development in the field.  You will find only the best compression products at Mythic.  If you or your doctor are unsure of the proper garment, seek out a specialist like a Certified Lymphedema Therapist who is exposed to venous disease on a daily basis.  If you are in NJ, I highly recommend a visit to Wyatt Rehab in West Long Branch, NJ.  Compression Socks and Custom Compression Garments all make use of varying pressures conveyed in millimeters of mercury mmHg.  There is a varying gradient of pressure needed across a moving limb working against gravity. 

Venous Ulcers are often healing while compression therapy is applied.  Venous Insufficiency is therefore conservatively managed with Compression Garments.  97% of compliant patients with compression stockings will have their ulcers heal according to the Handbook of Venous Disorders.   This is with only a 16% risk of recurrence.

Compression Garment Benefits:

  • Improve Venous Ulcers
  • Maintain Leg Volume during Complete Decongestive Therapy (Lymphedema Treatment)
  • Decrease Pain
  • Decrease Discomfort
  • Improves Fluid Return