The Problem with Compression Stockings
Compression stockings are an important part of treating swelling or edema of the feet, ankles and legs. These prescription stockings control the swelling by being applied the first thing in the morning, before the legs become too swollen. They are worn all day and then taken off at night before bedtime. These stockings must be properly fitted to the legs. Too tight and they cut off circulation; too loose and they are non effective. The stockings are not only important in controlling edema, but can also prevent the occurrence of leg ulcers.
The problem with compression stockings is that, in order to be effective, they must be very snug. It is often difficult and time consuming to both put them on and take them off. Some patients become frustrated, and choose therefore not to wear them at all.
Although there have been some innovations to make compression stockings easier to use, such as zippers and lighter materials, compliance is still a problem. Recently I expressed this concern to a vascular surgeon. He told me that he recommends that his patients try yoga pants, leotards or compression socks instead. Although not as effective in controlling the swelling, these other alternatives are, perhaps, better than nothing.
If you have problems with swelling of the legs, seek medical attention. The cause of the swelling needs to be identified in order to properly treat it.
Evan Kelner, DPM