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Blog Post

Is Compression Gear Worth It?

Published: October 5, 2020

Long story short, the answer is, it depends. Compression stockings can be very beneficial when given to the right individual and for the right reasons. There are support stockings and medical compression garments. Support stockings are the ones you find at your local retail or drug store. They are considered over the counter stockings that provide about 15-20mmHg of compression, which essentially exerts a passive resistance to swelling. On the other hand, medical-grade compression stockings not only offer higher levels of compression, but they are made according to strict medical and technical guidelines to ensure adequate ankle pressure and graduated compression up the limb. Before you decide to get measured for and purchase compression gear, talk to your doctor about them as they are not for everybody.

Here are four conditions compression therapy is commonly recommended for:

legs runner in compression calf sleeve

1. Edema

Edema is the medical term for swelling. It occurs when the small blood vessels in your body leak fluid to the surrounding tissue. As this fluid accumulates in the tissue, the tissues begin to swell. Edema can be the result of a number of disorders and diseases, some of which will be expanded in the points below. Others include, congestive heart failure, excessive retention of sodium and water, pregnancy, constrictive pericarditis, and prolonged inactivity. In some cases, edema in the lower extremity can lead to impaired wound healing, increased risk of infection, and pressure sores. As a result, it is highly recommended to speak to your doctor if you are experiencing edema in your feet and lower legs.

2. Varicose veins

Varicose veins are veins that have become diseased and appear enlarged, swollen, and twisted. They develop due to increased pressure in the venous system, causing damage to the valves that control proper blood flow back to the heart. As backflow of blood occurs, blood pools in the veins and causes them to dilate (widen in diameter). These are the start of venous insufficiency.

3. Chronic venous insufficiency

As the venous disease progresses, chronic venous insufficiency may develop. Similar to varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency is the result of valvular incompetence. Damaged valves compromise the flow of blood back to the heart and eventually, deep vein emptying cannot occur. Chronic venous insufficiency is also the most common cause of deep vein thrombosis. Symptoms include aching, heavy legs, lower leg and ankle edema, and moderate to severe varicosities. Chronic venous insufficiency can also lead to skin diseases such as stasis dermatitis (red, dry, itchy skin), hemosiderin deposits (brown pigmentation due to iron deposits in the skin), and ulcerations.

man runner in compression socks

 4. Venous thrombosis

Venous thrombosis describes a blood clot in a vein with accompanying inflammation of the vessel wall. Signs and symptoms of venous thrombosis in the lower leg include pain in the calf, edema, redness and increased warmth of the affected leg, fever, and generally feeling unwell. 

5. Lymphedema

The lymphatic system is made of channels and nodes that work to collect and filter fluids before returning it to the bloodstream. Lymphedema presents as swelling in either one or both limbs, the swelling worsening with progression of the disease. It is caused by extra fluid build-up in tissues due to a defective lymphatic system.

Question or Concerns?

If you have been diagnosed with any of the above conditions or your doctor has recommended compression therapy as part of your treatment plan, book an appointment with one of our licensed chiropodists to be properly measured. 

Call us at 416-769-3338 or Book Your Assessment Today!

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You do not need a referral to become a patient at our foot clinic. Schedule an appointment by using the Appointment Request form below or contact the clinic at 416-769-FEET(3338).