What is a compression garment? Well, compression garments are worn to improve blood circulation and to treat conditions like varicose veins, tired, achy legs, chronic venous insufficiency, swelling in the legs, phlebitis, healed or active venous ulcers and lymphedema. A gradual compression with maximum stress at your extremities boosts blood flow back to your heart and lymph nodes.
But before you go out to buy a compression garment, check with your healthcare provider what size you require and the kind because compression garments come in different types and sizes.
Compression stockings or socks work based on the technology of compression and if pressure is not applied correctly, then you will not benefit from wearing them. Compression garments work only if the right fit is used. The right compression size means close or tight fitting so that the right pressure is applied. But this does not indicate that you should buy one size smaller in order to get a tight fit. Compression garments are manufactured to give you a snug fit therefore your measurement should be accurate and the purchase accordingly.
Compression garments are used for different purposes. So there are post-surgical compression garments, full body compression garments, compression garment after lipo, abdominal compression garment, surgical compression garments and more.
Compression strength of compression garments is measured in mmHg and the more the mmHg, the higher the gradient compression.
The correct size is always important for all kinds of clothing but more so when you are buying compression garments. And proper use of compression socks or stockings is important for maximum benefit.
The compression level begins from 8-15 mmHg. This is the lowest strength and provides mild compression. Wearing a compression garment with this level provides relief to those with leg fatigue and mild swelling and is especially effective for those who are on their feet all day.
The second compression level is 15-20 mmHg which is medium strength and recommended for minor to moderate varicose and spider veins. Provides life to tired and achy legs. Is also advised for long distance travel and pregnant ladies.
The third compression strength is 20-30 mmHg which is for heavy compression. When you wear a compression socks or stockings with this level of compression you will find relief from moderate-to-severe varicose veins, superficial thrombophlebitis and also management of active ulcers. It is also recommended for moderate swelling from pregnancy. But this level should be worn only on a doctor’s recommendation.
The fourth and the highest compression strength is 30-40 mmHg which is extra firm and meant for severe swelling conditions. It is recommended for use in the treatment of severe edema, DVT and in post-surgical and post-sclerotherapy treatment to help put a stop to the reappearance of varicose and spider veins. Again, to be worn only on doctor’s advice.
Measurement for your compression garment should be taken at a time when the swelling is at the minimum. Therefore, doctors advise to measure compression fittings earlier in the day before the swelling begins to build up. In case of a stocking or an armsleeve, you may need to measure both the legs and the arms separately if their sizes are not uniform.
From size, you now need to understand the style you have to get. Depending on your condition and requirement, compression therapy can be applied through stockings, socks, gauntlets, gloves, armsleeves or pantyhose.
If you are wearing a compression garment for varicose veins, then it must fully cover the veins. The whole idea behind this garment is that it should cover the swelling well enough to impactadequately. It may be okay for it to be a bit longer rather than shorter. So, if your swelling or varicose veins are present above the knee, then you will need to wear a thigh or pantyhose style compression stocking. The band of a correct-fitting knee high should come to two finger widths below the knee bend. If it is worn for swelling at your ankles, then knee high stockings are good enough.
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Razia Sanwari is a journalist by profession with more than 20 years of experience in the print media. With a Masters's in English Language and Literature, Razia began her career as a junior editor in a Kolkata English language daily ...
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