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The concept of compression therapy lies on a simple and efficient mechanical principle: the application of an elastic garment around the leg.
By compressing the limb with graduated compression -- strongest at the ankle and decreasing up the leg -- the compression stocking helps venous return, decreases venous pressure, prevents venous stasis, reduces edema and deterioration of venous walls, and efficiently relieves aching and heavy legs by aiding the body in moving blood up the leg.
This treatment is prescribed by a clinician to treat lymphedema, phlebitis, thrombosis, aftercare following surgery, sclerotherapy, and any other forms of varicose vein treatment. It is also prescribed to relieve all conditions of chronic venous disease (heavy legs, varicose veins, edema, and leg ulcers). It can also be prescribed to prevent venous issues during pregnancy and long distance travel. If no contraindications like severe arterial insufficiency are present, you may even buy compression stockings of lower pressure without prescription.
Depending on the pathology, medical compression therapy can be applied in different forms: socks, stockings, tights, or bandages.
The current new textures and fashion designs of SIGVARIS® compression products encourage better patient concordance due to the efficacy and comfort of the garments.
The principle of this therapy is to exert a controlled pressure on the limb. The pressure unit is the millimeter of mercury (mmHg) or the hecto Pascals (hPa). 1 mmHg = 1.33 hPa.
The pressure is exerted by the application of a device on the limb.
Stockings or bandages are called medical devices. They must meet strict requirements. The devices are called orthesis meaning that their action is to support or to reinforce a part of the human body, and not to be a substitute like a prothesis.
The action of the device is mechanical. It utilizes the principle of hysteresis that is defined by the stretch-relaxation curve of an elastic body. The transmission of the pressure to the vascular system by those devices is indirect.
The principle stands against the hyperpressure induced by a defective venous system
The pressure is stronger at ankle level. The compression device must exert a contra-pressure where the pressure level is the strongest : at the ankle.
The pressure is degressive. The direction of the blood stream must be respected. Therefore the pressure must be degressive. The gradual pressure decrease is defined in the requirements of the devices, and depends on the compression classes.
The pressure is determined by the elastic recoil force of the hosiery and the form of the leg.
Information taken from Sigvaris Canada Website
- Pollack A.A. et Wood E.H. Venous pressure in the saphenous vein at the ankle in man during exercise and changes in posture. J Appl Physicl. 1949,1: 649.
- Partsch H., Rabe E., Stemmer R. Compression. Chaptre 5. In: Compression of the extremities. Editions Phlébologiques Françaises. 2000. Paris. Pages 57-134.
Effects of compression
1. Hemodynamics effect
Increases venous blood flow
Decreases venous blood volume
Reduces reflux in diseased superficial and/or deep veins
Reduces a pathologically elevated venous pressure
2. Effect on tissue
Reduces an elevated edema of the tissue
Increases the drainage of noxious substances
Sustains reparative processes
Improves movement of tendons and joints
What you can do to help with Swelling
1. Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time.
Our circulation improves with physical activity, so GET UP! Take a short walk, climb stairs, or make an effort to move around the office and at home.
Prolonged sitting or standing may increase leg pain and swelling.
2. Avoid extended exposure to heat from sunbathing, hot baths, or the sauna.
Excessive heat will cause your veins to dilate and may induce swelling. After a long tiring day, especially during the summer, revitalize your legs with a cool shower or bath.
3. Elevate your legs.
To boost your body’s natural circulation, elevate your legs while you are sitting on the sofa or lying in bed at home. At the office, keep a leg rest under your desk.
4. Work out.
Regular exercise helps keep your body healthy. Some sports are better for improving circulation, such as swimming, walking, biking and yoga.
5. Manage your weight.
When you manage your weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise, you are more likely to have fewer leg symptoms and/or less swelling.
6. Wear graduated compression socks and stockings.
SIGVARIS quality compression socks and stockings improve venous circulation to prevent and treat venous problems.
SIGVARIS has an assortment of products designed to fit your lifestyle. These products can help improve your circulation, increase your energy and aid in keeping your legs healthy. Your physician, pharmacist or SIGVARIS Certified Fitter can help you determine which SIGVARIS product is right for you. SIGVARIS guarantees the compression level in our products for 6 months.
People who benefit from graduated compression include those who:
stand or sit for long periods of time daily
have been prescribed anticoagulants
have had a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
experience swelling in their legs and feet
have varicose and/or spider veins
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