We all have been wearing socks right from our school days. Can anyone make a mistake while wearing a pair of socks? Really? YES.
Compression stockings are socks with graduated compression therapy which help in relieving various leg circulation issues. If not worn properly it might worsen the condition too.
Very often we are asked this question, what is exactly the difference between Anti-Embolism stockings and the regular medical compression stockings. Can they be used interchangeably? The answer is NO
Let us dwell deeper into this step by step
The basic definition according to the NHS website is
“Varicose veins are swollen and enlarged veins that usually occur on the legs and feet. They may be blue or dark purple and are often lumpy, bulging or twisted in appearance.”
To understand this better, let us get into a bit of human anatomy
We all know that arteries carry pure blood from the heart to the body parts and the veins carry impure blood from the body parts to the heart for purification. What needs to be understood here is, the arteries travel in the direction of gravity making the flow easier. But for the veins they travel against the gravity which makes it less easy.
Before explaining how does compression stockings help in varicose veins, let us go back to understanding of what are varicose veins and compression stockings.
Varicose veins are conditions of venous insufficiency which are visible in the form of the blue-green swollen or knotted veins found at the calf area of the leg.
Venous insufficiency is a condition that occurs when the venous valves are not efficient in the leg veins to return blood back to heart.
Compression stockings use graduated compression therapy wherein the maximum pressure is exerted at the ankle which decreases towards the calf.
Buying a pair of compression stockings is very much like buying a car. You might wish to buy a Merc but that does not suit your pocket. You always have to take into considerations lot many factors like your budget, size of the family, maintenance cost, type of the roads you will be driving in etc. Very similar is the case here. All the compression stockings provide similar compression but the fabric decides the level of comfort and of course the price of the stocking.
Let us go back to the definition of compression stockings. Graduated compression stockings apply maximum pressure at the ankle reducing gradually towards the calf and thigh which helps the flow of blood back to the heart. This range of compression is classified under the basic 3 categories. Which shall discuss them in detail below.
Please Note: These explanations expressed here are based on a general understanding on compression levels and they DO NOT replace nor overrule the doctor’s advice.