How do compression stockings work?

In Conditions by Alnoor Ladhani, Chiropodist

Toronto Chiropodist is a licensed fitter for compression stockings

In our newsletter, we recently wrote about venous disorders and using compression stockings as a treatment and to prevent symptoms if you have certain risk factors.

We’ve written about compression stockings before in our blog post called Why use compression socks?  To be clear, whether we call them “compression stockings” or “compression socks”, we are talking about medical devices that help treat achy, tired legs, venous disorders, and poor circulation caused by diabetes, pregnancy, and other factors.

In today’s post, we’ll focus on some details about how compression stockings actually work to treat the symptoms of poor circulation or achy legs.

How compression stockings help

Compression stockings work by applying pressure to the legs which helps to restrict veins that are weak, stretched, or otherwise not working properly.  They do this by applying the most pressure down at the ankle, and gradually decreases as the stocking goes up the leg.  This is called graduated compression.

When you think of how your circulatory system works, you probably think of your heart pumping blood around to the rest of your body.  Of course that’s true, but your heart is only one “pump” involved in your circulatory system.  It is normally helped out by other muscles and valves that also act as pumps.  For example, as you walk, your calf muscles contract and relax, and this helps pump blood through your legs and back up towards your heart.  Valves in the veins of your legs also open and close as you walk, allowing blood to flow through when your calf contracts, and then closing to prevent back-flow when your calf relaxes.

When you have a venous disorder, the veins and valves in your circulatory system can become weak, stretched, or otherwise damaged.  This becomes most apparent in your extremities, such as your legs.

Graduated compression therapy helps by acting sort of like a muscle to gently press stretched vein walls closer together.  This restricts blood flow and helps the valves to close properly.  Basically, compression stockings help boost slow blood flow to a healthier, more effective speed and pressure.

If you need compression stockings, come see us at Step by Step Professional Family Foot Care.

We have our very own in-house compression stocking custom fitter who can  help you find the right pair of stockings for your specific needs.

We also have a wide selection of styles to choose from, so don’t worry about having to cover them up with pants.  We can find you a pair that you can wear with any skirt, dress or pair of shorts in your wardrobe!

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