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Compression therapy is a popular treatment for venous diseases. It involves medical compression garments such as stockings, bandages and compression devices, that use controlled pressure to restore blood circulation in your legs and reduce unpleasant symptoms. Compression therapy is proved to be safe and efficient procedure that helps to:
• manage swelling and pain in the legs
• return blood to the central circulation
• heal wounds and ulcers
• reduce the diameter of the vessels
• reduce levels of inflammatory cytokines and proteases
• prevent blood clots after surgery
It is also a popular treatment for athletes to aid recovery, reduce soreness, improve performance to reduce the risk of blood clots.
Compression therapy is used to treat the following conditions:
Chronic venous insufficiency
Venous insufficiency is a common disease that develops as a result of weakened or damaged valves in the veins. The small valves inside the vein stop functioning properly and the blood starts to fall the wrong way down the leg causing the damage. It can cause a variety of problems such as varicose veins, swelling, pain, heavy legs, burning sensation and night cramps. Compression therapy can help reduce some of these symptoms and prevent you from developing new varicose veins.
Ulcers are open wounds or sores on the legs. It can be caused by diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease or other underlying vein problems. Compression therapy is an effective treatment for leg ulcers and can help to reduce symptoms such as swelling, pain, burning and itching.
Edema is a collection of fluids that gets trapped inside the tissues of your body, causing swelling in the legs, ankles and feet. It can also affect other parts of the body such as face, hands and abdomen and the entire body. Wearing compression stockings can be an effective solution to manage edema symptoms by putting pressure on your legs and keeping fluids from collecting in your legs.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot in a vein, usually the leg. It can be a serious and life threatening condition. Patients experiencing any vein thrombosis symptoms should get medical help as soon as possible. Compression therapy can be used as a preventative measure for vein thrombosis.
• Compression stockings - compression stockings are medical compression garments used to treat venous diseases by gently squeezing your leg with pressure, helping to restore blood circulation in your legs and reduce unpleasant symptoms. This is the most popular type of compression therapy.
• Compression wraps and bandages - compression bandages have the same principle as stockings and are also common treatment options for treating venous diseases.
• Compression devices - compression devices include boots and compressed air devices to restore blood circulation in your legs.
Before the treatment
You should always consult with a doctor before undertaking compression therapy. There a several types of the compression treatments and it is not a one-size-fits-all procedure. It is important to understand your symptoms, cause of the problem and your treatment goals in order to find the most suitable treatment plan for you. Your doctor can:
• define treatment plan
• determine an appropriate treatment type such as stockings, bandage or other compression devices
• advise on how to use compression devices, how often and how long to use it
• monitor your treatment progress
What does it involve
The socks or stockings are normally worn in the morning upon arising, and removed at night. Throughout the day the compression they provide prevents blood from pooling in leg veins, thereby helping overall circulation and diminishing any leg swelling you may have.
Generally the following is involved:
• You need to use it daily to reduce risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis)
• This procedure can help reducing edema and improving venouse blood flow
• You need to wear compression socking as long as your doctor prescribes
• Additional medical check and duplex ultrasound might be needed to diagnose and monitor treatment progress
Compression therapy is a safe and effective treatment if done correctly. Compression stocking is prescribed by a physician and only medical compression devices should be used. Patients should avoid using compression therapy without prior consultation with a doctor. If done incorrectly there is a risk of ischemia and inervation reducion.
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