what are graduated compression socks and when do we need them

The use of graduated compression stockings helps in the conservative treatment of venous insufficiency of the lower extremities, as they exert more pressure on the ankles, while gradually, towards the upper part of the leg, the pressure is reduced. In this way, graduated compression tights and socks help limit blood pooling in the lower legs and help return blood to the heart.

The top brands for graduated compression socks are Sigvaris and Cizeta Varisan. They are divided into 4 main categories: knee socks (with open or closed toes), over-knee socks (with open or closed toes), thigh socks (with open or closed toes or with a belt), and compression tights. Depending on the degree of compression in mmHg (millimeters of mercury column: international unit of measurement of blood pressure) exerted on the legs, they can be used therapeutically upon prescription by a competent physician (vascular surgeon, angiologist, phlebologist) or preventively by people subjected to prolonged standing, intense sedentary life or in constant travel.

κάλτσες ταξιδιου
The Varisan Passo, Varisan Lui and Varisan Lui & Lei range of graduated compression tights and socks are low compression (15 – 18 mmHg) that offer support, comfort, and well-being and help avoid the ‘tourniquet’ effect (acute ischemia-reperfusion syndrome of the lower extremities) significantly reducing the risk of blood clots during travel.

The classes based on the degree of compression are as follows:

What exactly do graduated compression medical stockings do?

Medical stockings apply pressure on the superficial veins of the lower extremities, thereby reducing the amount of blood in them. Thus, healthy blood circulation is restored, resulting in a reduction of the feeling of heaviness and swelling in the lower limbs, as well as the prevention of dangerous conditions (e.g. thrombosis).

Why should we wear graduated compression socks or tights?

Elastic compression stockings are necessary when blood circulation in the legs needs to be supported due to pathological conditions related to venous health.

If your legs feel heavy, especially at night, or you often experience swelling or pain, it is necessary to seek a medical diagnosis from a specialist doctor (vascular surgeon, angiologist, phlebologist), who is able to suggest the best way to treat it.

It is important to know that elastic stockings are applied during the day and should be removed during the night’s sleep, as the blood pooling and swelling decrease at night.

The most common cases for which graduated compression stockings are recommended are:

  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Varicose veins
  • Spider veins
  • Pregnancy
  • “Economy seat syndrome” (related to leg inertia on long-haul flights)

The application of graduated compression stockings should be done with caution when the following are present:

  • Skin infections
  • Immobility (restriction to bed)
  • Skin spots
  • Tenderness of the lower extremity
  • Skin infections

Caution: It is essential to consult a specialist when using graduated compression socks above 20mmHg.

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