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You are here: Home > Compression Therapy > Compression Informative Articles > Medical Compression Conditions

Medical Compression Conditions

Tired, Aching Legs

Standing and sitting for long periods of time can cause your legs to ache and feel tired. Blood pools at the ankles and has a hard time returning. 

8-15 mmHg gradient compression stockings give a gentle squeeze at the ankles and up the legs to get your blood flowing back toward your heart. This helps relieve that tired achy feeling in your legs.

Swelling

Build-up of fluid in the body's tissues, often occurring in the lower leg and ankle, is called swelling or edema. Painless swelling may be caused by some medications, injury, vein problems, heart problems or other reasons. Prolonged swelling should not be ignored, as it may be a sign of serious disease or chronic venous insufficiency.

Symptoms of edema:

  • Enlarged ankles and calf (lower leg may appear puffy)
  • Discomfort or tired legs
  • Decreased mobility (leg may feel heavy)
  • Decreased skin elasticity

Mild swelling is often managed with 15-20 mmHg compression. Moderate and severe swelling may require higher compression. Please consult with your physician. 

Remember to talk with your doctor or health care provider before wearing compression 20 mmHg and greater.

Varicose Veins 

Varicose veins can be mild to severe. They are caused from the backflow or pooling of blood in a damaged vein. They may occur as the result of heredity or develop during pregnancy.

Symptoms of varicose veins:

  • Bulging veins
  • Aching and discomfort in the leg
  • Leg heaviness and fatigue
  • Inflammation of a superficial vein

20-30 mmHg is the most commonly selected level of compression for varicose veins. The compression level that is best for you will depend on the severity of your symptoms. Please consult with your physician. 

Remember to talk with your doctor or health care provider before wearing compression 20 mmHg and greater.

Venous Insufficiency

Damaged valves in the veins can cause blood to pool in the leg and lead to swelling and discomfort. This condition is called chronic venous insufficiency, and can lead to skin damage and leg ulcers.

Symptoms of CVI:

  • Varicose veins
  • Daily swelling of the leg
  • Skin color changes around and above the ankle region
  • Dermatitis
  • Fragile skin - opens easily with minor trauma

CVI can be effectively managed by wearing gradient compression stockings daily. The 30-40 mmHg knee length compression stocking is the most widely prescribed stocking for chronic venous insufficiency.

Remember to talk with your doctor or health care provider before wearing compression 20 mmHg and greater.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a deep vein, partially or completely blocking the flow of blood. A long-term side effect of DVT may be one or more damaged venous valves that allow backward flow of venous blood. Improperly functioning valves lead to venous congestion in the leg, increasing the risk for chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) and new DVT.

30-40 mmHg knee length compression stockings are prescribed to manage the acute symptoms of DVT and to help prevent the long-term effects.

Remember to talk with your doctor or health care provider before wearing compression 20 mmHg and greater.

Venous Ulcers

The chronic backup of blood due to unhealthy (incompetent) valves allows blood to pool in the lower leg, causing swelling. Chronic swelling interferes with the nutrition and oxygen supply to the skin. The skin becomes dry, flaky and darker in color. The skin is fragile and easily breaks with minor trauma, forming an open wound, slow to heal.

Symptoms of venous ulcers:

  • Swelling of the ankle and lower leg
  • Dermatitis
  • Skin discoloration around and above the ankles
  • Open skin with moderate to heavy drainage

Lymphedema

Edema of lymphatic or venous origin can be mobilized by external pressure.