1. OFF THE SHELF WILL DO
Do not confuse Support stockings with Compression stockings, it’s not just a play with words.
Compression Stockings are constructed in a very specific method which will give a higher level of compression at the ankle and graduated towards the knee giving a lesser level of compression.
The 2 main types are defined not by style or colour, but level of function.
•There are general compression stockings manufactured to a size and weight.
•There are Compression Stockings very specific to your needs and be measured to give the exact results that your doctor is seeking. Measurements may include the girth of your calf, ankle, knee, length of your limb and then the strength of compression required.
2. TOO TIGHT OR TOO LOOSE
The calf of your DVT affected leg may be twice the size of ‘normal’ leg.
As the size reduces, your doctor or appointed nurse, will want to monitor and issue stockings appropriate to the size of your leg. It is not a case that the stocking becomes looser and therefore no need to use them any longer.
Equally, if the stockings are too tight, they can do even more damage to your veins.
Once no longer under the care of the hospital, your own doctor will need to keep a check on just how effective the stockings are being.
3. I DON’T NEED THEM ANYMORE….DO I ?
Only your Doctor will tell you, based on your condition.
YOU yourself cannot and must not interfere with this
4. THEY ARE TOO UNCOMFORTABLE
Tell your Doctor or even the prescribing pharmacist, they at times will take measurements and arrange specific fittings to meet your needs.
This may get worse in Summer when it gets much warmer. The facts are that the heat of summer months will place additional strain on damaged or weakened veins. If anything, the need to increase the ease of your blood circulation becomes greater in summer, making it even more important to wear the correct stockings and raising your leg to be higher than your heart as often as possible, be that for half an hour here and there or and when you can.
It is advisable to have at least 3 pairs in summer to enable changing and washing as often as needed.
5. I HAVE PROBLEMS PUTTING THEM ON.
They can be difficult for certain. But don't forget that the entire purpose are for them to give compression at the required level.
The other issue which is commonplace, is that often the skin of the affected limb will be sensitive or even developing sores etc, making it extra problematic to then pull on a tight stocking.
Practice, care and applying creams or talc is the only way forward. Everyone is different but the difficulties are no less. The one major and common issue to be careful of, are finger nails. In pulling on and off, as you grip you will often accidentally be unaware of your nails scratching or digging into your poor limbs until too late.
6. THEY LOOK UGLY
In 1987 yes...now NOT.
There are countless new brands and designs giving the exact same medical effect as the bland white and beige coloured ones.
No one need know they are for DVT if you don't want them to.
7. LEAVE OUT THE ODD DAY?
NO. You may need to wear compression stockings for 12 months before it will be clear to see if you still need them.
If you don't have patience or think that you don't need them any longer, talk with your doctor first, don't stop using stocking until your doctor says it's OK.
Leaving out the odd day here and there is no different from leaving out birth control pills here and there...and we all know how that ends up!
8. WHAT'S DIFFERENCE?
Open toed, footless, knee highs, tights / pantyhose. The effect of compression is usually targeted at the ankle to the knee, but regardless of what type of Compression Stockings you have been prescribed, they will be given to meet your precise needs.
I have yet to know of anyone wearing above the knee stockings which did not roll down to below the knee.
Once again your doctor and indeed pharmacist will be able to advise. Often a prescription is written for compression stockings, with dozens of variations being held in stock ready for delivery. Once you part from a pharmacy and opt for different designs and colours, as long as the correct prescription is met, the design factor from colour to style is up to you and your choice becomes hundreds.
Don't forget that compression stockings contain a form of rubber, regardless of name or brand. As such, they will depreciate by washing, eventually turning into minuscule almost powder forms of rubber. That will not happen too soon, even with weekly washing and the heat of a good summer, but make sure you change and renew as needed, they are not permanent.
Measuring is all important for the correct size and compression value.
Compression Stockings for what is regarded as ‘comfort’ use, are considered NON-
Compression Stocking which are prescribed, as with DVT, are considered as MEDICAL GRADE-
DVT prevention is 8-
Therapy use 20 – 60 mmHg
mmHg stands for millimetre of mercury
Just as originally used in barometer readings, showing the increase and fall of air pressure. With Compression Stockings the same readings are used to measure the level of pressure which will be given by the stockings.
The higher the mmHg the higher the compression.