Compression stockings are a specially designed product to treat and prevent venous disorders such as edema, thrombosis and phlebitis. They are like any other stocking in appearance but perform differently. Compression stockings are available in two typical lengths which are knee high and thigh high.
Compression stockings exert considerable pressure on the legs, which reduces the diameter of swollen veins. This increases blood flow and improves effectiveness of the valves. The great length compresses the veins considerably, and the blood is made to pass through narrowed vessels in the entire leg. Consequently, arterial pressure increases, and more blood is transferred back to the heart.
There are two main types of compression support stockings: gradient compression stockings and anti embolism stockings.
Gradient Compression Stockings
Gradient compression stockings apply a non uniform pressure on the leg. These stockings are tightest around the ankles, where they create maximum pressure. The applied pressure is reduced on the knees and thighs.
Gradient compression stockings are worn by an ambulatory person who is inactive, and a person who sits with dangling feet for a long time. This causes blood to accumulate in the feet, and so the calf muscles must be forced to increase their pumping action to transfer blood back to the heart.
A person, who is suffering from lower limb edema, has a higher chance of blood clot formation or has swollen legs due to diabetics or any other reason can also make use of gradient compression stockings.
Anti-Embolism Compression Stockings
Anti-Embolism Compression Stockings or TED compression hoses are generally used by a non ambulatory person. They apply the same amount of pressure throughout the leg, unlike the gradient compression stockings. Hence the compression level is the same.
These stockings are recommended for patients in the recovery phase or going through post surgical treatments.