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Varicose veins ( enlarged, bulging, bluish veins that can be seen on the surface of the skin, usually on the legs) can affect anyone. However, some groups of people, such as those who are pregnant or with a family history of varicose veins, are more susceptible than others.
Wear compression socks or stockings – fitted socks of different lengths, usually below the knee or up to the thighs. "While compression socks cannot treat existing varicose veins, they can help prevent new ones," says Bauer Sumpio, MD, a vein surgeon at Yale Medicine. This is due to the main cause of varicose veins : a failure or defect in the vein valves , which contributes to swelling.
'Stockings alone do not cure varicose veins . When the veins are enlarged, they are there ”, he explains. What compression stockings do is prevent them from deteriorating and prevent new ones from developing.
"We usually prescribe compression stockings below the knee," says Dr. Sumpio. "These are medical stockings because they must be knitted with the tension in the leg in mind, in particular the tension of the stockings at the ankle is much higher than at the thigh." The reason for this is to provide a continuous flow of venous blood to drain the leg. If the pressure of the stockings were the same all over the body, it could make bleeding difficult and cause even more swelling in the leg.
"We usually prescribe compression stockings with a mercury gradient of 10 to 15 millimeters (mmHg)," he adds. "This means that the pressure in the ankle is 15 millimeters of mercury and 10 mm in the knee."
Dr. Sumpio suggests wearing compression stockings during the day, typically instructing his patients to put them on in the morning and remove them before bed. "The reason for this is that when you lie down, your position on your back cancels out the effect of gravity," he says.
Since these tights lose some of their firmness and elasticity due to frequent use, he suggests buying two pairs every four to six months and changing them as needed.
Because compression socks are complex and woven and have to go through a specific manufacturing process to accommodate the different pressure gradients transmitted by the stockings, they are much more expensive than a regular pair of socks and are often more expensive. $ 50 a pair, says Dr. Sumpio.
However, no prescription is required to purchase compression socks. These are some of our best compression socks to help prevent varicose veins.
For nylon / polyester socks impregnated with copper to enhance compression, Bluemaple Copper Compression Socks (see Amazon ) come in a variety of colors and patterns (offering graduated compression from 10 to 30mmHg). CHARMKING's compression socks (see on Amazon ) are well established fans and are a great budget option, but for those who want more cotton than synthetic fibers in compression socks, SocksLane (see on Amazon ) offers a pair with 65% of cotton.
What to look for in compression socks for varicose veins
Compression socks are not only measured by standard sock sizes, but also by the amount of pressure they exert, also known as mmHg. As Dr. Talloch says, the size of compression socks depends on what you are wearing them for.
"If you have symptomatic varicose veins, you want the pressure to be high enough to burn the veins and relieve symptoms," he explains, noting that to do this, you need to find socks with a pressure of at least 20-30mmHg.
If you have mild varicose veins or are primarily trying to improve the cosmetic appearance of your veins, Dr. Talloch says you can opt for a lower compression, such as 10 to 15 mmHg. Choose the correct measurement in mmHg. Art. It depends on the severity of your symptoms. Symptoms can include pain, itching, or pain.
By far the most important thing to look for in compression socks is the pair that you will actually be wearing.
"They will only work as long as you wear them, and the symptoms will return after you remove your socks," warns Dr. Talloch. "If you find one you like, use it."
If you are concerned about measuring mmHg. hits the mark!).
Speaking of socks that are too hot and itchy, it is important to consider what material you personally prefer. None of the doctors we spoke to had specific material recommendations, less important than the material the socks are made from, how comfortable that material is for what you will do with them.
"Different materials work better for different patients," says Dr. Jeffrey Barnes, a cardiovascular cardiologist at the Frenkel Center for Cardiovascular Health at the University of Michigan . "I encourage all of my patients to try different types of compression socks to find the ones that work best for them."
Depending on the brand you buy, your socks may only come in two sizes (small / medium and large / extra large) or four or more sizes (small, medium, large, extra large, etc.). Most of the time, the manufacturer lists instructions for measuring your feet to make it easier for you to order the size you want, but don't give up if you can't find a good enough fit.
"The problem is that they all have different leg lengths and circumferences," says Dr. Talloch, "and over-the-counter socks are very diverse."
If finding the perfect fit is difficult, Dr. Talloch suggests talking to your doctor about a compression sock prescription: "We will send you to the pharmacy to measure your feet and we will give you compression socks that do not fit everyone." … "
Frequently asked questions
"If you have varicose veins, you have too much blood pooling in your legs and the pressure in these lower veins increases," says Dr. Barnes. This pressure causes the veins to bulge, but compression socks have the opposite effect.
"Compression socks help compress the leg," explains Dr. Barnes, "[they stimulate] blood flow from the legs to the heart and reduce the blood pressure that can build up in the veins in the legs."
However, this little magic trick only works when you are wearing socks, that is, when you are physically pressing on your legs. The lack of socks means that there is no pressure, which means an increase in varicose veins.
This depends in part on the severity of your symptoms. Dr. Talloch says that people with mild varicose veins or just trying to improve their appearance can use them as needed; This may be the part of the day when you are most on your feet or when you are traveling (especially air travel can make your symptoms worse).
However, if you have more severe varicose veins, you may need to wear compression socks during waking hours.
"For most patients with varicose veins, we recommend wearing compression socks from morning to night as many days a week as possible," suggests Dr. Barnes.
Wearing compression socks as often as possible has several benefits. First, you're probably wearing them because you want your feet to feel better, Dr. Barnes says, so the more you wear them, the better your feet will feel.
But they can also help slow the progression of vein disease, explains Dr. Talloch, adding that varicose veins can only be treated, not treated: 'If you use them rigorously, you can slow [the collapse of these veins] and more. . long periods of time, it will help them not to get worse. "
Unless your doctor tells you this, it is probably not necessary; gravity should help you do some of the work for your socks when you sleep.
"It's usually a good idea to remove your socks at night when you're in bed," says Dr. Barnes, and recommends that people who need relief at night try lifting their legs in bed with a pillow to reduce blood pooling in your lower extremities.
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