Young men can also need compression stockings

3. October 2014

Chronic venous insufficiency threatens people who stand or sit when working as well as pregnant women and the elderly.

The thrombosis centre at East-Tallinn Central Hospital gives advice to patients suffering from thrombosis, pregnant women and people facing long-haul flights – anyone who needs advice about compression stockings.

Nurse Aire Põder overturns the understanding that varicose veins only occur in elderly women.“Venous insufficiency can be a problem for young men and women as well,” she explains.“Hereditary factors play a major role here.”

It is necessary to distinguish between varicose veins just under the skin, which are not life-threatening, and thrombosis, which is a deep-vein disease.When the valves inside the vein stop closing properly, the blood flows down because of gravity and stretches out the vein.

Legs become swollen and painful when blood no longer circulates properly and they feel like tree stumps come the evening.Leg muscles may also start cramping.

Chronic venous insufficiency develops gradually – at first there may be no visible symptoms.Women are generally more often affected.The condition is a particular threat to people who stand or sit when working as well as pregnant women and the elderly.Sitting with one of your legs crossed over the other, being overweight and hormone treatment are also harmful.

The condition occurs frequently, but is an undertreated and progressing disease.“It’s not life-threatening to the patient, but they usually can’t get their beautiful legs back and their quality of life deteriorates,” adds Põder.Ugly ulcers that are difficult to treat may ultimately develop.

Compression therapy, i.e. wearing compression or support stockings, is the best solution in the case of chronic venous insufficiency.There are many compression stockings and knee-highs available for different prices.The staff at the thrombosis centre help patients find the right ones.The stocking or knee-high must fit perfectly, which means that the leg must be measured first.

“The earlier you start wearing the stockings, the better,” Põder advises.“Wearing them is definitely recommended if you know that one of your parents has suffered from varicose veins, and women should definitely start wearing them from the second trimester when they fall pregnant.”

Wearing these rather thick stockings seems impossible, especially in the heat of summer, but it must be done as heat can aggravate the condition.If you find wearing the stockings too difficult when it is hot outside, you should put them on when you start working in an air-conditioned room.People to whom the stockings have brought relief are happy to wear them, adds Põder.Those who are already suffering from thrombosis and whose legs are aching cannot avoid compression stockings any longer.

The stockings must be put on every morning and taken off at night before going to bed.The pressure from outside boosts blood circulation, the veins no longer stretch and the swelling and associated pain subside.The pressure in the stockings is stronger on the ankle and decreases gradually up to mid-thigh, directing blood towards the heart.

People who choose compression stockings must check whether the pressure (Mm/Hg) is indicated on the packaging.The stockings are not compression stockings if the pressure is not indicated on the box.DEN only indicates the qualities of the thread used to make the stockings, not pressure.The recommended prophylactic pressure is 15-23 Mm/Hg. The pressure in the case of deep vein thrombosis should be up to 30 Mm/Hg.

Although many people worry that they are, compression stockings are not at all ugly.They are available in different thicknesses and colours – and with or without lace trim. It is also possible to buy toeless stockings.Compression tights are also available which are perfect for cold weather.Knee-highs are sometimes enough in summer.

The thrombosis centre is also monitoring a number of young men. Põder always asks them if they are wearing stockings when they come to see her.They usually are.Compression stockings are also worn by athletes, who find that they help against heavy legs.

Both family doctors and specialists refer patients to the thrombosis centre.There are a lot of pregnant patients.The staff at the centre teach them how to put on and wear the stockings.It is necessary to put cream on the legs after taking the stockings off in the evening, as the skin tends to become dry.Most pharmacists in larger pharmacies know this and are able to give advice.People should measure their legs at the ankle and the knee at home before buying the stockings.

The pressure applied by travel socks is somewhat smaller, but they are excellent for long-haul flights.Manufacturers also give these products a six-month warranty, but it only applies if the stockings are not machine-washed or dried in the sun.

The price of compression stockings ranges from 20 to 100 euros; knee-highs are cheaper.There is an Estonian manufacturer that makes good compression knee-highs which only cost 7 euros.Põder says they are definitely good enough for prophylactic purposes.


Source: Postimees