Are support stockings the same as compression stockings?
Are stockings the same as compression stockings?
Both medical support and compression stockings work on the same principle: They support the blood in the leg veins, since the blood has to be transported from the feet upwards against the force of gravity to the heart. Medical stockings put pressure on your legs, which gradually decreases towards the heart. The strongest pressure is exerted in the ankle area. Medical stockings improve blood circulation considerably by contracting the veins and allowing the blood to flow back faster.
Medical compression stockings are used for basic medical care for existing venous diseases or diseases of the lymphatic system. They exert a precisely defined pressure on the vessels and dilated veins can then be compressed to their normal diameter. Venous valves can function as a backflow valve. The blood can flow back to the heart unhindered and the veins are effectively relieved. Medical compression stockings are prescribed by a doctor and health insurers usually reimburse the cost of a pair of compression stockings every six months. Depending on the compressive strength and area of application, there are four different compression classes (I to IV).
Medical support stockings work on the same principle of gradually decreasing pressure; however, the pressure is much lower. They are suitable for people with healthy veins and are used for prophylaxis and for the treatment of heavy, tired legs, especially after standing or sitting for hours. Support stockings are particularly recommended for long journeys as they can prevent deep vein thrombosis due to lack of exercise. Since support stockings are only preventive products, they are not paid for by health insurance and are freely available for sale. It is also important to note that support stockings cannot replace compression stockings in pre-existing venous disorders. The material of medical support stockings is thinner and the material composition is not the same as that of compression stockings.
Can compression stockings be harmful?
Contraindications in the medical world are situations in which something should not be prescribed or recommended. If you have any of the following, compression garments may not be suitable for you:
• Ischemia: This is a lack of oxygen in the limbs due to a peripheral arterial disease that affects your legs in particular. This causes pain when walking, called intermittent claudication. It occurs because the arteries supplying the legs are narrowed or blocked and the muscles cannot get enough oxygen.
• Peripheral Neuropathy: This is damage to the nerves in the hands, arms, feet and legs.
• Heart failure: This occurs when the heart muscle becomes weak or stiff and blood cannot flow efficiently around the body. There is an accumulation of fluid edema in the legs.
• Cellulitis: An infection deep in the skin that causes fluid to build up - edema.
• Allergies: Some people are allergic to components used to make compression garments. Skin reactions do occur - sometimes these can be resolved by using a different brand or type. However, if you are allergic to compression garments, there is a risk of skin tears and infection when wearing them.
Individuals with other medical conditions that typically require treatment with compression stockings must be carefully evaluated and monitored. Compression therapy should only be considered if the medical team decides that the benefits of compression outweigh the risks.