Sometimes, surgical invention isn’t the first step for handling varicose veins. If you visit the best vascular surgeons in Orlando at Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center for a consultation, they may decide compression socks could help symptomatically manage your vein health. You may think seeing a specialist for compression socks may be unnecessary since this useful legwear can be bought in stores. However, there are plenty of reasons why you should see a specialist before purchasing compression stocks. Let’s look deeper into how compression socks work, and why it’s so important to ask a specialist about them.
How Compression Socks Work
First, picture your veins. Your veins have valves that help promote healthy circulation throughout the body. The vein valves in your legs have an extra challenge: they must circulate blood upward, against the flow of gravity. These valves can become damaged or weakened over time. This causes blood to pool in the lower leg and form a varicose vein. These veins appear as dark and bulging under the skin and can make the legs feel heavy, itchy, tired, or painful. If left untreated, this can increase your risk of developing other conditions, such as a blood clot or a venous ulcer.
Compression socks can be used to give the vein valves a needed boost in promoting healthy blood flow. This legwear applies gradual amounts of pressure to the leg, with the greatest amount of pressure at the bottom. This pressure helps to guide blood back up the leg. They can be very useful in treating varicose veins symptomatically so that you feel less pain or heaviness in the legs. However, it’s important to remember that compression socks are not a cure for varicose veins.
Seeing a Specialist About Compression Socks
Compression socks aren’t one-size-fits-all. What may have worked wonderfully for a neighbor or family member is most likely not the ideal fit for you. Compression socks come in several different heights: knee-high, thigh-high, and full length to the waist. On top of that, there are many different levels of compression for each length. Light levels of compression are found in store. Higher levels of compression require a prescription from a specialist.
Finding the right size and level of compression that’s right for you can be tricky. You can’t tell by sight alone what will work. This is where a specialist can help. A specialist will go beyond just sizing your legs; they will use an ultrasound to create a clear picture of your vein health. From there, they’ll be able to tell you what type of compression will be best. Or, they may decide that compression socks aren’t the best course of action. If necessary, they may talk to you about surgical intervention. There’s no need to worry about vein surgery. Treatments are minimally invasive with little downtime, and they address the root of the problem instead of simply managing symptoms.
Again, we stress that compression socks are not a cure for varicose veins. Even if you do buy a pair of light compression socks from a store nearby, they will not fix the underlying issue.
Who Should Not Wear Compression Socks
Certain conditions can be made worse by compression socks. You should not be wearing compression socks if you have:
- A wound in the lower leg
- A condition, such as Peripheral Neuropathy, that decreases your ability to feel anything on your skin
- Peripheral artery disease
- Too much swelling in the leg
- Congestive heart failure
If you fit any of these criteria, it’s best to avoid compression socks and pursue a different line of treatment. A specialist will be able to work with you and figure out what treatment will be safest for your veins and overall health. Luckily, there are many different types of treatment options available to treat varicose veins.
Using Compression Socks
Have you already seen a specialist about compression socks? Then you’re familiar with the next challenge: putting them on. Because this legwear is highly elastic, it can be tricky to get used to putting them on. First, turn the stocking inside out, and place your toe as far into the sock as they will go. Then fold the sock back to the ankle, hold both sides, and pull it up onto the leg. Keep repeating the process of folding and pulling the sock until it’s on properly. If this is too difficult, consider picking up a stocking butler to make the process easier. Make sure to ask your specialist when and how often you should be using compression, as needs may vary.
When Compression Socks Aren’t Enough
As we’ve stated before, compression socks may not be viable for some people. Or, in some cases, they aren’t a long-term solution for vein health. In these cases, it’s likely that your specialist will recommend surgical intervention. The type of surgery will vary based on your vein health, but modern treatment options are minimally invasive. It often consists of either applying heat energy or injecting a special solution into the vein to irritate and close it, effectively removing the vein without scarring. Treatment is done as an outpatient procedure and patients are able to go home the same day, and often return to work the following day.
Have questions about compression socks or your overall vein health? You know what to do. Our team of the best vascular surgeons in Orlando at Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center have dedicated themselves to providing the best care possible. Our board-certified specialists are highly trained in modern, minimally-invasive treatments. They’re available to answer your questions, assess your vein health, and create the treatment plan that will be most beneficial for your veins. You can call us today at 407-545-3385 or 352-658-5547 to schedule a consultation. You’ll be able to meet us in one of three convenient locations in The Villages, Kissimmee, or Ocoee — whichever works best for you.