What is Compression Therapy?

Compression therapy has been used to treat chronic venous disease since ancient times, with the earliest recording found in the Corpus Hippocraticum (450–350 BC). It remains the cornerstone component in the management of both venous and lymphatic disease.

One of the most important parts of your treatment for venous disease and venous ulcers is compression therapy. Compression therapy aims to increase venous and lymphatic return, reducing edema and venous pressure in the limb, by the application of an external force. Therapy involves using snug-fitting stockings, wraps, or special pumps to keep pressure on the veins in feet, ankles, and legs. The pressure forces fluid in the legs to move back into the blood vessels. When the swelling goes down, blood vessels get the oxygen and nutrition they need to help heal a venous ulcer.

Compression can be achieved using bandages, stockings or, in certain circumstances, intermittent pneumatic compression (pressure is applied through a sealed chamber around the limb). These are made to fit snugly to reduce swelling and increase circulation. The pressure is greater at the foot and ankle and decreases as it goes up to the knee.  Compression stockings come in multiple strengths 10-15 and 15-20 mm Hg are meant for prevention of disease.  Stronger compression 20-30 and 30-40 mm Hg are prescribed by your doctor and are used in treatment of varicose veins, spider veins, leg swelling and skin changes.  Wraps are generally used to treat ulcer disease and are place by a specialist.

Compression wraps will help your venous ulcer heal well if you follow these tips while wearing your wraps:

  • Be as active as you can – walking is great!
  • Keep your compression stockings or wrap dry
  • Wear the stockings as your doctor advised
  • Avoid standing for long periods of time
  • Elevate your legs often

Compression therapy is the foundation for prevention and treatment of venous and lymphatic system dysfunction. The therapy recommended is dependent on patient factors and the degree of dysfunction.

The effects of compression therapy can be dramatic, reducing edema and pain. If you are considering compression stockings to help with leg swelling, let the vein doctor at Lakeshore Veins guide you in the right direction. Compression stockings, varicose vein ablation, laser vein treatments and other varicose vein treatment options are specialties of Lakeshore Veins, with over 20 years of experience helping people live a comfortable and active life. If you want more information about varicose vein treatment options, call (262) 241-3999 or Contact Us Online to set up a consultation.

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