Medical Grade Compression Therapy is a first line treatment of venous insufficiency in both the deep and superficial veins. While compression alone will not reverse venous insufficiency, it can improve symptoms, slow progression, and heal ulcers stemming from venous reflux. Compression stockings are also used in the treatment of blood clots in the deep and superficial system of veins.
Medical Grade Compression Stockings are elastic garments worn on the legs that provide graduated levels of compression, or snugness, to the leg. They are most snug near the foot and ankle becoming gradually less snug as they rise up the leg. The stockings act as a layer of muscle by gently squeezing the stretched vein walls together, allowing the valves to close. This provides support to the vein wall improving blood flow up the vein, reducing reflux down the vein, and aiding in overall circulation.
Wearing the correct strength (degree of snugness) compression stocking is essential. They are available in multiple strengths which will be prescribed based on the severity of the venous disease to be treated. It is important that a health care provider advise you of the strength most appropriate for your needs. Stockings that are too strong or too weak, may compromise their effectiveness. The stockings available “off the shelf” without prescriptions are typically lighter non-Medical Grade stockings and are usually not made of quality materials.
The correct size compression stocking is also important. Incorrectly sized compression stockings may become uncomfortable, making it difficult to wear them. Medical Grade Compression Stockings should feel snug, but they should never hurt. The most common complaints of inappropriately sized stockings are pinching from the stocking or the need to roll the top of the stocking down. They should not cause deep ridges in your skin or pain. Please let us know immediately if you have developed any discomfort you attribute to the stockings, regardless of where you purchased them.
To maximize the effectiveness of your Medical Grade Compression Stockings, they should be applied as soon as you get up in the morning, before your legs start to swell and the veins fill with blood. They may be removed at bed time or anytime you have your legs elevated above the level of your heart. If you have an ulcer from venous insufficiency, you may be asked to wear your stockings to bed to aid in healing of the ulcer. You will also be asked to wear your stockings regularly following any type of definitive vein treatment such as EVLT, sclerotherapy, microphlebectomy, or surface laser.
With daily use, the elastic compression begins to stretch out after approximately 6 months. We recommend that you replace the stockings regularly to ensure continued effectiveness of the compression therapy. If you are unsure if your compression stockings need replacement, please contact one of our Certified Stocking Fitters to help with this recommendation.
It is important that you obtain your stockings from a reputable supplier. Due to the importance of properly sized stockings, The Wisconsin Vein Center has Certified Stocking Fitters (CSF) on staff. The CSF will meet with you to custom measure your legs and show you the stocking choices available in the correct size and strength needed. During your appointment with the CSF, you will be instructed regarding application, removal, and care of the compression stockings. The CSF will also offer continued support throughout your treatment.
At our office we maintain a large inventory of Medical Grade Compression Stockings. Most stockings will be available to you immediately; however, there are times we may have to order the correct stockings for you. We generally receive the stockings in a few days once they are ordered.
You may choose to purchase your stockings at an outside pharmacy that handles Medical Grade Compression Stockings. If you do, please keep in mind that you must be measured correctly to ensure a proper fit. Also, they should be tried on at the time of purchase to verify the correct fit and make certain you are able to apply them correctly. Proper instructions for wearing and caring for the stockings is also important.
We discourage the purchase of compression stockings from over-the-counter retail stores or off the internet. It is difficult to ensure the appropriate strength and fit of the stockings and often the quality of the stocking is suboptimal. This may lead to uncomfortable stockings which are difficult to wear and need to be replaced more frequently.
The cost of Medical Grade Compression Stockings varies by the size and strength recommended as well as the style you choose. Our CSF will discuss the different stocking options and associated costs with you at your stocking fitting appointment.
The appointment with our CSF will be billed directly to your insurance. Payment for the stockings will be due in full at the time you receive them. Most insurance companies DO NOT cover the cost of Medical Grade Compression Stockings. If your insurance covers the cost of stockings, we will provide you with all of the necessary paper work to submit for reimbursement. We are not able to bill insurance directly for the stockings.
You may choose to hand wash or machine wash your compression stockings. Gentle cycle, using a lingerie bag, on cold or lukewarm water setting is recommended. Most laundry detergents are fine to use as long as they do not contain bleach or chlorine. Do not use fabric softeners. Do not place in dryer. Air drying your Medical Grade Compression Stockings is recommended..
If you purchase the Medical Grade Compression Stockings from the Wisconsin Vein Center, snags, tears, holes and runs that occur during application or removal are guaranteed by the stocking manufacturer for 30 days from date of purchase. The elastic compression of your stockings has a 6 month guarantee from date of purchase. With daily use, the stockings should be replaced every 6 months to assure maintenance of the appropriate level of compression.
NOTE: It is highly recommended that a Certified Stocking Fitter does your initial fitting and measurements to ensure a proper fit.
Have more questions about compression stockings? Click here to view our frequently asked questions regarding this treatment.