Varicose veins are enlarged and twisted superficial veins that usually occur under the skin of the legs. Varicose veins are very common, with women being affected about twice as often as men. Factors that can trigger varicose veins include obesity, pregnancy, prolonged standing, lack of exercise, leg injuries, and family history.
Varicose veins are more common in women and most commonly occur after the age of 50, especially in professions that require long periods of standing, such as teachers, nurses, conductors (music and buses), stage actors, umpires (cricket, javelin, etc.), security guards, public speakers, security officers, traffic police, salespersons, surgeons, etc. Treatment options include lifestyle changes, such as switching from regular socks to compression support stockings, weight loss through exercise, and elevating the legs while sleeping. Compression support stockings, also known as elastic stockings, are specially designed socks that aim to help prevent and treat venous diseases such as swelling, varicosities, venous inflammation, and blood clot formation, and prevent their further progression. Knee-high compression stockings not only help increase blood circulation but also prevent blood clots from forming in the calves and assist in the treatment of leg ulcers.
Bandage compression stockings are long stockings that apply elastic pressure through bandaging. Different pressures can be applied by manually tightening the bandages as needed, and professional medical training is required before use. In fact, the use of compression therapy is not new and dates back to 5000-2500 BC, when bandages were used to compress the legs for treatment. In 1628, experts discovered the connection between venous congestion and external pressure. Following this discovery, various compression measures were introduced into treatment, including bandage stockings, elastic bands, and resin bandages. Later, new textile materials began to be used for producing compression stockings: natural fibers or cellulose fibers (such as silk, cotton, coconut) and chemical fibers (such as acrylic, nylon, polyester). In the late 19th century, German hematologists discovered that the application of external pressure helps treat lower limb thrombosis, and compression support stockings began to be used in the treatment of deep vein thrombosis.
Unlike regular clothing or sports socks, medical compression stockings use tighter elastic materials to generate significant pressure on the legs, ankles, and feet. The compression is tightest at the ankle and gradually decreases towards the knee and thigh. By compressing the surface veins, arteries, and muscles, blood circulation is forced through narrow channels. This increases arterial pressure, causing more blood to flow back to the heart and less to accumulate in the feet. Elastic garments worn around the legs compress the limbs, reducing the diameter of dilated veins and increasing the velocity and effectiveness of venous blood flow. Compression therapy helps reduce venous pressure, prevents venous stasis and damage to the vein walls, and relieves heaviness and aching in the legs. The weaving pattern of gradient compression support stockings increases the compression around the ankle, gradually decreasing towards the top of the blood vessels.
Also known as anti-embolism stockings, these gradient compression stockings extend up to the thigh, while anti-thrombotic compression support stockings only reach the knee. In medical and surgical patients, such anti-thrombotic compression stockings should be used as the first choice for preventing deep vein thrombosis. Knee-high stockings are more comfortable and easier to use. Wearing them can improve patient compliance with treatment.