I mean really, if I have to wear compression stockings for life do they have to be ugly?
Tired, aching legs occur when the blood flow slows down in the legs. Nurses have worn white support hose, or compression stockings, for over 50 years. Athletes, long flight travelers and anyone on their feet or sitting for many hours at a time could benefit from wearing them. Compression stockings create significant pressure on the legs, ankles and feet compressing the surface veins, arteries and muscles so the circulating blood is forced through narrower channels. As a result, the arterial pressure is increased, which causes more blood to return to the heart and less blood to pool in the feet.
Last summer, after the fire, I was sick and having trouble with my feet and ankles swelling. After a battery of tests that were all within ‘normal’ parameters the swelling went away. I was happy with that and forgot about it.
Other than when I fly overseas and always land with swollen feet even wearing compression stockings—known as Economy Class Syndrome—and trying to move around and exercise, not an easy thing to do when I choose a window seat so have to crawl over at least one person. So I only wore the compression stockings when needed.
Well about a month ago my feet and ankles swelled like balloons. Remember, I’m on my feet for 10 hours a day when working. I went to the Kanab Clinic 85 miles away in Utah, the closest option, and went through another battery of tests. Results say I have a strong heart, good blood pressure, no blood clots, and good arteries, but I have lousy veins thus poor circulation. I do have varicose veins which I’m sure to have inherited from my Dad. Mom had edema so there’s another factor for water retention. The PA I saw recommended I wear compression stockings every day, all day.
What size and how much compression?
I guessed at first and stupidly bought cheap low-to-no compression at Walgreens which were entirely useless. Compression is expressed in mmHg (millimeters of mercury). Whatever that means. The higher the mmHg, the stronger the gradient compression: 8-15 mmHg – Mild Compression, 15-20 mmHg – Moderate Compression, 20-30 mmHg – Firm Compression, 30-40 mmHg – Extra Firm Compression. I use firm compression pantyhose style when flying but find them too much otherwise so wear knee high moderate for every day wear.
I learned not to take them off immediately upon getting home, like my bra (another story), as then my feet and legs itched terribly with the change in blood flow. Elevating feet above the heart is a good idea. So I take them off just before going to bed.
I thought good hiking socks at $6-12/pair was expensive. These are not cheap at $25-65/pair. Good thing they’re sturdy so can be either hand-washed nightly or bagged and machine washed. Watch the material content if you have problems with latex.
How to measure yourself. For knee highs measure circumference of ankle and widest part of calf then height from floor to one finger width below back of knee. For thigh high add circumference of thigh and height from floor to bottom of buttocks. Then use charts provided at sites that sell compression stockings. I’m wearing women’s small.
Putting them on and off
If the directions say to roll the the socks down to the toes and insert foot don’t bother. Talked to a friend that wears them and thank goodness because after I bought two pairs of Jobst at a real medical store in Flagstaff the directions on the package for putting them on and taking them off caused a lot of pain. My friend instructed me to fold the top over the bottom with just the toes showing then slide foot into them and pull up the top. Much easier. And do the same thing in reverse to take them off. Rolling them down just put too much pressure on my swollen feet.
Why so ugly?
Being like a heavy nylon stocking in beige, white, taupe, navy and black they are rather ugly. Not bad to wear under pants and even with another pair of socks over if shoes are big enough. A long dress isn’t too bad. But what about with shorts? I found a few very colorful patterns online, but for $20/pair the reviews aren’t the best and one company’s pretty patterns have a very ugly seam that breaks up the pattern. Call me picky and blame my mother the seamstress. Besides, who wants seamed socks?
Standard ugly & colorful. Which would you choose?
Was really excited when I found the colorful choices offered by Sockwell and ordered two pairs through Amazon. They’re made with a blend of Merino wool, bamboo and spandex. And they are made in the USA.
So now I’m wearing compression stockings for life and no more swollen feet and legs. In fact they are quite comfortable except for a little warm on a hot day. Do you wear compression stockings or think maybe you need to?
I am not endorsing any specific company nor receiving any compensation. But I did figure I’m not the only person that needs to wear compression stockings for life. So why should they be ugly?