of Vascular Disease
1. What is
refers to a special firm dressing or sock that is put on the lower leg to apply
pressure to the skin of the leg for a long period of time. The dressing is
designed to apply more pressure at the ankle and progressively less pressure to
wards the knee. This is called graduated compression.
is graduated compression used for?
compression is used to treat problems with the veins in the leg.
When a person stands up the blood in the veins tends to pool in the lower legs
and feet. This pooling of the blood increases the blood pressure in the
veins and makes them expand. It believed that this excess pressure is
responsible for the symptoms of vein problems such as varicose veins and venous
leg ulcers. Graduated compression is a way of counteracting this excess
pressure in the veins. Graduated compression helps to relieve symptoms but
does not cure the underlying problem with the veins.
3. How do you apply
The two most commonly used methods are bandaging or wearing special
compression socks. Compression bandages are used when there is a leg ulcer
which needs to be kept clean and dressed regularly. Compression socks are
used when there is no ulcer. The amount of compression that is used
depends on the problem. Low compression is used for varicose veins, higher
compression for patients with venous leg ulcers. It is important to
note that not all leg ulcers are helped by compression. This is why all
patients with new leg ulcers should be seen by a specialist.
do you need graduated compression?
compression is only needed when you are sitting, standing or walking. When
you are lying with the legs horizontal the blood does not pool in the veins and
the blood pressure in the veins is low. However, it is inconvenient to
remove compression bandages every time you lie down so they are normally left
on. Compression socks are normally worn during the day and are taken off
before going to bed.