What are Compression Socks?
Did you know that more than 6.5 million people in the United States over the age of 401 have peripheral artery disease? For many patients with PAD, exercising, dieting and quitting tobacco use are some of the ways you can manage symptoms.
Another beneficial way to reduce symptoms is by using compression socks. During the early stages of PAD, these socks are often used for varicose veins, swelling, and mild pain. Unfortunately, not every patient with the disease is a candidate to use them.
Before you determine if compression socks are right for you, here’s more on what to know and how talk to a vascular specialist today.
What Is PAD?
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a vascular condition where narrowed arteries cause reduced blood flow to the lower extremities. Typically, patients have minimal to no symptoms in the primary stages of PAD. However, if untreated for long periods, it can result in severe pain.
One of the main causes of PAD is atherosclerosis (excessive plaque that can cause hardened arteries and poor blood flow). Also common for individuals with PAD is coronary artery disease, diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol.
Are Compression Socks for PAD Effective?
As the name sounds, compression socks or compression stockings improve blood flow through the lower extremities. This helps to prevent leg swelling and, in some cases, blood clots. Depending on the measurement of the legs and the necessary compression required to recirculate blood flow, a specialist will make a recommendation on the strength and size that’s right for you.
These stockings provide support, generated through concentrated pressure around the ankle. After the material widens up the calf to the knee, it then releases pressure allowing blood to flow to the heart. Patients can benefit from these socks by receiving relief through 3 reduced swelling further alleviating some of the feelings of heaviness or achiness.
Can You Wear Compression Socks for Severe PAD?
Compression Socks are not for everyone and not recommended if you have severe PAD. For example, studies have found that PAD patients are at a higher risk for venous thromboembolism2 which is a condition that can form blood clots through the veins. This is more pronounced in individuals with a low ankle brachial index. Patients who suffer from this condition while wearing compression socks can worsen symptoms resulting in pain at rest, neuropathy, or poor wound healing.
Managing Your PAD
Only wear these specialized socks after approval and appropriate measurement from a vascular specialist because Effects from misuse of compression socks could indicate significant blood vessel blockage should be avoided.
PAD symptoms can be manageable allowing the freedom of movement. Therefore, to better understand what lifestyle changes you can make to manage your PAD, you can speak to one of our Vascular Specialists here at Modern Vascular. Schedule an evaluation today to get started!
Sykora, D. Et. Al (2021, November 8). Abstract 9193: Peripheral artery disease and the risk of venous thromboembolism. Circulation. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/circ.144.suppl_1.9193
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, September 27). Peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/PAD.htm#:~:text=Approximately%206.5%20million%20people%20age,the%20United%20States%20have%20PAD.&text=Other%20health%20conditions%20and%20disorders,PAD%20is%20due%20to%20atherosclerosis.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). Compression stockings: Medlineplus medical encyclopedia. MedlinePlus. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000597.htm