When it becomes necessary to use compression hosiery, people often find themselves in a quandary. Dozens of brands, sizes, compression classes, and other nuances will confuse anyone. On forums, you can often find negative messages in which authors complain of falling stockings, discomfort when wearing, lack of effect and other problems. From them are not insured and buyers of expensive compression products. A mistake in the choice of size or a violation of the donning technique and care rules can lead to disastrous results even in this case.
After reading the article, you can navigate the world of compression medical wraps, get an idea of the types, purpose, and features of these products, learn about compression classes and learn to make the right choice.
What are compression wraps?
Compression knitwear is a type of medical underwear made using a special technology for the prevention and treatment of diseases associated with varicose veins and some types of lymphedema. In addition to patients who are already sick, the doctor can recommend such products to people at risk – having undergone certain operations, pregnant women, who are overweight, etc.
Externally, compression hosiery may not differ from the usual stockings, tights and golf. Some models have lace elastic and a wide range of colors. The main difference is the effect on the body – properly selected medical underwear has the following actions:
- Help to reduce the diameter of deep and superficial veins
- Increase blood flow
- Provide the correct outflow of venous blood.
Products are created so that the greatest compression is on the ankle, and the smallest – on the upper thigh. This pressure distribution allows you to set the blood flow in the right direction, and the liquid part of the blood from the edematous tissue returns back to the blood vessel. As a result, a person already in the first days of use notes a decrease in edema, the disappearance of a feeling of pain and heaviness in the legs. True, such an effect is possible only with the right choice.
Regular stockings and tights, even thick ones (from 100 den and above) or with a dragging effect, do not give a similar result. The pressure of the material is negligible, it is not distributed correctly on the surface of the leg, therefore, one can’t even talk about preventive action here.
Features of medical knitwear
You can not choose medical knitwear from the position of “I want it to be beautiful and inexpensive.” It is important to know its features, to understand the differences between Lycra and microfiber, and models with a closed toe from products with an open. There are many benefits of compression wraps but to learn more you need to study the nuances.
The method of knitting is of importance – flat or circular. Each has its purpose and features, details in the comparative table.
|Characteristics||Circular weaving||Flat weave|
|Stitches||Are absent||Are present|
|Elongation||High||Medium and lower|
|main destination||Prevention and treatment of varicose veins||More commonly used to treat lymphedema.|
|Dimensions||Picked up more often by four anatomical standards||It is sewn to order, more parameters can be taken into account|
|Donning||To put on relatively easily, you can use special devices.||It’s difficult to put on. There is linen equipped with special hooks and fastening systems.|
In the manufacture of medical underwear, natural or synthetic fibers can be used, the main thing is that they have the appropriate certification. The material may be different:
- Polyamide or nylon. It is not used in its pure form in compression stockings – it does not have sufficient elasticity, therefore stockings can be folded.
- Elastane, he’s lycra or spandex. It provides the necessary elasticity. The proportion of lycra in compression products is 15-40%.
- Twisted thread polyamide + elastane. High-quality material, has great strength, but many times more expensive than other materials.
- Microfiber is a fabric made from fibers of a number of polymers. Comfortable, warm and soft, therefore suitable for the spring-autumn period.
- Cotton with polyamide and elastane. The fabric is pleasant to the touch, comfortable. Durable, but with high elastane content (more than 3%) it loses this property.
For many, the type of fixing elastic, which can be lace, rubber, silicone and other materials, is also important. According to reviews, latex elastic can curl, and lace does not always keep stockings on the leg, so here the choice is made based on personal preferences
In most cases, compression garments are expected to be worn daily, so they should treat, but not cause, allergies. You should also pay attention to the strength of the material and the appearance of the goods.
Types of compression underwear
Compression knitwear can be of different types. In stores and specialized salons, you can find stockings, tights, knee-highs, gloves. Each item has its own purpose:
- One stocking (mono-stocking) is designed to be worn with unilateral varicose veins, thrombosis, thrombophlebitis;
- A pair of stockings is recommended for varicose veins extending above the knee or in the popliteal fossa and affecting both limbs. For women, the use of a pair of stockings remains relevant, from an aesthetic point of view, even with the unilateral presence of varicose veins;
- Tights are recommended for people with impaired venous outflow in the lower abdomen;
- Golfs are designed to be worn with varicose veins localized below the level of the knee joint;
- Sleeves, gloves are worn with hand lipedema, postoperative or post-traumatic edema.
Compression knitwear for men focuses specifically on medical use, without any embellishments. On the contrary, women’s knitwear may have openwork elastic and different colors.
Tights, stockings and socks can be open or closed toe. The choice of product option depends on individual wishes – many patients like open-toed products, especially when worn in the hot season. In addition, open-toed knitwear is preferred in the following cases:
- If necessary, care for the toes;
- In the case of monitoring the condition of the skin in people with diabetes;
- To prevent macroangiopathies.
If the doctor did not focus on what type of product to wear, you can be guided by your preferences. If it is prescribed to wear knitwear with an open or closed toe, you need to choose just such models.
When is compression hosiery indicated?
In cases where there are risks of developing varicose veins, swelling of the extremities or there are already such violations, it is recommended to wear medical or preventive knitwear, which is selected based on the specific situation:
- For the prevention of varicose veins during pregnancy, representatives of some professions, overweight, and some diseases need products with a low level of compression – up to 18 mmHg. Art.
- For use during or after some operations, during childbirth and in the postpartum period, hospital-type anti-embolic stockings are needed. It differs from ordinary compression stockings in obligatory white color, a special viscous fabric and the presence of a special “window” in the foot area.
- To treat a trophic ulcer, a golf kit is often used, in which the internal has a lower compression and the external has a higher compression. In some products, for example, in the Mediven ulcer kit, a silver-plated thread is sewn, with which an antibacterial effect is achieved.
- For the treatment of lymphedema, flat-knit fabric made to order or selected taking into account a dozen parameters is used. Usually has 3 or 4 compression class.
- For wearing during pregnancy, products with compression up to 18 mH are selected. Art. or first class (18-22 mm Hg. Art.). If there is varicose veins, the doctor may prescribe class 2 jersey. The type of elastic, color and other parameters a woman chooses based on her own preferences.
- For sports, compression jerseys are also important – they reduce the risk of injury, make training more comfortable and effective. Knee-high socks and socks are selected taking into account the expected physical exertion, sport, athlete’s wishes and have compression up to 18 mm Hg. Some models use a special wavy fabric that allows the skin to breathe.
Compression classes and their features
Compression medical underwear has four classes, which are determined by the pressure strength in the ankle area. Each class has its own purpose:
- Compression class 1 have stockings and other products designed to prevent varicose veins in people at risk. Such things have ankle pressure in the range of 18-21 mm Hg. Art. In addition to the prevention of varicose veins, such products very well help with the so-called functional venous insufficiency – a condition in which there is still no violation of the structure of the walls of the veins, but they no longer cope with their function.
- Compression class 2 has medical underwear, the tissue of which exerts a pressure in the range of 23-32 mm Hg. Art. It is prescribed by a doctor for wearing after operations on the veins, with varicose veins of the 2nd stage, pregnant.
- Compression class 3 have products with pressure on the ankle in the range 34-46 mm RT. Art. They are prescribed for severe venous insufficiency, trophic ulcers.
- Compression class 4 have products that exert a pressure above 50 mm Hg. Art. They are prescribed for the most severe forms of varicose veins. Used extremely rarely.
Products with a pressure of less than 18 mH. Art. considered preventive. They can be bought by anyone who is at risk, goes in for sports or makes long walks, trips, flights by plane.
Pressure values may vary, depending on the country of manufacture. In the US, most often they are guided by the German standard RAL-GZ 387, but the linen can be Russian, French, American, so the compression figures can be different.
Regardless of the standard, the pressure in millimeters of mercury should be indicated. If there is a marking “Den”, and the values in mm RT. Art. no, the product does not have a therapeutic effect.
How to know your size?
The final result of wearing medical underwear depends on how correctly the size is calculated. To obtain the necessary data, a centimeter tape is used, with which the following circles are measured:
- Hip – measuring point 25 cm above the knee, or 5 cm below the level of the gluteal fold;
- Drumstick – froze in the widest area of the calf muscle;
- Ankle – a centimeter above the bone (the smallest size in the lower part of the lower leg).
The resulting numbers are a guide when choosing a size. You can also use the size chart for a standard physique.
|The size||1 (S)||3 (L)||2 (M)||4 (XL)|
|Ankle circumference, cm||19-22||22-25||25-28||29-32|
|Shin circumference, see||29-37||34-42||38-46||41-51|
|Thigh circumference, cm||44-52||50-58||56-64||60-72|
It is important not only to accurately measure, but also to choose the right size. If it cannot be determined, consult a doctor. For people with a non-standard physique, determining the size is even more difficult. You have to forget about saving on yourself – the more expensive the brand, the more in the assortment of products of different sizes and it is easier to choose the best option.
How to wear medical knitwear?
Even if it is true to take measurements and choose the compression jersey as accurately as possible, the desired effect may not be available. This is usually due to the fact that a person does not know how to wear stockings. Manually, this can be done in the following sequence:
- Straighten the stocking;
- Insert the hand inside to the heel, holding it in a fist;
- Remove the wrong side out so that you get a small “pocket”;
- Insert the leg into the “pocket”, straighten the product and make sure that there is no twisting;
- Grabbing the fabric a little, pull the stocking up to the ankle, then distribute it over the lower leg and thigh;
- Smooth the stocking with sliding movements.
If you can’t put on the product with your hands, you can use special devices – a butler or a glider. You can learn more about how to put on stockings with and without devices from this article , where I talked in detail about 8 ways to put on stockings.
Which manufacturer to choose and where to buy the product
Usually, worldwide you can find compression hosiery from Switzerland, Germany, the USA, France, Canada, Russia, and other countries. German manufacturers have proven themselves well, even the classification by compression is often used in accordance with the German RAL standard. Other manufacturers keep up with the Germans, including:
- Bauerfeind, manufacturer of knitwear Venotrain
- Ofa Bamberg
- Medi Bayreuth
I bought from the right store then they will have a long service life. You can buy these products in online stores, specialized salons or pharmacies, the advantages, and disadvantages of each option can be studied according to the table.
|Specialized Salon||Online store||Pharmacy|
|Big choice; professional advice; exact selection by size; measurements are carried out by specialists; immediately you can evaluate the material and appearance.||Big choice; acceptable prices; suitable for repeated purchases of already tested knitwear, known sizes and application experience.||Low cost;sold everywhere.|
|A bit overpriced.||Risk of buying a fake; often lack professional advice; high risk to buy the wrong size.||Lack of professional advice;often poor product quality;size problems;You need to choose the size yourself.|
It is not difficult to choose medical knitwear – well-known brands, different models and choices will satisfy the most demanding customer. However, the effectiveness of the treatment depends on how correctly the product is selected.
Preventive knitwear can be chosen independently, it is advisable not to save (the cheaper, the lower the quality). As for medical linen – it should be selected and prescribed by a doctor.
If you make a choice based on the experience of friends, information from the forums, the advice of the seller in a pharmacy, you can waste money and not see positive results.