How to Improve Your Venous Circulation with Compression Therapy

How to Improve Your Venous Circulation with Compression Therapy  

Venous circulation is the part of your blood circulation system that carries oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart.

Poor venous circulation causes a variety of unpleasant symptoms, including varicose veins, swelling in the lower extremities, leg pain, and slow healing. If left untreated, it could lead to ulcers and in some cases limb loss.

Compression therapy improves venous blood circulation. It can treat associated conditions such as chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins. With the proper approach, this therapy can alleviate these symptoms and improve your quality of life.

The Significance of Compression Therapy
Compression therapy involves applying pressure to the limbs using compression stockings or compression bandages.

These devices help improve venous circulation by exerting external pressure on your veins. This pressure assists the one-way valves in the veins, preventing blood from pooling and reducing the risk of blood clots.

The main benefits of compression therapy are:
  • Reduced leg pain and swelling
  • Improvement in symptoms caused by varicose veins, venous insufficiency, and venous ulcers

If you have a venous circulation problem, your doctor is likely to recommend compression therapy as part of the treatment. 

Types of Compression Therapy
The two key types of compression therapy include graduated compression stockings and compression bandages:

Graduated Compression Stockings
These special stockings fit tighter than regular sock. As a result of a tight fit, your legs experience extra pressure, which is the highest around the ankles. The pressure gradient causes the blood to flow toward the heart instead of going back down to the foot.

Compression Bandages 
A compression bandage is a strip of elastic cloth that a doctor applies around your ankles and legs. They work the same way as compression stockings. However, unlike stockings, these bandages must be applied professionally.

Compression bandages are often used in the initial stages of treatment for acute conditions, such as severe edema or venous ulcers.

Conditions that Benefit from Compression Therapy
The following conditions may benefit from compression therapy:

Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)
CVI occurs when the veins in the legs fail to efficiently return blood to the heart, leading to symptoms like swelling, pain, and varicose veins. Compression therapy helps by improving venous blood flow, reducing swelling, and relieving symptoms.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
DVT is a blood clot that forms in a deep vein, usually in the lower extremities. This is a highly risky condition that can lead to a fatality.

Compression therapy helps prevent DVT by promoting blood circulation and reducing the risk of blood pooling.

Tips for Wearing Compression Stockings
  • Choose the right size and compression level for your needs (consult your doctor)
  • Put on compression stockings in the morning when swelling is minimal
  • Ensure a proper fit by smoothing out wrinkles and avoiding bunching
  • Take breaks and elevate your legs periodically
  • Follow the recommended wearing schedule provided by your healthcare professional
  • Wash at least once every two days with mild detergent
Lifestyle Changes for Improved Venous Circulation
While undergoing compression therapy, you can optimize the treatment by making several important lifestyle changes.
  • Engage in regular physical activity
  • Maintain a healthy weight to reduce pressure on the veins
  • Avoid prolonged periods of sitting or standing (take breaks to move and stretch)
  • Elevate your legs whenever possible
  • Consume a diet rich in fiber, antioxidants, and foods like citrus fruits, berries, and leafy greens
Please consult your doctor about a comprehensive approach to changing your lifestyle, especially if it's mostly sedentary.

Frequently Asked Questions :

What causes poor venous circulation?
Poor venous circulation can be caused by obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, aging, and certain medical conditions.

How do I know if I need compression therapy?
You may need compression if you experience symptoms like swelling and pain in the legs or live with conditions such as venous insufficiency.

Are there any side effects of compression therapy?
Possible side effects of compression therapy can include skin irritation, pressure sores, and discomfort. Proper fitting and care can usually help you avoid them.  If you have arterial disease, please consult your physician before using compression therapy, as this may be contraindicated for some patients.

Can compression therapy be used during pregnancy?
Compression therapy during pregnancy should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Are there alternatives to compression therapy?
Alternatives to compression therapy include leg elevation, exercise, weight management, and medications. However, these modalities work best when used together with compression therapy.

At the Vascular Institute of the Rockies, we have an experienced medical team that is well equipped to diagnose and treat venous disorders. To create a personalized treatment plan and start addressing your venous circulation issues immediately, please schedule a consultation today.

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