A variety of people–from athletes to office workers to geriatrics–could benefit from compression therapy. Venous issues can lead to blood and fluid collecting in the lower limbs as opposed to entering blood vessels to be circulated back into the venous system. This therapy can be used to alleviate lymphatic draining problems and encourage blood flow. As venous issues advance, compression therapy becomes an important part of the care plan for patients with venous stasis ulcers.
What Compression Therapy Entails
The most common application of this therapy involves stockings or socks that have graduated compression, going from most constricted at the ankles and lessening farther up the legs. These items support the venous and lymphatic systems in the lower regions to relieve pain and congestion associated with poor circulation. The compression therapy moves fluid into the blood vessels and prevents the veins from expanding and swelling.
Compression Therapy As Wound Care
Compression therapy can be useful for patients recovering from lower-region surgeries or wound complications. Doctors may suggest it for things such as venous leg ulcers, varicose veins, chronic venous disease, and lymphedema. It can also be used to prevent the risk of blood clots, which makes compression therapy especially useful post-surgery or post-injury. Without the backup of fluids pooling in the legs, oxygen can reach the wound area faster to speed the healing process. This reduces edema and can reduce the likelihood of wound recurrence.
Groups At Risk For Venous Issues
Certain demographics are at higher risk for developing venous and lymphatic draining issues.
- Women are at higher risk than men due to hormonal variations
- Older people have more worn vein valves that make drainage a slower process
- People who sit often have less opportunity to facilitate blood flow in the legs
- Those with a genetic history of deep vein thrombosis or other venous problems may be at higher risk for developing those issues themselves
The Benefits For All Groups
Sitting for long periods of time, whether that be behind a desk or on a plane, can lead to fluid conglomerating in the legs and venous swelling. People who live sedentary lifestyles or might be sedentary for a long length of time at once, such as during travel, may also benefit from compression therapy. It can help with conditions such as post-thrombotic swelling, varicose veins, and leg swelling–all of which can occur in any demographic group. However, compression therapy can take various forms, and can even be useful people with active lifestyles, such as athletes.
Recognizing Venous Complications
Some people are more susceptible to developing venous problems that could eventually lead to more severe complications such as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). This occurs when the vein valves become damaged, causing the blood to flow backward. According to Cleveland Clinic, symptoms of CVI include:
- Swelling in the lower legs and ankles, especially after extended periods of standing
- Aching or tiredness in the legs
- New varicose veins
- Leathery-looking skin on the legs
- Flaking or itching skin on the legs or feet
- Stasis ulcers (or venous stasis ulcers)
Doctors may evaluate patients with their symptoms and recommend certain exercise regimens in conjunction with the regular wearing of compression stockings. Patients that develop a venous
stasis ulcer frequently requires advanced wound care that may include debridement of wound and compression therapy.
Compression therapy can be used for a spectrum of issues in different groups of people, making it a versatile and an important component of venous stasis wound healing.
To learn more about the benefits of compression therapy and the treatment of venous ulcers, contact our office today at 954-571-9392.