Whether or not you decide to have varicose vein treatment like sclerotherapy or EVLT, your doctor may advise you to wear compression stockings as part of your overall ongoing varicose vein treatment. However, you should be made well aware that compression stockings will only be truly effective if you get a really good fit. Below, we provide detailed information on how to get the best fit with your compression stockings, whether you take the measurements yourself or have a professional fitting.

Why Even Wear Compression Stockings?

If you have varicose veins, blood will usually pool in your legs during the day. This extra blood may make your legs feel heavy, thus zapping your energy and affecting your quality of life. You may also feel achy when this happens and less motivated to exercise or perform your normal routine. Most importantly, this swelling can cause your already damaged veins and vein valves to work even harder which damages them even more! So, it can become a vicious cycle whose magnitude becomes greater each time around!

Wearing compression stockings before or after varicose vein treatment will ease these physical symptoms. Compression stockings will also make it easier for your damaged veins to return blood to your heart. In addition, they will improve your blood flow and prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or other blood clots from forming. For all of these reasons and more, compression stockings are considered one of the best supplementary varicose vein treatments you can have in your arsenal.

When To Take Your Measurements

Most varicose vein treatment clinics, like Metro Vein Centers, will recommend you take your measurements for compression stockings first thing in the morning. This is excellent advice because you need to take your leg measurements before they start to pool with blood as you do your daily activities. You want the fit to be nice and snug at the beginning of the day so they can do their job of compressing the veins near the surface of your skin as your legs start to swell. This will force blood into your deeper veins. A proper fit will also help more with moving the blood up the leg, against gravity, and toward the heart.

Timing wise, there’s a few more issues you need to consider if you want to get the most accurate measurements and a good fitting. If you are a woman still having your menstrual cycle, your legs may swell more during certain times of the month, usually just prior to your period starting. Both men and woman may find that what they eat can affect how much their legs swell. Salt intake and certain spices, like turmeric and cayenne pepper, can affect the circumference in ankle, calf, and thigh. If you are detecting fluctuations in your leg swelling, you may want to take measurements at different times and get different sized compression stocking for different times or the month. Otherwise, you may only be getting enough compression for part of the month or only on some days.

What Measurements To Take

To get a good fitting, you’ll need to take the following measurements for knee high compression stockings:

– The smallest circumference around your ankle just above the ankle bone that sticks out.

– The largest circumference around your calf.

– The length from your heel to the middle of your back knee bend. This is most accurately taken while stand so you may want to get a friend to help you if you are not getting a professional fitting.

For thigh high compression stockings, you’ll need the following measurements:

– The smallest circumference around your ankle just above the ankle bone that sticks out.

– The largest circumference around your calf.

–  The largest circumference around your thigh.

– The length from your heel to your gluteal fold (fold where the buttock cheek starts to form). This is most accurately taken while stand so you may want to get a friend to help you if you are not getting a professional fitting.

If you are going in for varicose vein treatment, your clinic will often sell medical grade compression stockings right in the clinic. “Medical grade” or “prescription strength” compression stockings are made of higher quality fibers that will maintain their elasticity longer. You will no longer achieve the right amount of compression once the elasticity wears out. You can increase the life of your compression stockings by very gently hand washing them with regular soap and water rather than scrubbing them or putting them in the washing machine.

Please note that if you are getting varicose vein treatment at a vein clinic like Metro Vein Centers, the staff will likely take your measurements for you. However, even if this is true, you may still want to measure first thing in the morning yourself and compare your measurements to what they get, especially if you can’t get the first appointment of the day and you’ve already been upright for hours when the varicose vein treatment clinic staff take your measurements. If the measurements differ, be sure to let the staff and your vein doctor know. They may want to remeasure you after you elevate your legs for a while or get you in earlier for measurements.