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“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ― Nelson Mandela

Compression Therapy: Compression Garments

Compression therapy is a treatment option for reducing oedema, swelling and other associated conditions affecting the upper and lower limb (both arms and legs). These garments apply graduated compression (e.g. tighter at the ankle and less tight at the calf) to the limb to reduce swelling and regulate blood flow. At Chin and Partners, our orthotists will assess, measure, and fit you with the required grade, type, and size of compression garment.

Treatment Objectives:

  • Improve and restore the velocity and viscosity of blood flow.
  • Reduce and prevent oedema.
  • Treat and prevent venous diseases.
  • Lower the risk of pulmonary embolisms.
  • Improve limb function

Indications may include:

  • Build-up of fluid in tissues or swelling typically affecting the lower limb.
  • Varicose veins
  • Pregnancy
  • Soft tissue injury and Fractures
  • Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Side effects of Hormonal supplements and other medication
  • Lymphoedema and Lipoedema
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery

Contraindications may include:

(always check with your healthcare provider)

  • Infection
  • Open wounds
  • Skin breakage, rashes, dryness, and blisters caused by sensitivity to skin
  • Neuropathy
  • Arterial insufficiency
  • Congestive heart failure

It is advised that individuals who are diabetic and/or are diagnosed with vascular disease have a prescription from a doctor regardless of type and class of compression therapy.

There are two types of compression therapy:

  • Graduated compression garments
  • TED/Anti-embolism compression garments

Thromboembolism-deterrent (TED) or Anti-embolism Stockings is for clinical use such as in ICU or during and after surgery.  TED stockings are commonly used as ‘flight socks’ and for patients who are bed ridden.

The classes of graduated compression therapy:

  • Class 1: 12/15 – 18/20mmHg
  • Class 2: 18/20 – 25mmHg (Doctors Prescription Required)
  • Class 3: 20 – 30mmHg (Doctors Prescription Required)
  • Class 4: 30 – 40mmHg (Doctors Prescription Required)
  • Class 5: 40mmHg+ (Doctors Prescription Required)

The classes of TED/Anti-embolism compression therapy:

  • Class A: 8-15/18mmHg
  • Class B: 10/15-20mmHg

Assortment of Compression Garments

The styles and levels of compression classes of our garments vary between the different brands we supply. It is therefore best to discuss material, colour, levels, and style options with the Orthotist.

Sizing

The one size does fit all, does not apply to compression garments, you will therefore require an individualised assessment. The required measurements are taken by the Orthotist and compared to a sizing chart; this will display the exact size of garment you will receive. When the sizes do not correlate to the sizing chart, a custom measured garment may be required. These items are usually custom made in Europe and as such they have longer lead time.

Brands

We provide patients with compression therapy from different brands. Materials and colours will vary with the most popular colour and material among the brands being beige and polyamide microfibre elastane.

At Chin and Partners, we are familiar with all brands and stock the following at our practice:

  • Vascutec from Ottobock
  • RX Fit from Medis
  • Venapure from DJO for our Anti-embolism compression therapy only.

We can provide compression garments from brands by preference of the prescribing clinician or patient.

Care and advice for compression garments:

  • Hand wash or leave to soak in cold or lukewarm water.
  • Use a mild pH balanced detergent and no fabric softeners.
  • Do not hang up the garment in direct sunlight, hang or place it on a towel in the shade to dry.
  • It is important to note that we advise to not laying down to rest/sleep with class 2 and higher-class stocking on.

Frequently asked questions:

Will I be able to get the stocking on and off?

The compressions stockings are tight, and it will take a few minutes extra to put them on in the morning and it will take more effort. However, the results are worth it.

The orthotist will demonstrate different ways they find helps to pull the stocking on and off based on patient feedback and personal use. Most compression stockings are supplied with a satin sock/sleeve/slipper that, if used correctly can make it easier to apply the stocking on to the limb. There are also donning tools sold separately that can make the process to apply and remove them much easier, these tools include a stocking butler, donning gloves, foot pad, foot sleeves and extensors. Please ask your Orthotist about these items and what they would recommend.

Does it have to be this tight?

The tightness of the garment is the purpose of the compression therapy – to apply graduated compression to achieve the effect you need and want. The limb eventually does adjust to the action of the garment. The garment may be too tight if you experience any numbness, loss of sensation, pins and needles and any unbearable sensations experienced ONLY WITH the use of the garment that  were not present before the garment was applied and after it was removed. If you experience any of these sensations, remove the garment immediately and please contact us.

Wont I get hot with the stockings on?

 Most people adjust to the gradual increase in temperature but If you are finding it unbearable to wear, you will need to discuss other comfortable and breathable fabric options with your Orthotist, please contact us to make an appointment.

Will the stocking make me look silly?

The stockings come in various colours and design, depending on the Compression Class and fabric. There are methods to camouflage your compression garments such as wearing the garments underneath your clothing, wearing clothing that is full length or covers most of the limb. If you require more information, please contact us.

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