Products with proven medical grade compression have been extensively researched, and from the medical literature we have complied the following list which highlights some of the key conditions which can benefit from the regular use of medical grade compression.
Deep Vein Thrombosis is an often fatal condition that only presents symptoms 50% of the time. It is when a clot forms, usually in the leg veins. It can present with symptoms of itching, redness and the feeling of hardened vein, or can have no symptoms at all. A piece of the clot can break off and move around the bloodstream, if it hits the lungs, it causes a Pulmonary Embolism. It can also reach the heart and brain. DVTs are most common during periods of prolonged immobility e.g. post op or post injury, during travel etc.
Swelling in the lower limbs, creates the appearance of calves and ankles with the same circumference. This is usually caused by venous pooling – when blood has difficultly moving back out of the leg and pools in the veins, causing swelling. The extra pressure on the veins from the pooling leads to varicose veins and can put you at greater risk of developing a DVT.
is the inflammation of the walls of the vein. It can occur in conjunction with thrombosis in the superficial leg veins (rather than the deep veins as per DVT). The risk of a piece of the clot breaking off and travelling to the lungs is much lower than with a DVT. It is usually caused by a direct trauma to the vein. Symptoms include redness, itching and the vein feeling cord-like. It is usually treated with NSAIDs and compression but requires medical advice to differentiate between phlebitis and Deep Vein Thrombosis.
Varicose Veins are unsightly bulging or knotted veins close to the skins surface which can be painful or itchy and can worsen over time. They are the result of leaking valves in your veins caused over time by venous pooling and venous insufficiency.
These are the precursors to Varicose Veins. They are a warning sign that your venous bloodflow is struggling. If you act at this stage, you can prevent them from worsening and becoming unsightly and problematic varicose veins.
Pitting (when pushing on the swelling leaves an indentation) and non-pitting oedema are both observable swelling of body tissues due to fluid accumulation. They are often gravity dependent – the degree of swelling will vary based on the charge on the body. It can be generalised or localised and can be caused by a number of conditions. Mild oedema in the legs during summer months is considered normal. When lying down, keeping arms and legs higher than your heart (propped with pillows) can aid drainage. If unsure, always consult your healthcare professional. Oedema can result in rapid weight gain (days or weeks) due to extreme accumulations of fluid.
especially when standing – When immobile due to standing/sitting for long periods, the venous blood in your legs has more difficulty making its way back up to your heart against gravity. The pooling or reduced flow of de oxygenated blood out of your legs can lead to feeling achy, tired and sore. When you sit still, everything slow – bloodflow, brain functions, calorie burning etc. The body was not made for it. Even short bursts of movement can help to kickstart and refresh your body.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness plagues most athletes. It is pain and soreness felt hours/days after strenuous exercise. It is thought to be caused by eccentric exercise which causes microtrauma to the muscles. The soreness is perceived as a dull, aching pain in the affected muscle, often combined with tenderness and stiffness. The pain is typically felt only when the muscle is stretched, contracted or put under pressure, not when it is at rest. Continued use of the sore muscle also has no adverse effect on recovery from soreness and does not exacerbate muscle damage.
During pregnancy, hormonal changes combined with the weight of the growing bump over the major leg veins (inferior vena cava in the abdomen of the pelvis and the femoral vein in the leg), leave women at risk for developing varicose veins. This extra pressure makes them also a higher risk for DVT. You often hear of pregnant women complaining of cankles, sore feet, tired legs, swelling and soreness – most of which usually relate to the difficult strain under which their leg veins are finding themselves. During pregnancy, women must make an extra effort to stay active and hydrated. They may choose to sleep with a pillow under their feet to aid drainage and can turn to compression for support, to alleviate some of the lower limb issues described.
A torn calf muscle is similar to an Achilles tendon tear or rupture, but occurs higher up in the back of the leg. A sign of a torn calf muscle is similar to that of an Achilles tendon rupture. You may think you've just been hit in the leg and potentially hear a "pop." There is sudden pain at the back of the calf. Then you’ll experience pain, swelling or bruising in the calf muscle, and you’ll have difficulty walking properly or standing on your toes.
is acute pain in the shin and lower leg often referred to as Tibial Stress Syndrome (TSS) and can be caused by prolonged running, typically on hard surfaces. Shin splints are common in runners, dancers and military recruits. Medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome, shin splints often occur in athletes who have recently intensified or changed their training routines. The muscles, tendons and bone tissue become overworked by the increased activity. Most cases of shin splints can be treated with rest, ice and other self-care measures. Wearing proper footwear and modifying your exercise routine can help prevent shin splints from recurring.
An ankle sprain occurs when there has been significant injury to the ligaments that surround and connect the bones of the leg to the foot. The injury typically occurs when you accidentally twist or turn your ankle inappropriately. All ligaments have a specific range of motion and boundaries that allow them to keep joints stabilized. When ligaments surrounding the ankle are pressed past these boundaries, it creates a sprain. Sprains are typically found on ligaments surrounding the outer area of the ankle. You should always seek medical attention for an ankle sprain. Only your doctor can determine the severity of the injury and determine a proper course of treatment. It can take several weeks or months for an ankle sprain to completely heal.
is a condition in which the flow of blood through the veins from the legs back to the heart is impaired. Venous insufficiency can be caused by a number of disorders of the veins, particularly deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) or varicose veins. It can vary from minor to severe.
to reduce fatigue – swollen, aching or tired legs are a sign of venous insufficiency. These signs become more common with age. Mineral deficiencies, dehydration, inactivity, weight, hormone changes and diabetes can all be contributing causes. Essentially, this feeling is due to the slowing of bloodflow in your legs.
common issues during exercise are fatigue, cramping, shin splints, DOMs and general soreness. Compression can help reduce muscle oscillation and microtears during exercise, reducing the level of DOMs experienced afterwards. It also aids proprioception (the brain’s awareness of the where your limbs are) thanks to the hugging pressure on the legs, reducing the risk of twists, trips etc. Compression improves bloodflow, delaying fatigue and cramping allowing you perform a little longer before you hit a wall. Upon return from injury, compression can be used to offer light support to ankles, calves etc. to help reduce swelling and reinjury.
risk of DVT is elevated and majority of travellers will experience some degree of leg swelling. Travel covers long-haul flying, trains, car journeys etc. Post-operative – risk of DVT is elevated due to surgical trauma and resulting immobility. Compression and anti-coagulants are often prescribed for 6 weeks post-surgery to combat the risk of DVT/blood clots.
compression can be used to speed healing and reduce residual swelling when cast/boot has been removed.