As many women know, hand washing of bras is recommended to keep them in good condition. This is not necessarily a huge burden!
Hand washing of pantyhose is also recommended. Thank heavens I don’t have to wear pantyhose.
And then came…compression stockings.
Compression stockings are often recommended for people who are on their feet all the time, who are flying, who have had lymph nodes removed, and to prevent blood clots.
In my case, I eventually realized that part of my left knee pain was actually located below my left knee. Where there was also swelling, and which felt better if I wore tight leggings. My ARNP diagnosed likely blood flow issues and varicose veins, and referred me to a vascular specialist.
The vascular team did an ultrasound of the veins in my leg. Leg veins have one-way valves which supposed to keep the blood going up my leg, back to the heart. It was confirmed that my valves are not all working well. In particular, the one-way valve just below the knee on my left leg – where I had swelling and pain – wasn’t really one-way anymore. Compression was recommended to reduce the swelling and help the vein to move the blood to the heart where it belongs.
I didn’t realize at the time that this would mean the hand wash only laundry would never end.
I was prescribed 20-30mmHg, knee-high stockings. The mmHg is “millimeters of mercury” pressure, and 20-30 is about middle of the range. I did go to a medical supply store to get fitted. I recommend it since you can get some knowledgeable advice on fitting and how to put them on without putting a fingernail through them. If you wear a common size you may be able to wear them home. My size 14-16 friend got fitted with thigh-highs after her cancer surgery and wore them home.
Initially I didn’t fit anything over-the-counter due to the swelling in my calves; after wearing leggings daily for a week, the swelling reduced enough that I could wear a standard size instead of custom made. I wear Juzo Max knee-high stockings, which have more of a flare at the top of the calf than the standard knee highs, and which wasn’t in stock but could be ordered. I also pop for the “silicone band” of little silicone beads to keep them up.
- No below-the-knee pain.
- Much less swelling in calves.
- Legs feel less tired.
- Stockings are expensive (mine are $78.39 per pair).
- Stockings require hand washing.
- Stockings need replacing every N months. Currently N is 2 or 3 months. I know folks who go 6 months, others who buy them monthly.
- None of my leggings fit right anymore.
All that said, the compression stockings have been a really positive thing for me. The below-the-knee pain is gone. Walking is more comfortable. I still elevate my feet whenever possible, but my legs and ankles aren’t swelling every evening. These are all terrific.