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Compression Stockings Part II

This is a continuation of Dr Stone's Compression Stocking Blog posted on December 16, 2019. If you haven't read Part I - you can check it out here.

How do compression stockings work?

Compression stockings are designed with a gradual compression. The highest compression is at the ankle, with a gradual reduction in compression as the garment progresses up the leg. This gradual compression will encourage the fluid to travel from the foot/ankle, up the leg to return to circulating through the cardiovascular system.

There are different pressure gradient options to consider when purchasing compression garments. 15-20mmHg garments are classified as non-medical grade. These can be purchased in stores and are often used for sport purposes or trial compression garments. Any compression greater than 20mmHg is considered medical grade. These are most commonly prescribed and fitted by an appropriate health care provider. For well over 95% of patients, 20-30mmHg is sufficient compression to treat their conditions. This level of compression is also quite comfortable, and has very good patient compliance. However, some patients may require greater compression (above 30mmHg) depending on their medical condition.

What are common hiccups patients have with compression stockings?

  • Donning - Compression stockings should ideally by put on using special gloves, which have grippy palms. We can provide these at our office. These specialized gloves allow patients to pull the socks up, and even up the compression gradient, without risking snagging or puncturing with jewelry or fingernails.
  • Care - Compression stockings are still socks and should be washed after every use. Some people believe that because they are a medical device, they can be used multiple times without washing. However, this will reduce the effectiveness of the garment, as washing will help return the material back to its original compression form. Additionally, compression garments should never be put in the dryer as the heat can damage the fabric. Ideally, they should be hand washed, and hung to dry. However several patients are successful putting them in the washing machine by setting it to a very gentle cycle and/or washing them in a garment bag.
  • When to wear them - For most conditions, compression stockings provide the most benefit when worn daily. Compression stockings should only be worn during the day, and never while sleeping. The compression is meant to assist the body against gravity in returning fluids to the core.

How much do compression stockings cost? Are they covered by insurance?

At MiltonBackDoc, the typical price for compression stockings varies with length, and are as follows:

  • Knee-high: $150.00/pr
  • Thigh-high: $170.00/pr
  • Full-length and Maternity: $190.00/pr

These prices may vary depending on the garment and supplier.

As far as insurance, most insurers do cover at least a portion of the cost of compression garments, however every plan is different. To understand your coverage and its limits, it is best to contact your insurance company before scheduling an appointment. Additionally, in order to be reimbursed, most insurance companies require a prescription from a medical doctor. It is important that your prescription includes the medical diagnosis for the condition that will be treated by the compression stockings. On very rare occasions a chiropractor is able to prescribe compression garments.

Conclusion

The information included above, and in Part I of this blog, is really only a brief overview of compression garments. If you have any additional questions or concerns we encourage you to contact our office or your medical provider to ensure you get the best information specific to your medical condition.

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