by Dr. Martin L. Schulman M.D.
Schulman Vein And Laser Centers of NYC and Long Island

Varicose veins in the legs can be both unattractive and also cause painful symptoms. These abnormally enlarged, twisted vessels can lead to night cramps, leg aches, swelling (also known as edema), and tiredness. For certain people, compression stockings can be a useful way to temporarily relieve the symptoms caused by leg varicose veins. They will not however prevent the veins from getting larger and worsening. Support hose are not a definitive cure for varicose veins, but they will relief symptoms when worn.

What Are Varicose Veins ?
The large bulbous veins seen in the legs that are not working correctly to bring blood back to the heart from the legs are varicose veins. The underlying cause is called venous insuffiency in which blood pools in the legs due to gravity. For blood to travel upwards towards the heart, against gravity and against the body weight is difficult. Leg veins have venous valves to help blood travel ‘north’ to the heart. If the valves stop working it is a medical condition called venous insuffiency, in which the blood in the leg veins is held back from returning towards the heart.

Leg Varicose Veins And Compression Stockings
When a person has painful legs from leg veins they can often get some relief from wearing support stockings. The hose, also known as compression hose, work by squeezing the leg veins to help propel the blood out of the legs and up towards the heart. Dr. Lee G. Schulman MD of the Schulman Vein And Laser Centers in NYC and Long Island likes to tell patients that support hose “should be fitted like an ice cream cone: tighter at the bottom and looser up the leg.” By fitting like this the blood is propelled upward.

Can Support Hose Make Varicose Veins Go Away ?
There has never been a study showing that wearing compression stockings will either make veins ‘go away’ or even slow the progression of their growth. Support hose are primarily beneficial for the relief of symptoms they will provide while they are being worn. In order to be of benefit they must fit snuggly and actually compress the veins so less blood is lying stagnant in the legs.

It would be almost impossible to prove that support hose can prevent veins from forming. It’s not feasible but if a person were to volunteer to wear hose on one leg and not the other at all times for a period of years and then be observed for changes it could be undertaken. Most logical people would not want to be part of such a study of leg varicose vein formation and even if they chose to be part of this foolish study, it would still be crazy. Schulman points out “even patients who have worn hose for years are seen in our offices with one leg being great and the other having varicosities.” As almost everybody uses both legs equally it is obviously not the stockings that either caused or prevented veins from forming.

True Vein Treatment Options
While fitted hose may provide relief of leg symptoms it often requires definitive treatment of the veins to eliminate varicose veins. The most common methods used are Injection Compression Sclerotherpy, Micro- Surgery also called Ambulatory Phlebectomy, and Laser Therapy. In seeking treatment from a Vein Center or Vein Specialist it’s always important to see a doctor who is both trained and experienced in all three methods of therapy.

If you are currently suffering from painful, swollen varicose veins, support stockings will help only so much. To be evaluated by a Vein Specialist we suggest calling the Schulman Vein And Laswr Centers today for a FREE evaluation. In NYC call (212) 987.0500, and in Long Island call either (516) 482.4477 or (631) 543.4599