Are you one of the 500,000 or more people in the United States who experience leg ulcers every year? Leg ulcers in the lower part of the body often affect people with circulation problems, varicose veins, blood clots, or leg swelling. These leg ulcer wounds are not just unsightly – they’re also prone to infection, burning, itching, and swelling.
If you’re one of those suffering from leg ulcers, using compression stockings could help your leg ulcers heal, say reviewers published in the January 2009 issue of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
People with leg ulcers, which may be caused by post thrombotic syndrome, who used stockings found their ulcers healed more quickly than those who didn’t use the support hose. Certain types of stockings also tended to be more effective at improving leg ulcers, especially those that contained elastic fibers as opposed to other materials.
Less pain may also be associated with using stockings for leg ulcers, the reviewers noted.
Keep in mind, though, that using stockings can be confusing and difficult for some people. The researchers noted that many people who used them in the studies dropped out or experienced side effects, such as skin problems and an increased risk of blood clots.
Your best bet when using support stockings? First, talk to your doctor about using stockings and whether they’re right for you, based on your leg ulcer concerns. Next, if your doctor suggests TED stockings, make sure the stockings you buy fit properly. Using the wrong size stockings or using them incorrectly could add to your health problems. Finally, be sure to care for your stockings the right way so they continue to apply the proper amount of compression to your lower body.
Source: O’Meara S, et al. Compression for venous leg ulcers. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, January 2009.