What is Edema?
Edema is swelling in response to excess fluid stuck inside of the body’s tissues. While it can affect any region of the body, it is most noticeable in the legs, ankles, feet, arms, and hands. The condition can be caused by pregnancy, medication, or a pre-existing disease – most often kidney disease, congestive heart failure, or cirrhosis present in the liver.
Taking medicine to mitigate excess fluid and decreasing the volume of sodium in the food you eat can be an excellent way to relieve edema. Of course, if edema is a symptom of an existing disease, then that disease will need to be treated separately.
Some of the characteristics of edema are:
- Shiny or stretched skin
- Puffiness or swelling of the body tissue directly below the skin, particularly in the legs and arms
- Increased abdominal size
- Skin that maintains an indent after you press it down for a few seconds
When you should see a doctor
If you are experiencing stretched, swelling or shiny skin, or skin that retains a dimple after being pressed, we suggest that you visit your doctor. They will provide you with all of the advice and medical treatment that you need.
If you have been sitting down for a long time, such as during a lecture or a flight, and you start to feel leg pain as well as persistent swelling, be sure to contact your doctor.
How Long Should You Wear Compression Stockings for Swollen Feet?
Compression stockings are designed to improve blood flow that is often impaired by edema, which causes poor circulation. Edema is the clinical term for water retention, which is the abnormal buildup of fluids beneath the skin, which is often noticed around the ankles, feet, and lower legs.
If you are suffering from edema and have been wearing compression stockings for a while, you’re likely wondering when you’ll be able to take those stockings off. We’re going to discover the answer in this article. Read on for more information about how long should you wear compression stockings for swollen feet and more interesting information about compression stockings and edema.
Wearing Compression Stockings – the Duration
Your doctor will provide you with an estimate as to how long you should be wearing your compression stockings for the treatment of edema. You’ll meet with them every few months for an evaluation to determine whether or not you still need to be wearing those stockings. In some cases, you will have to wear compression stockings for a period of several months, or even for the rest of your life.
If you have gotten your edema under control, through the use of prescription pills and diuretics, the duration that you will be required to wear compression stockings will be reduced significantly. However, if your veins have sustained damage, or are simply weak and unable to prevent the escape of fluids, then it can be dangerous for you to stop wearing your compression stockings.
It’s better to wear these stockings for a period of years than to endanger the health of your legs and feet by removing them prematurely.
How They Work
Doctors will often recommend compression stockings to edema patients because they prevent the buildup of fluids. They are special stockings that create pressure on the legs to mitigate edema, and the kind of compression stockings that you wear will depend on the kind of edema that you have.
For instance, lymphedema requires the firmest kind of compression stockings to be treated effectively.
How to Wear Compression Stockings
If you can, you should put your compression stockings on as soon as you wake up and after you’ve gotten out of bed. Swelling caused by edema is at its lowest in the morning, so you’ll have a much easier time putting your stockings on.
After you’ve got them on, you should sit on a chair that has a back. Hold the top of the stocking and push your other arm through it and grab the toe, pulling the toe up. Place your toes in the toe of the stocking, then simply roll the stocking over your foot. Try not to pull the top of your compression stockings, or they might tear.
If you have a particularly persistent or severe case of edema, your doctor might prescribe that you wear multiple pairs of compression stockings at once. If you find that you’re struggling to get your stockings on in the morning, elevate your legs for 30 minutes, then try again.
This can also help reduce swelling, ensure that your compression stockings fit tightly, and prevent fluid accumulation.
Can Edema be Cured?
The short answer: yes! You absolutely can cure your edema, which is great news.
Mild edema will generally dissipate by itself, especially if you are diligent about taking your prescribed medication and elevating the affected limb to a position higher than the heart. More severe cases of edema can be treated with medications that help the body get rid of the excess water through your urine – these drugs are known as diuretics, and they essentially make you have to go to the bathroom frequently.
Furosemide is a diuretic that is used frequently, but your doctor will determine whether these kinds of medications are a good option for you based on your personal medical history. The long-term control of edema generally pays special attention to treating any underlying cause for the swelling.
If your edema is the result of medication use, then your doctor might check for an alternative medication that does not cause edema, or they may simply adjust your prescription dosage to a level that does not cause edema. Either way, it is very possible, and very common, for edema to go away with persistent and diligent treatment, as well as the use of compression stockings.
Compression stockings are an excellent treatment for swelling in the feet, and if your doctor has prescribed that you wear these stockings, do so! They will significantly help your edema and you’ll be able to stop wearing them before you know it. We hope that this has answered all the questions you have about compression stockings!