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Compression Wraps and Stockings

Compression wraps

Compression WrapsCompression wraps are specially made bandages designed to help control swelling in the feet, ankles and lower legs. These wraps help to squeeze the feet and legs to prevent swelling in the tissue. This swelling can be very painful, and also prevents blood from circulating to the skin surface where the wound is located. This slows down the healing of your wound.

Compression wraps are applied in a circular manner, starting at the base of the toes and continuing up the leg to just below the knee. Each circular layer of the wrap is over lapped by approximately 50% to prevent patches of skin from poking through. Also, it is important to avoid wrinkles in your wraps, as these may irritate the skin.

Compression wraps must be applied first thing in the morning before you have been up standing or walking, as this would cause swelling to already start building in your lower legs. These should be worn all day long, but may be removed at bedtime, providing you sleep lying flat with your feet elevated on one or two pillows so that your feet are higher than your heart.

Compression wraps may be laundered in a hosiery bag on the gentle cycle in warm water and a mild detergent, and dried in a hosiery bag on the low setting. Certain brands of wraps may last longer if they are washed by hand then squeezed and laid flat to dry. Never wring or hang your wraps to dry. Avoid having your wraps come in contact with petroleum based ointments and lotions such as Vaseline – these will damage the fibers. Compression wraps usually last approximately 1 –2 months, depending on use and care.

Once you have healed your wound your physician will recommend that you continue some form of compression wraps or stockings so that your swelling will remain under control. This will help reduce the chance of developing a new wound in the future.

Stockings

Compression stockings are specially made support stockings designed to help control swelling in the feet, ankles and lower legs. These stockings help to squeeze the feet and legs to help prevent the build up of swelling in the tissue. This build up of swelling creates pressure in the feet, ankles and lower legs which can be very painful. This swelling also prevents blood from circulating to the skin where the wound is located, and therefore slows down the healing of your wound.

Compression stockings must be gently applied by slowly working them over the heel, and gradually up the leg. In order to prevent holes or runs in your stockings, never pull or tug on them, and remove any jewelry which may snag during application. Rubber kitchen gloves may be worn to improve the grip at your finger tips while working stockings up the leg. Avoid wrinkles in your stockings as these may irritate the skin.

Compression stockings must be applied first thing in the morning before you have been up and about standing or walking, as this will cause swelling to already start building in your lower legs. These should be worn all day long, but may be removed at bedtime, providing you sleep lying flat with your feet elevated on one or two pillows so that your feet are higher than your heart.

Compression stockings should be laundered in warm soapy water. Check package inserts for more detailed instructions as different brands recommend different methods of care. Avoid having your stockings come in contact with petroleum based ointments and lotions such as Vaseline – these will damage the fibers. Compression stockings usually last approximately 6 months, depending on use and care.

Once you have healed your wound your doctor will recommend that you continue to wear compression stockings so that your swelling will remain under control. This will help reduce the chance of developing a new wound in the future. It is also important to know that compression stockings come in various strengths, some which require a prescription before obtaining, and others which may be purchased over the counter at the pharmacy. It is critical to use the strength of stocking recommended by your doctor.