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J Am Osteopath Assoc. 1995 Mar;95(3):173-81.

Nonprescription, padded, lightweight support socks in treatment of mild to moderate lower extremity venous insufficiency.


Currently, strength greater than 20 mm Hg of compression is considered necessary for support hose used to treat symptomatic venous insufficiency in lower extremities. This strength is frequently uncomfortable, which reduces compliance and therefore clinical effectiveness. Whether more comfortable, nonprescription, light-compression support hose is effective in the treatment of mild to moderate venous insufficiency was investigated in 36 men with subjective complaints and objective signs (per Doppler ultrasound) of lower extremity venous insufficiency. All participants wore padded, light-compression (6 mm Hg), crew-height socks for 1 month. Then, participants were assigned to one of two groups on the basis of initial Doppler results. The half with the worst results wore stronger-compression (12 mm Hg) over-the-calf support socks, on the assumption that patients with worse venous insufficiency would require more support; those with the better Doppler results continued to wear the light-compression socks. Participants were retested at monthly intervals for 3 months. In each group, data indicated that the venous insufficiency for all patients improved objectively and subjectively. Many of the objective venous values improved with either statistical or highly statistical significance--specifically deep venous valve function, superficial venous valve functions, and venous capacity--without statistically altering arterial function. Improvement occurred in the first month of the trial and continued throughout the study. The use of light-compression support socks is effective and should be considered as a first line of therapy in treatment of mild to moderate venous insufficiency.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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