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Do Your Compression Stockings Hurt?

Discussion in 'Problems Standing: Orthostatic Intolerance; POTS' started by Sparrow, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. Sparrow

    Sparrow Senior Member

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    Finally got myself some compression stockings in an attempt to help with POTS issues. Just wanted to touch base with you guys on how much of what I'm noticing is normal, and how much is my body being crazy as it sometimes is. :) My doctor is supportive about my using them, but is not a POTS or ME specialist, and not a great source of information on what's "normal" when it comes to this stuff.

    I don't have a pair of the high compression ones yet. These are 15 - 20 mmHg, since my doctor wanted to make sure I could tolerate those before moving to the higher pressure ones. I've been noticing some definite differences, but unfortunately mostly not the happy ones I was expecting.

    I've noticed that my legs can get pretty sore when I have the stockings on. They ache in various places. I've been lucky enough to get to a point where my legs no longer hurt me normally, so it's very definitely the stockings causing it. They only ache while they're on.

    And they go sort of numb a lot, like when blood flow is restricted. This seems to be the whole point of the stockings, and I know that these are pretty low pressure, so I'm assuming that's maybe normal to a degree? They do seem to lower my heart rate a little when my legs feel numb. Don't seem to do much when they aren't (which I suppose makes sense).

    I haven't heard people mentioning much along these lines, so wanted to check. I don't want to stop wearing them if this stuff is perfectly normal, but I also don't want to continue until I get feedback. I've pushed through enough weird symptoms in the past to know better by now. ;)

    Do your legs go numb wearing the stockings? Do they ache? Has a specialist mentioned anything to you about what they should feel like? Thanks for your input! It's appreciated.
  2. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    Are your stockings graded compression? I have worn ones at about 25 mmHG and they didn't bother me. But the higher compression ones were very uncomfortable and I don't wear them.

    I now use graded compression knee socks (cotton) and they are usually enough and very comfortable.

    Good luck with this!

    Sushi
  3. Sparrow

    Sparrow Senior Member

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    They're graded compression. Was the discomfort you mention painful, or just..."squishy" :) ?

    I was prepared that they might be uncomfortable, hot, restrictive, squeezy, etc. Was not expecting the pain.
  4. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    The high level compression ones were painful after I had worn them for a while. I'm surprised that 15 - 20 is painful--wonder if it could be the brand?

    Sushi
  5. Sparrow

    Sparrow Senior Member

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    I was surprised too - was really not expecting that. They're supposed to be an okay brand, as far as I know. I forget off the top of my head which one, but it was one of the major ones that get mentioned a lot.

    It's been disappointing, since if these are rough, I'm not sure how I'll be able to tolerate the higher compression ones. And these definitely aren't enough to make a significant dent in my POTS. I'm hoping maybe with time it will get a bit better.
  6. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    Have you tried an abominal binder? (i.e. a girdle so tight that it has hooks and eyes or a zipper)

    Sometimes the problem is more splanchic pooling--blood pooling in the abdomen. You might want to shriek and run :eek: at the very thought of a girdle, but there are comfortable ones and they can make a difference.

    Sushi
  7. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    I just had a thought.. were your stockings measured up right for you????? If you are going numb.. one of the measurements may of been done wrong and they may be too tight in a place/s (as there are many different measurements to be considered when getting the right size ones). From your numbness..it sounds likely it could be the case of wrong size. My CFS specialist did a referal and had me fitted for my stockings.

    I wouldnt think that pressure would be enough to deal with POTS, so probably not at all a good trial on what benefits they could do for POTS. Some dysautonomia/POTS places recommend a pressure of 30 and over while others recommend just under that..

    My current ones (which go to top of my thighs) are graded compression ones of (I think it was) 21 to 32 pressure, these do help me some but just not enough so I need Florinef too (and actually more treatment then both of these). I want to try higher compression ones the next time I buy them as I think those would help me even more.

    Ive only ever got numbness "once" from mine.. and that was in my foot area only, as the stocking had moved up some how, a little in my foot area and was digging in more and left for hours, where it had shifted rather then the edge being more around where its fleshier on my foot where it usually sits.

    I personally find my medical support stockings (I like have top quality ones) very comfortable and they actually feel supportive. That wouldnt be so thou if I still had the FM and the extreme skin sensitivity I used to have, in which even the touch of my sheets on my bed hurt me. Note.. I did have signs of poor circulation in my feet prior to getting these.. eg my big nails.. used to go a bluish colour at times, pins and needles feel in my feet easily if I sat wrong etc etc .. but the compression stockings hasnt made those issues worst at all (that was something I'd been worried about).

    I dont get any aching at all from the stockings thou it did take me a couple of weeks to get used to them (thou it wasnt bad, just different and legs felt different).

    These stockings, the graded compression ones.. are rather more a case of helping the blood move.. and move it back up the body so it dont pool in the legs.

    Sparrow..are you also on Florinef?

    From what you said.. if I was you.. I dont think I'd be buying higher pressure ones if this current pressure is making your legs feel numb. or maybe if you boosted blood volume some with meds first.. maybe the stockings would be better???? Ive no idea.

    Maybe someone has some old ones which they dont want anymore(even if they had a few holes in them they could give to you an idea what a higher pressure would feel like) in your size, so could send you to try?

    Some brands have their measurement protocol online for getting the right size in thier brands. I myself either lost weight in the couple of weeks after I got mine..or I think the girl should of given me the next size down as when I checked with the brands info online and meausured up myself.. it wasnt the best for the size she gave me. The girl who measured me up was only a trainee as their normal person who usually did the measuring was busy and hence they were going to make me come back another day but when they heard I'd come a long distance, they then changed their mind and this trainee measured me.

    If you got measured up by another..see if you can find that size info for your brand and check your stockings to make sure they are right size. (if you post the brand here.. maybe another knows where that info is and can give you the link).
  8. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    I was measured for my graded compression tights (they go up to my waist) and I have none of the symptoms you mention - numbness or pain. They offer considerable compression on my legs - they're a devil to pull on, to the extent that I barely have the strength in my fingers to do it, I've repeatedly hurt my back by putting them on and they're under so much tension that they pull themselves off if I walk in them. They also have zero effect on my OI!

    I don't like the sound of what's happening with yours... they sound as though they're cutting off your circulation rather than improving it.
    taniaaust1 likes this.
  9. Sparrow

    Sparrow Senior Member

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    Thank you all for the input. I appreciate it. You've all mentioned much of what I was suspecting.

    They do seem to be hurting less today, though still a bit achey. I'm trying to be extra diligent about making sure the material is very evenly distributed so there's no extra compression building up anywhere. I checked the measurements, and they seem to be the right size for me. My body is plenty strange, though. It could certainly just be some oddity of mine or the way the illness has impacted me that's responsible.

    My doctor had mentioned that she's had a lot of patients who found their stockings too uncomfortable so didn't wear them. That's why she wanted me in the lower compression ones first - less of a trial on their effects on my POTS and more of a trial on whether I was able to tolerate them. If I decide to go forward, she's going to have someone come measure me up for a custom made pair at high compression.

    They definitely do seem to be helping the blood work its way up into my upper body. But if I don't walk around, it seems more inclined to stay there. That's where my legs start to get progressively more numb until I stand up for a minute and return some. :) Again, I'm thinking this may be more an unfortunate feature of my current physiology than the fault of the stockings. It may just not be a great mix. Or maybe this is more of an issue if blood volume is super low?

    I'm not on Florinef yet. Just high intake of water and salt. I'm starting with a new specialist soon who will hopefully carry more weight with my disability insurance company, so we haven't wanted to mess with too much before he gets the chance to see me and document some of what's wrong. Hopefully that will be resolved sooner rather than later and I can get to some more intensive interventions.
    taniaaust1 likes this.

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