Treating Varicose Veins at Home: What Is Compression Therapy?

Blog Post
By South Valley Vascular
December 16, 2021

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged and twisted under the skin. They are most often visible in the legs but can occur anywhere in the body. Although varicose veins alone are not considered a serious condition, left untreated, they can cause problems. 

There are multiple stages of varicose veins that can progress to a disease called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) if left untreated. Depending on the person, each stage may slightly differ, but the progression is generally the same:

  1. Stage 1: Spider veins, which are small veins that can range from red and purple, develop. These veins can be seen through the skin but are not always caused by varicose veins.
  2. Stage 2: The veins begin to enlarge and look like ropes and swell. Some may consider this stage the real stage 1.
  3. Stage 3: The legs begin to swell as the varicose veins affect circulation. 
  4. Stage 4: The skin begins to change in appearance, especially in color and texture.
  5. Stage 5: The skin will bruise, have ulcers, and will heal with scars.
  6. Stage 6: Ulcers form but do not heal, which can leave the body covered in open wounds.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are caused by increased pressure in the blood. If the pressure gets too high, the veins can be damaged and start to collect blood. Once the blood collects, the veins become enlarged and take on the ropey, enlarged, and discolored appearance of varicose veins.

Risk Factors

Many factors can lead to varicose veins, including:

  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Age
  • Weight gain or being overweight or obese
  • Pregnancy
  • An injury to the leg

How Can Varicose Veins Be Treated?

Treatment for varicose veins can vary depending on the patient’s age, health, and signs or symptoms. Some common treatments include vein stripping surgery, sclerotherapy, which injects a solution into the varicose veins, and compression therapy.

What Is Compression Therapy?

Compression therapy is a great way to get rid of some of the symptoms associated with varicose veins such as soreness, swelling, and fatigue. Compression therapy is the practice of wearing stockings, particularly compression stockings, to improve circulation and help support your veins. Compression stockings or socks for varicose veins can help promote blood flow against gravity. 

There are specialty socks and compression stockings for varicose veins available at many sports stores. You can also use bandages or compression wraps for the same functions. Compression therapy not only decreases swelling and improves circulation but also relieves pain, prevents blood clots, and helps wounds or ulcers heal on the skin. Compression therapy is a common way to help with varicose veins as well as any other issue that causes swelling or circulation issues in the lower body. The most effective way of using compression therapy is to combine it with body movement or leg elevation.  

Although compression therapy helps with varicose vein symptoms, it will in no way cure the varicose veins or alter the physical appearance of the veins. More serious treatment can be provided by a doctor that is knowledgeable about varicose veins.

For more information on varicose vein treatment and compression therapy, visit the South Valley Vascular website. If you need help treating a vein condition, please make an appointment today by calling (559) 625-4118.