Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) affects approximately 2.5 million people in the United States.1 Caused by venous walls or valves failing to move blood adequately back to the heart from the legs, CVI causes blood to collect in the lower extremities, leading to a buildup of pressure and swelling. This additional pressure can cause fluid and blood to leak out of veins, which can result in staining and venous ulcers or stasis.
About 20 percent of people with CVI develop venous stasis.1 From poor blood flow and painful swelling to dry, itchy skin and hard-to-heal wounds, venous stasis is a life-long disease that requires ongoing treatment.
Combined with elevation of the leg and ambulation, compression therapy is critical for treating venous stasis.
Compression therapy helps:
- Return blood flow from the leg back to the heart.
- Restore normal pressure back in the superficial veins.
- Prevent and reduce edema by forcing fluid back into the capillaries.
- Maintain venous wounds.
- Prevent further venous stasis and deterioration of venous walls.
- Relieve aching and heavy legs.
- Increase blood flow to the skin.
“Compression is used to bring the body into homeostasis, the word for body balance,” notes Robyn “Redd” Smith M.Ed., COTA/L, CLWT, CLT, clinical education liaison at SIGVARIS INC. Smith says even physicians may believe that compression is used to squeeze fluid out when, in fact, it is to balance pressure, to “replace the natural function of the body.” Smith draws on the analogy of a leak in a garden hose. “If you put your finger against the hole lightly, it will still leak, but if you push against it with equal and opposite pressure, the leak will stop.” That balancing of pressure forms the basis of compression.