Lymphedema & Compression
The best treatment of lymphedema also known as the gold standard treatment, according to the international guidelines of the International Society of Lymphology is CDT (Complete Decongestive Therapy). Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of CDT for improving lymphedema symptoms such as swelling and pain.
CDT is an intensive program that combines four different treatment approaches, including manual lymph drainage compression bandaging, exercise and skin care. CDT also includes self-care and other support services as needed such as psychological counselling, nutritional etc.
Combined Degcongestive Therapy
- Can effectively reduce the volume of lymphedema
- Improve mobility and range of motion (ROM)
- Increase quality of life
- Decrease the risk of cellulitis
- Comprises two phases.
- Phase I (the intensive phase) consists of the mobilization of fluid and the initiation of a decrease in the proliferated connective tissue. To achieve maximum effectiveness or significant results, it is highly recommended for patients to be treated at least 5 times per week, 1 session per day for several weeks.
- Phase II (maintenance phase) maintains the swelling reduction and aims for optimization of connective tissue reduction.
Complete decongestive therapy (CDT) consists of:
- Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD): A light skin stretching technique that stimulates the lymphatic system.
- Compression Therapy: Layered bandaging with foam or specially fitted garments that support the area to control swelling.
- Exercises: With compression, special exercises will help to pump lymph out of the swollen area.
- Skin and Nail Care: Keeping the skin and nail clean will help prevent infections that often can happen with lymphedema particularly in those with lymph node dissection or removal, causing lower immune defence system, therefore more prone to acquiring infections. It is important to keep skin moisturized to protect the integumentary system and prevent the risk of developing infections such as cellulitis or fungal infections.
- Self-Care Management and Training: Learning how to manage lymphedema at home including self bandaging or self MLD (as needed), thorough review of infection control practices, skin and nail care protocols, donning and doffing of compression garments, exercises, importance of follow-up/review visits
Active Phase (Phase 1)
- Phase I consists of the mobilization of fluid and the initiation of a decrease in the proliferated connective tissue.
- The number of weeks depends on the amount of swelling and tissue firmness.
- Complete decongestive therapy for one-hour sessions, 4 to 5 days per week.
- Bandages with foam are worn about 23 hours per day and often only removed to bathe.
Maintenance Phase (Phase 2)
- Maintenance phase maintains the swelling reduction and aims for optimization of connective tissue reduction
- Phase 2 should last for months or for years.
- Compression garments that fit like a second skin are worn during the day.
- Exercises are done while wearing compression.
- Self manual lymphatic drainage is done for 20 minutes per.
Who Should Use Compression Garments?
If you suffer from varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or any other condition that affects your blood circulation, compression socks or stockings may help. We also suggest that you consider them if any of the following categories apply to you:
SITTING - If you sit all day at work, you are at a higher risk of forming blood clots in your lower extremities, as you can lose up to half of the blood flow to your lower legs and feet in just 90 minutes of sitting.
STANDING - Being up on your feet puts an extra 20% workload on your circulatory system. This can cause fatigue and varicose veins.
EXERCISING - Wearing compression socks after a workout increases the blood flow, bringing more oxygen to your muscle tissue and improving recovery rates. It has also been shown to reduce muscle soreness by up to 28%.
TRAVELLING - Extended travel has been proven to increase the risk of blood clots forming in the leg veins. Studies show that wearing compression socks/stockings while travelling can significantly reduce the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis and leg swelling.
EXPECTING - Pregnant women have higher blood volume and pressure, which leads to inhibited blood flow, resulting in swelling, fatigue, and varicose veins. 30% of all expectant mothers will experience varicose veins during their first pregnancy.
Stockings are tight at the ankles and feet, therefore, increasing blood flow back towards the larger veins and subsequently to the heart.
How Do Compression Garments Work?
Diabetes often leads to peripheral vascular disease that inhibits a person's blood circulation. This condition is when the arteries narrow, leading to significantly decreased circulation in the lower part of the legs and the feet. Poor circulation contributes to diabetic foot problems by reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrition supplied to the skin and other tissue, causing injuries to heal poorly. Poor circulation can also lead to swelling and dryness of the foot. Preventing foot complications is more critical for the diabetic patient because poor circulation impairs the healing process and can lead to ulcers, infection, and other severe foot conditions.
What Is The Technology Behind Compression Garments?
Our compression socks are made with gradient compression, meaning that they are tightest at the ankles and feet. As the knit moves up the leg, the compression decreases, thereby encouraging blood to return to the larger veins and heart. There are various compression levels, styles, colours, fabrics, and finishes to suit each individual. Made in Germany with over 21 different sizes, you can be confident that the one measured for you will fit perfectly.
How Do You Benefit From Compression Socks?
Compression socks and stockings are worn over the affected area, compress the blood vessels, and help the blood move more effectively, relieve the symptoms, and improve your health and quality of life. They can also significantly improve muscle recovery and relieve exercise-related pain. Athletes often use them to shorten recovery times after workouts and ease the pain of tired, achy legs and feet.
Are Compression Socks Comfortable?
Many people see compression socks or stockings and think they don’t look very comfortable. While wearing a high sock or stocking may take some getting used to, if you suffer from any of the conditions mentioned above, the relief you will get from wearing them will far outstrip any discomfort you may feel while in them.
What Do Compression Socks Look Like?
We’ve all seen runners and other athletes wearing compression sleeves/socks after a race, but compression wear is not solely athletic. What you probably don’t know is that there are many stylish compression socks/stockings on the market in Toronto that can be worn every day, whether to the office or in a casual setting. No one will even realize you’re wearing them.