Disease-modifying treatment for venous diseases
It is a common misnomer that medical compression stockings are called "support stockings". But we must distinguish clearly between these two products.
Medical compression garments are medical devices that the doctor or clinician can prescribe if needed, if the patient has the right indications or if they think they are appropriate. Patients are then measured for either an off-the-shelf garment or a made to measure garment.
The veins in the legs ensure the return flow of blood back to the heart. The venous valves in the veins function like non-return valves, which only allow the blood to flow in one direction, namely in the direction of the heart, and thus prevent blood pooling in the legs. A lack of exercise and too much standing or sitting places considerable pressure on the venous system for many hours of the day.
If the calf's muscle pump no longer adequately supports the return transport of the blood, the veins widen and the venous valves no longer close properly, the legs grow tired and heavy. Swelling and socks or shoes cutting into the skin are a sign of this. Spider veins, varicose veins or leg ulcers may develop later.
Only the medically correct pressure gradient guarantees medical efficacy
The pressure exerted by compression stockings decreases continually in a distal (ankle/foot) to proximal (thigh) direction, because this degressive pressure gradient complies with the medical requirements on compression therapy.
Since humans stand erect, the venous pressure is highest in the ankle/foot region (distally). The lower third of the lower leg is therefore particularly at risk of pathological disorders. Thus, the pressure exerted by the compression stocking must be particularly high there. By contrast, the pressure gradient must be relieved in the pit of the knee to prevent constriction of the superficial vein. The pressure gradient decreases steadily from 100% at the ankle to 40% at the thigh.
The pressure exerted at the ankle defines the classification of medical compression garments in the four available compression classes.