My father has been wearing compression stockings for several years. Not because of restless legs, but because of another condition. He had seen my blog about (light) compression sockss and thought it might be interesting for me to test the heavier version of him.
He still had two pairs from last year. When visited me, he brought them along. We immediately practiced how to put them on. That turned out to be a little difficult. Initially, a district nurse came to him every day to help with this.
Of course I don’t have that luxury, so I decide the following days to try out a number of times how I can get the sturdy support stockings over my lower leg and foot. With these socks, the toes are free and I like that because I often have warm feet.
Compression socks pressure class 2
There are three pressure classes for compression stockings. The first pressure class is used for minor complaints. Compression stockings from pressure class two, three and four are for more serious complaints and are actually called Therapeutic Elastic Stockings (TEK). Pressure class two, three and four are also reimbursed by the insurance.
My father’s compression stockings fall under pressure class two and are intended for him to prevent (orthostatic) edema. Compression socks from this pressure class are also used for other complaints. The extra pressure stimulates blood circulation and improves the drainage of blood and lymphatic fluid.
Pressure class one is actually advised for restless legs. However, I am curious whether a slightly firmer stocking will do more for me, so I choose to test my father’s compression stockings.
In the daytime
I had already read that it is better not to wear compression stockings at night. An employee of an online store had told me that too. I decide to check again why exactly that is.
A fellow sufferer wrote a while ago that she used a light compression stocking and that she also wore them at night. She had good experiences with that. Perhaps it is important to be extra careful with a heavier variant such as the one my father lent to me.
I read on various websites that the reason not to wear compression stockings at night is that there is less pressure in the arteries at night. If you wear compression stockings at night, the stocking can cause too much pressure. This may impede blood flow, which is a risk for people with vein problems. You can wear the stocking at night if you have lymphedema. I read on one of the websites that in that case it is best to use a somewhat older support stocking for this.
None of this applies to me, but I only wear the compression stockings during the day just to be safe.
Putting on compression stockings is no easy task. The socks are so tight and stiff that it requires good instruction and some practice to get it on properly.
My father tells me that I have to turn the top collar first. The vertical seam should be at the back. I decide to approach the operation sitting on a bed, with pillows in my back. That way I don’t get sore back so easily.
The compression stocking is best washed inside out.
I start this adventure on a Wednesday. After exercising and showering, the compression socks are ready on my bed. As planned in advance, I sit down on the bed, turn the collar on and make my first attempt.
This appears to work excellently. It’s still a bit of work but after a few minutes I have both stockings on! Now let’s see how it feels. To start with, I want to test the compression stockings for at least a week.
Just like with the light version, I like the firmness that the compression stockings provide. It takes some getting used to wearing them, but the process is quick because during the day my attention is already less on them.
In the afternoon I notice that I have a little less feeling in my toes. It doesn’t feel like being clamped down, but I have less feeling in it than usual. I haven’t had much exercise this afternoon, so maybe that’s it.
Later in the day, my legs and feet often get warmer. That is also the case today. It is extra hot under the compression stockings and my legs are restless earlier than usual.
I think my night starts badly because of this. I take off the socks before reading in bed. When I want to go to sleep, I immediately have this bad feeling in my calves. Normally I only get restless legs after a first block of sleep. It could be a coincidence, but I don’t think it’s a good omen.
The second day I get the compression socks on more easily. My father had predicted that things would get better and better in this respect. That soon turns out to be the case. I find it difficult to estimate whether this experiment will yield anything beneficial for the RLS.
The compression stockings feel quite comfortable today. In any case, I’m not bothered by them. The question is how the night will go. It appears to be going better than the night before, but no better than average.
The following days
On day three and the days after, I notice that I am already quite used to wearing these special, thick knee socks. They don’t make my restless legs any less intense, but I actually find it quite comfortable to wear them. It makes all the difference that the toes are outside the sock.
In the course of the afternoon, however, I already have restless legs a few times. Normally they only start for me after my first sleep. By that I mean: after a first sleep phase, which lasts an average of 1.5 to 2 hours for me. Sometimes shorter, but then I may not have completed an entire sleep phase.
After a week I stop the experiment. I don’t seem to benefit from the compression socks. The extra complaints that I got a few times in the course of the afternoon is of course not favorable either.
Maybe I’ll try the socks again at a later time.