June 26, 2015

Mild Compression Socks Safe for Diabetic Limb Edema

I don't know what it is lately, but the last few days have brought me topics that I had not expected. This topic is very much something I deal with on a daily basis. I found mild compression socks about six years ago and decided to buy a dozen pair. I have never regretted this decision, even with a few that lose their hold at the top, and work their way down my leg during the day. About two years ago, I added another dozen pair.

And yes, I have the edema in my legs which can make my shoes become very snug late in the day. I was very happy to read this article in Medscape and I read it several times.

Yes, I have been concerned about wearing them, but I fortunately I have had no problems. Since I have neuropathy in my feet plus the edema, I do fit the area of concerns by the researchers. They were concerned before the study about the compression being harmful. They did discover in the study that that there was a significant decrease in calf and ankle circumference, without vascularity being compromised. Great news!

In addition, skin-perfusion pressure significantly increased in the group treated with the compression socks, indicating that microvascular circulation may have improved with mild compression.

James Wrobel, DPM, from the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan says, “This is an interesting study that adds more clarity in this area.” He said the results would encourage him to use mild compression socks more frequently in patients with diabetes with clinically significant peripheral arterial disease.

"Using compression stockings can help with fatigue and cramping associated with edema in the lower extremities and may also help with long-term venous health," he added.

Edema is a risk factor for venous and diabetes-related foot ulcers among patients with diabetes, as well as being implicated in reducing healing for existing diabetes-related foot ulcers,” said Dr. Wrobel.

But although the standard treatment for lower-extremity edema is compression therapy, at a graded pressure of 35 to 45 mm Hg, this has traditionally been avoided in people with diabetes, Ms Branigan told meeting attendees. Instead, noncompression stockings have been advocated for such patients. Michelle Branigan, from Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University, Chicago, Illinois, said, “A
prior pilot study of mild compression diabetic stockings (18 to 25 mm Hg) used in 20 subjects with diabetes and lower-extremity edema, published in 2012, indicated that this approach significantly reduced calf and foot circumference and significantly improved the ankle-brachial index, Ms Branigan explained. In addition, cutaneous edema was significantly decreased and overall lower extremity edema was reduced without compromising vascularity.”

Dr Branigan concluded, "Mild compression diabetic socks may be safely used in diabetes patients with mild to moderate lower-extremity edema."

This Medscape article says more and I really enjoyed reading it.

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