Almost all doctors who specialize in varicose vein treatment highly recommend compression stockings to control the symptoms of varicose veins, especially edema (swelling due to the pooling of blood and fluids). The key to compression stockings working well is getting the perfect fit. Unfortunately, for those individuals with large legs, this can be most challenging!
How To Find Compression Stockings Online If You Have Large Legs
If you happen to fall into the category of having larger legs, and you need compression stockings to control edema, you’ll need to search for “wide calf compression stockings” or “plus size compression stockings” (sizes XL, XXL, and XXXL). You can also substitute the word “socks” for “stockings” to find more available choices. Big boned individuals will need to pay careful attention to the maximum ankle size on these wide calf compression stockings and socks too since this is the tightest area of a compression stocking or sock.
Warning: Be Careful of Rolling
People who have large legs often have a problem with their compression stocktings and socks rolling down. This is almost always true for legs that are considered “cone shaped.” In most people, the circumference of the knee is smaller than the circumference of the widest part of the calf. However, in a cone shaped leg, the circumference of the knee will be wider than the circumference of the widest part of the calf. Further, in a true fully cone shaped leg, the circumference of the leg will continue to get larger as you move from the ankle to the thigh.
Rolling not only interferes with the value of the varicose vein treatment value of the stockings, it also causes a dangerous tourniquet situation that can cut off blood flow! If this tends to happen to you, you’ll need to watch carefully for this problem every time you try a new brand or new type/style of compression stockings or socks. This is a serious matter so do watch for it!
One potential solution that many individuals who have large legs have found to work is to look for “compression stockings with silicone top bands.” These are being made by Jobst and Mediven in 15-20 mmHg, 20-30 mmHg, and 30-40 mmHg compression strengths. The silicone is slightly sticky and this prevents rolling. You can also try using a hypoallergenic “skin glue” that you apply to the band yourself. Look for the roll on version and it will be super fast to apply. Don’t worry, skin glue is non-toxic and it washes off in the shower. You’ll need to be sure to take a shower at night after you remove your compression stockings or your sheets will stick to your legs while you sleep!
Remember too that varicose vein treatment doctors almost always recommend that you remove your compression stockings at night. When you’re horizontal in the bed, your veins are not having to work against gravity and you won’t need the compression stockings to help move the blood back toward the heart.
Graduated Compression Calf Sleeves May Be More Comfortable
Compression calf sleeves are compression stockings without the foot portion. Many people who have large legs find compression stockings almost unbearable to wear. When something is that uncomfortable, no matter how many times their varicose vein treatment doctor tells them to wear compression stockings, it won’t matter! For these people, compression sleeves can be a more comfortable alternative. You can wear your favorite socks along with your compression sleeves. You can also go without socks and wear your sandals or crocs in the summertime and let your feet breathe. Compression sleeves also tend to feel more comfortable when walking or running.
Compression Wraps Are an Excellent Alternative Too
If you have large legs and you’ve tried numerous brands and types of compression stocking that just never seem to fit right, you may want to try compression wraps as an alternative. They take a little time to get used to putting on but you can get a highly customized fit. They come in individual pieces that each wrap snugly around different areas of the leg and are then held in place by velcro straps.
Get a Professional Fitting
For people with large legs, getting accurate measurements can sometimes be more challenging. This may require paying a little more and getting a professional fitting. Alternatively, you can check with your varicose vein treatment center and ask them if they can take your measurements and offer advice on which compression stockings to purchase. They no doubt have many other patients with large legs and get continual feedback on which compression stockings work best for larger legs.
Visit Metro Vein Centers
For a free evaluation of your veins, visit any of the locations of Metro Vein Centers. Having a free evaluation allows you to meet the doctor and the staff and get a sense of the place before you decide if you will go forward with varicose vein treatment. This is also a good way to better understand your treatment options so you can do your own independent research before making a final decision.