The fundamental objective of “therapeutic” compression in the legs is basically to counteract venous hypertension, and it is only achieved when the venous valves function again, and the blood is not retained in the veins.
As a concept, compression therapy is the pressure exerted on an extremity by materials of variable elasticity, to prevent and treat disease of the venolymphatic system. As a consequence, this pressure at the clinical level acts on the superficial and deep venous system.
What is the goal with therapeutic compression?
Any chronic venous disorder, part of the loss of capacity in the venous return to the heart, in such a way that the fluids do not circulate correctly throughout the body, stagnating in the affected area, usually in the lower limbs.
The effects of therapeutic compression are divided into:
- In the interstitial space, it reduces edema, reduces capillary filtration and ensures that the fluid moves towards non-compressed areas, improving lymphatic drainage.
- In the veins, it reduces the caliber, increases the flow and speed in the veins, reducing venous stagnation and improving the function of the venous pump. All these actions in combination have beneficial effects on microcirculation and cytokines by releasing anti-inflammatory mediators.
When compression is performed, what is sought is to improve that venous return and that circulation of body fluids in the affected area, avoiding fluid stagnation and fluid transfer to extravascular tissue.
In relation to this, the therapeutic effect can be achieved by various compression systems:
- Graduated Compression Stockings (MCM) and multi-layer stocking systems
- Phlebological Compression Bandage (VCF) and multi-component systems
- Medical Adaptive Compression Systems (ACS)
- Intermittent Pneumatic Compression
To apply this treatment, initially in the venolymphatic edema decongestion phase, the most widespread technique is bandages. This generates a pressure gradient through the different membranes that make up this part of the body, passing through the capillary walls and producing the accumulation of fluids in the extravascular tissue.
In this way, whether using compression bandages, or other techniques such as compression stockings, it is possible to regulate the pressure of the lower limbs. The application of one method or another will depend on the characteristics of the patient.