Chronic swelling or edema is often caused by veins that have been damaged and don’t work as they should. These veins have lost their ability to push blood from the feet back up to the heart, resulting in pooling of blood and swelling in the feet, ankles and lower legs. Since there is no cure for these damaged veins, they must be taken care of with rest, elevation and, if recommended by your doctor, the use of compression wraps or stockings. The compression wraps will help reduce the swelling by “squeezing” the fluid from your feet and leg tissues.
Compression wraps need to be checked regularly for proper fit. As you wear your compression wrap, you should routinely check and be aware if any of the following occur as this could be warning sign for a serious problem:
- The wrap begins to feel too tight on your leg or foot
- If your toes begin to feel tingly, cool, or numb
- If your toes turn blue in color
- Your leg becomes very uncomfortable or painful
These symptoms listed above could be due to swelling of your leg after standing for a long period of time or from sitting with your legs resting downward. If you have any of these symptoms, lay down with your legs propped above your chest level, or as high as you can tolerate them, for 30 minutes to 1 hour. If the symptoms are not relieved by this time, remove the compression wrap and notify the Advanced Wound Center. Once the compression wraps have been removed, avoid long periods of standing or sitting with legs dangling towards the floor.
Once your wound is healed, your physician will recommend that you continue some form of compression wraps or stockings so that the swelling will remain under control. This will help reduce the chance of developing a new wound in the future.