Compression garments have grown in popularity among professional athletes recently, but anyone who has suffered from lymphedema after surgery or trauma knows that these garments have long been a tool for a quicker recovery.
No matter where on the body the swelling or bloating occurs, there is a medically approved garment that’s exactly suited to improving circulation and reducing lymph buildup.
Here are just six such compression options and how they can improve one’s life.
So-called compression sleeves are some of the most versatile – and fashionable – garments available for lymphedema sufferers. They generally extend from the armpit to the wrist, and they are available in a variety of colors, from unobtrusive nude to bold, whimsical patterns. The cuffs at either end are comfortable and effectively hold the sleeve in place.
Sleeves are particularly useful after breast cancer surgery, helping lymph nodes in the arms accomplish filtering and draining more effectively.
The options for lower body compression are many, from covering just the foot or calf to full-length leggings. The energizing feel that the leggings create are not only perfect suffering from edema or other venous complications, they can be enjoyed by anyone with an active lifestyle who just wants the extra support compression offers.
Thigh-high garments, which are held in place by a silicon band above the knee, are available in a full range of fabrics and even feature moisture-wicking technology. Men with thrombosis may enjoy the knee-high garment line, which provides support while just appearing to be regular stockings.
Women with lymphedema in the chest and breast areas know that compression can provide the support and comfort needed to deal with pain throughout the day. Compression bras are constructed to be easy to put on and remove, often with a zipper running the full length of the front. It also is key that quality bras are constructed in a manner so as to be unobtrusive under clothing.
After surgery or a trauma, support garments that are worn on the head can be crucial to a faster recovery. Most compression headgear runs under the chin or neck to the back of the head, creating just the right amount of pressure to help the lymph system do its job more efficiently.
These garments also are ideal for holding bandages and compresses in place on the head.
The torso is a large part of the body, and as such it can require a variety of helpful compression options. There all full-chest bras, for example, that are ideal after mastectomy and can be customized in any configuration. Or, for people who may have swelling in the abdomen area, a garment that runs from below the chest to the hips can force lymph gently out of tissue and back into circulation where it belongs.
The supportive pressure provided by compression in the torso can reduce healing time while also increasing comfort.
Garments designed specifically for knees, ankles and elbows have been very popular. They are preferred by athletes and worn by many casual exercise enthusiasts. They offer both support and improved circulation, which can be good for regular workouts as well as post-surgery or post-trauma. Garments for joints are readily available and of varying quality, so users are advised to look for medical-grade options for best results.
The benefits of compression in reducing lymph, improving circulation and energizing wearers cannot be denied. Any of these helpful garments can be the key to better day-to-day comfort.