Are Compression Dressings Right for Your Wound?

Post Reviewed By Expert

This post was reviewed by our Director of Clinical Excellence and Oversight.

Are you under a doctor’s care for a chronic wound such as a venous ulcer or nonhealing wound? If so, your treatment plan may include compression therapy. While many experts consider compression the gold standard for treating venous ulcers, it is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The choice of which of the many types of compression dressings or bandages to use is based on the nature and type of wound, your overall health status, your mobility, how much help you need changing dressings, and other health conditions you may have.
are compression dressings right for your wound?
Historically, dressings for advanced wounds were passive products that absorbed moisture and protected the wound. As the experts learned more about wound care, however, there’s been a shift toward interactive dressings. Some of these so-called smart bandages are saturated with chemicals that promote growth or fight infection. Others deliver compression.
clean gauze

When ulcers are present, compression stockings are often the first therapy a doctor will recommended. They may also be used once the chronic wound has healed as a way to prevent it from reoccurring.

What? Who? And Why?

Compression therapy is used to treat individuals with chronic wounds, leg ulcers, thrombosis, lymphedema (swelling in the arms and legs), and lipedema (collection of fat in the lower body). The aim of compression is to apply consistent, graduated levels of pressure to reduce accumulation of the fluid that fills the space between cells, called interstitial fluid. When pressure is applied to distressed or damaged veins, it forces the valves back into position, and sends the blood back to the heart.

Compression promotes healing in several ways. Consider a venous leg ulcer, in which the vein’s valves are damaged and blood pools in the lower leg. This causes the skin to break down and an open wound can develop. The compression provides support for the leg muscles, which improves blood flow back to the heart. Other benefits include:

  • Shifting fluid away from the wound
  • Increasing the ability of the lymphatic system to remove toxins from the body
  • Reducing swelling
  • Possibly reducing levels of inflammatory substances
  • Speeding healing, especially when combined with the proper dressings
compression bandage

Types of Compression Therapy

A variety of bandages and garments use pressure to heal wounds and other conditions. Among these are:

  • Bandages with varying degrees of elasticity. These should be applied by a doctor or trained caregiver to ensure the right degree of compression.
  • Short-stretch bandages that may reduce edema. These require frequent changing as the limb changes in size.
  • Long-stretch bandages that stretch to several times their length and conform to the shape of the leg. They are generally used for less mobile patients.
  • Non-elastic bandages that are applied wet and harden as they dry.
  • Multilayer bandage systems with paired components that deliver compression. An example is a padded compression bandage and a stretch bandage. Spiral, or figure-8, wrappings can help maintain the compression over a long period of time, and while the patient is walking.
  • Compression stockings. When ulcers are present, compression stockings are often the first therapy a doctor will recommended. They may also be used once the chronic wound has healed as a way to prevent it from reoccurring. These should be worn from morning until bedtime or as directed. If your doctor recommends compression stockings, make sure you know what type and what compression to order.
  • Intermittent pneumatic compression. These systems inflate and deflate according to settings on an electronic control.
If your doctor has prescribed compression dressings or garments, Home Care Delivered is your source for top-quality products delivered quickly and discretely to your door. Among these are dual-layer stocking systems by Medi, a private, family-owned company with over 65 years of experience in medical devices. We also offer wound care products from top manufacturers such as DermaRite, 3M, and McKesson.
wound care supplies
compression bandage

The aim of compression is to apply consistent, graduated levels of pressure to reduce accumulation of the fluid that fills the space between cells, called interstitial fluid.

At Home Care Delivered, we specialize in hassle reduction! We communicate with your doctor and private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, relieving you of endless calls and forms. It’s easy to get started. Call 804-885-4101 and talk with a member of our super-friendly customer care team. Or, enter your phone number on the bottom left of the screen and we’ll reach out to you.

If you’re living with a chronic wound, you deserve the peace of mind of knowing that the products your doctor recommends are readily available. Once your order is approved, we’ll fill it and send it on its way within 48 hours. No need to fight traffic finding the right store or pharmacy! Just a big smile when that discreet brown box lands at your door!

customer service rep touching headset

Unless otherwise noted, the recommendations in this document were obtained from the sources indicated. Be advised that information contained herein is intended to serve as a useful reference for informational purposes only. HCD cannot be held responsible for the continued accuracy of or for any errors or omissions in the information. All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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