Alternatives to Wearing Compression Stockings

Juzo Calf WrapCustomers often tell us, “I’ve tried everything, but I can’t get my compression socks on. What else can I try?”

If you have sensitive skin, weak hands, or severe swelling, getting compression socks on and comfortably in place can be a struggle. Luckily, more and more companies are offering alternatives to traditional compression socks – compression wraps. These products wrap easily around the leg and attach with velcro straps.

CircAid, Farrow Medical, Solaris, BiaCare and Juzo all make ready-to-wear wraps that can be easily donned by most anyone.

Circaid Juxta Lite provides dynamic compression, is inelastic, and can be worn day and night.  Compression increases when you are active and decreases when you’re at rest.  A Built-In Pressure System (BPS) can be adjusted to provide 20-30, 30-40, or 40-50mmHg. CircAid JuxtaFit Essentials and Premium are are more durable and long-lasting option. Made with a thicker fabric, these wraps are easy to maintain and adjust. All of the CircAid products fit a calf up to 25″.

“I bought this because my 93 yr old mother had started having leg edema 6 months ago and could not tolerate putting on or leaving on regular compression stockings (even the lightest compression). These have been easy to put on her and so comfortable that she is willing to wear them even when asleep. Love that the compression is adjustable with the little card.” – Vancouver, WA

FarrowWrap for the calf and foot, is made out of strips of short-stretch fabric, with velcro closures.  A liner stocking is typically donned first, then the strips are folded over in sequence starting at the ankle.  A  wrap for the foot, and hybrid liner with compression in the foot only are also available.  FarrowWrap is available in two compression levels, Lite (20-30mmHg) and Classic (30-40mmHg). Fits up to 67cm calf (~26.3″).

“The leg wraps are easy to apply, comfortable to wear, very effective, and are easily removed.” – Mount Vernon, OH

ReadyWrap Quick-Fit by Solaris mimics traditional bandaging and is made using non-elastic Velcro straps.  ReadyWrap is available for the foot, calf, knee and thigh.  Pieces can be worn individually or together to provide compression from the toes to the groin. Fits a calf up to 68 cm (~26.7″). Extender tabs can add another 10 cm (4″) to the wrap, allowing it to fit up to 78 cm (30.7″)

“These ReadyWrap Calf Units are awesome. no more pulling up and at the same time pulling your muscles. As long as they are on correctly, they hold your leg together. A big plus in my world.” – Plymouth Meeting, PA

BiaCare has CompreFit and CompreFlex options which are incredibly easy to don. Just slip the wrap over your foot and adjust the velcro straps. CompreFlex Lite contains just the calf wrap, while the CompreFit and CompreFlex wraps include a foot/ankle wrap. These wraps can be purchased with extender straps to fit a calf up to 74 cm (30″). Upper leg wraps are also available in this line.

“I really am loving my new “stocking”. When my leg was being wrapped by the “OT” staff the wrapping lasted 1 day and then was too loose. This can be adjusted as needed…A super invention!” – Port Orchard, WA

Juzo has just launched their own wrap and it’s already getting rave reviews. While this wrap functions similarly to the options above, it is unique because it offers customers two color options in one wrap – it’s fully reversible. Currently the Juzo Compression Wraps are only available for the foot and calf, but the upper leg wraps will be added soon. Fits a calf up to 23.5″.

Want to see all the pieces laid out together and easy to browse? Check our page that features full-leg compression wraps.

If one of these ready-to-wear options won’t work for you, custom wraps are available for every part of the body.  Give us a call at 1-877-545-8585.

Pete@BrightLife Direct
Google+

National Lymphedema Network #LymphChat on CDT

Yesterday, the National Lymphedema Network (NLN) hosted its first ever #LymphChat on Twitter to discuss treatment and surgical options for people with lymphedema. Special guests Nicole Stout and Dr. Jay Granzow led the discussion covering Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT), compression garments and other treatment options. Nicole Stout is a lymphedema therapist, researcher and NLN board member. Dr. Jay Granzow is a microsurgeon who specializes in the surgical treatment of lymphedema, including Lymphatic Venous Anastomosis (LVA), Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer (VLNT), Suction-Assisted Protein Lipectomy (SAPL) and more. This chat provided great insight as people shared their lymphedema experiences, questions and management tips.

The first topic covered the components of Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT), which is the most common non-invasive lymphedema treatment. CDT is the first thing that the National Lymphedema Network recommends. Overall, a lot of people found CDT to be effective but difficult. Nicole Stout noted that using compression garments and taking good care of yourself can reduce the number of sessions needed. “CDT has many components and requires intervention from a skilled therapist. After treatment, patients keep up with CDT on their own,” she added. Complete Decongestive Therapy has four components: Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD), compression bandaging, skin care and exercise.

Manual Lymph Drainage is a big part of lymphedema care. It is very time consuming, but can make patients feel a lot better. Depending on the patient, some do their MLD routinely, others use pumps at home, and some don’t practice MLD at all. Using compression garments and pump therapy are very beneficial, as well as practicing deep breathing to help stimulate the lymphatic system. Check out this video on manual lymphatic drainage for more information. Remember to stay hydrated before and after MLD to avoid feeling sick or tired.

There are a lot of compression options you can use to manage lymphedema, including elastic/day garments, bandages and bandage alternatives. One #LymphChat participant shared that a custom Juzo armsleeve and glove work well during the day, and wears the JoViPak armsleeve at night. Compression armsleeves help to prevent and treat lymphedema in the arm, but brands like Juzo, JoViPak, and Solaris offer compression garments to treat lymphedema in other body parts – including the legs and trunk area. BrightLife Direct offers tons of brands, colors and compression levels to choose from so you can find the perfect garment for you.

Skin care is also extremely important for Complete Decongestive Therapy and preventing infections. You can also wear silver liners, or compression stockings that are made with silver to fight off bacteria and prevent infections. During the day, you can use Medi Day Gel to moisturize your skin. Apply it before you put on your compression garment to make it easier to don. Don’t worry, this gel will not damage your garments like other lotions may. Some moisturizers break down the material due to the lycra in the garment and reduce its effectiveness and breathability, so make sure you use a garment-friendly gel! Medi Day Gel quickly absorbs into your skin to avoid sticky or greasy residue. At night, you can sooth your legs with Medi Night Creme. It also helps to treat venous insufficiency.

The last component of CDT is exercising, which helps to stimulate the lymphatic system.  Lymphedema patient, Amy Santiago says that opening up the Lymph channels (neck/collar, armpits, stomach and breathing) help her before starting cardio or training. One way to open up these channels before exercising is with Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD). Swimming, yoga and snowshoeing are all great exercises for lymphedema patients.

Towards the end of the #LymphChat, participants discussed surgical treatments for Lymphedema. According to Dr. Jay Granzow, Suction-Assisted Protein Lipectomy (SAPL), Lymphatic Venous Anastomosis (LVA) and Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer (VLNT) are the most effective lymphedema surgeries. SAPL greatly reduces excess volume in chronic lymphedema patients, and is generally performed in later cases when solids accumulate in the leg or arm. Frequently after SAPL, the use of a compression garment allows you to significantly cut down on CDT, or eliminates the need for it altogether. Other patients, usually in the earlier stages of lymphedema, undergo LVA and VLNT due to excess fluid buildup. You can also combine VLNT and LVA after healing from SAPL to treat solid and fluid components. Compression therapy after these procedures are vital.

Dr. Jay Granzow believes that depending on the patient, each type of surgery can be a success, based on the stage they’re in. As Nicole pointed out, “not just any surgeon can perform these surgeries. Special expertise is needed.” There is a limited number of surgeons that are trained in lymphedema surgery. Although most of Dr. Jay Granzow’s patients have had their surgeries covered by insurance, it depends on your insurance plan. To determine if you qualify for surgery, see a surgeon that specializes in these treatments for an evaluation, as well as a lymphedema therapist to figure out what the best treatment options are for you. Click here for more information on SAPL, VLNT and LVA procedures.

On the first Tuesday of every month, the National Lymphedema Network will continue to host a Twitter Chat, so make sure you follow them on Twitter at @lymphnet and include #lymphchat in your tweets to participate! If you think of any other questions that you would like to ask, email nln@lymphnet.org. The next Twitter Chat will be on Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 about lymphedema and exercise. Don’t miss it!

Additional Resources

Chat with us on Twitter! #LymphChat

BrightLife Direct  |  Nicole Stout  |  Dr. Jay Granzow  |  National Lymphedema Network

MANAGING LYMPHEDEMA

For Lymphedema Awareness Month, we are donating to the Lymphatic Education and Research Network (LE&RN) to support the education and research of lymphedema and lymphatic disease. We are working with blogger Britta Vander Linden to make a difference. During the month of March, you can help us donate 1% of the total purchase price to LE&RN by using the coupon code “DONATE” at checkout.

Britta Vander Linden writes an inspiring blog about her experience with lymphedema. She was diagnosed with primary lymphedema when she was 23 years old. Since then, she has juggled a demanding job and keeping up with her blog, Lymphedema Diary.com, in her spare time. She was inspired to start a blog to connect with others struggling with the same illness. Her blog serves as a network for her and her readers to support and comfort one another. “I felt it was time to share my experiences with others in an effort to try to make their life easier. I hoped to make Lymphedema Diary the resource I wish I had when I was first diagnosed.” Each month, thousands of readers spanning across over 100 countries read her blog. Check out her inspiring story and get tips on how to manage lymphedema.

Before she started Lymphedema Diary, Britta turned to local support groups for help, but they didn’t regularly meet and were located at inconvenient places. A lot of them were made up on breast cancer survivors, so she had a hard time connecting with them because she didn’t feel like they were going through the same thing. Once she got involved on social media, she was able to connect with people all around the world to share tips on anything from finding good therapists to lymphedema management.

Her most recent addition to Lymphedema Diary is a new blog series called “A Leg Up: Compression Stocking Tips–What the Doctors Don’t Tell You.” Those with lymphedema use compression garments every day to manage their condition. Britta says, “No matter the difference in type or severity of lymphedema from one person to another, all of us are struggling to deal with compression garments.  I think that’s why the series has been so popular.”

Britta has been a customer with us for about a year because we have all “Four P’s,” or what she refers to as the four key things every stocking dealer should have: people, price, perks and policies. Juzo Soft Pantyhose in 30-40mmHg is her go-to compression garment because of how soft the fabric is, and because they don’t look like compression tights. According to her, the fabric is very susceptible to snags, however. Britta also suggests the Juzo Dynamic Pantyhose for exercising because they are much more durable. The downside is that they aren’t as fashion-friendly as the Juzo Soft pantyhose, and the thickness of the fabric makes it harder to get the stockings off.

Some other things that Britta has found that help her to manage her lymphedema are regular exercise, getting a healthy amount of sleep, eating a low-sodium diet and staying hydrated. “If I don’t keep up on any one of these habits, I feel it in my legs. For exercise, I prefer swimming, yoga and anything that gets me lifting the legs up and down. In the winter, I enjoy snowshoeing.” She developed a few techniques that help keep her legs stay happy and healthy during a long day at work.

Snowshoe

Check out Britta snowshoeing! This is one of her favorite ways to keep lymph fluid flowing in the winter.

When she was first diagnosed, she underwent six weeks of complete decongestive therapy (CDT). Although she is happy that she did this therapy on both of her legs, the process was exhausting. Between waking up early in the morning and the long commute before work, it wasn’t a good long-term solution. Overall, it was beneficial because she learned a lot about lymphedema care. One thing she doesn’t believe helped her was the acupuncture treatments she tried at about the same time.

There are hundreds of millions of people around the world who are suffering from lymphedema, but there is no cure. LE&RN has done an amazing job over the years in the advocacy, research and education of this condition. You can become a member for only $5 a month and help support the cause year-round. March is a very important month for spreading the word about lymphedema. Many doctors and patients do not know what symptoms to look for in the early stages of lymphedema. LE&RN is working to change this through education. Many people are not aware that the most common cause of lymphedema is cancer treatment. The removal of lymph nodes significantly increases your risk, but there are a couple of things that you can do after cancer treatment that can reduce your risk of lymphedema.

 

Click here to read more about what we’re doing for Lymphedema Awareness Month

Thanks for reading!

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March is Lymphedema Awareness Month!

In honor of Lymphedema Awareness Month, BrightLife Direct is donating part of this month’s sales to the Lymphatic Education and Research Network (LE&RN). This organization utilizes education and research to fight lymphedema and lymphatic disease. We are teaming up with lymphedema blogger, Britta Vander Linden to support the cause. Find out more about LE&RN, Britta’s inspiring story, and some of the causes and symptoms of lymphedema below.

Lymphatic Education and Research Network (LE&RN)

Wendy Chaite founded LE&RN when she became frustrated with the lack of resources available for her daughter, who was born with systemic lymphatic disease. This organization is fighting to find a cure for lymphedema, while assisting in the education and research of this condition along the way. Kathy Bates is currently the spokesperson for LE&RN, and recently appeared on The Doctors to talk about her experience with lymphedema. This summer, Kathy is celebrating her birthday by hosting a 5k Run/Walk to Fight Lymphedema and Lymphatic Diseases in Santa Monica, CA on June 28th. There are tons of events you can get involved with to make a difference. If you live on the east coast, check out the 6th Annual Walk on September 19th on the Brooklyn Bridge!

Every day, LE&RN is helping to find the answers that hundreds of millions of people worldwide who are affected by lymphedema are looking for. Check out their website for the latest research, information and events. You can even ask the experts to find the answer you need. LE&RN is dedicated to answering the questions that most doctors can’t. To this day, there is not much information on lymphedema, and LE&RN is actively working to change this.

LEARN_DinnerCheck out Britta (second from left), her husband, Luke (far left), fellow honorees and members of LE&RN’s staff at a LE&RN event last year. She was honored for her remarkable work on her blog, Lymphedema Diary, and also for her years in support of the LE&RN organization.

About Britta

Britta was diagnosed with primary lymphedema in both of her legs when she was 23 years old. When she first found out she had lymphedema, she was panicked and worried. She had questions about her condition that doctors couldn’t figure out the answers to. Instead it was her dad who came to the rescue to find the answers she was seeking. “He is my Lymphedema Hero” she says. More often than not, when someone is diagnosed with lymphedema, they feel like they are left in the dark. Britta defines lymphedema as “a medical condition that many medical professionals cannot diagnose, do not understand, and are incapable of advising patients about, leaving patients to seek guidance from strangers on blogs.” She thinks that anyone with lymphedema can relate to this statement. LE&RN is working to change this by promoting the education of lymphedema to teach people about the symptoms early on, and about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The same year Brita was diagnosed was the year that LE&RN was founded. Since then, Britta has relied on LE&RN for medical information, resources and hope for a cure. She feels that “LE&RN has done more to put lymphedema on the medical radar and to directly sponsor lymphatic research than any other organization that she is aware.” To this day, LE&RN has done an incredible job of educating and advocating lymphedema.

Although Britta sarcastically describes her condition as mild, it significantly affects her daily life. “I cannot stand up for more than a few minutes without the help of compression stockings.  I begin experiencing pain, swelling, heaviness and sometimes feelings of pins and needles in my legs.  Even when I have the stockings on, I can’t stand for long periods of time.  Lymphedema factors into every aspect of my life –what I wear, how I sleep, when I take a shower, what kind of car I drive, what exercise I do…So no matter the severity level, the effect of lymphedema on a person’s life, self-esteem and pocket book never feels mild.”

About Lymphedema

LE&RN defines lymphedema as “an abnormal collection of high-protein fluid just beneath the skin. This swelling, or edema, occurs most commonly in the arm or leg, but it also may occur in other parts of the body including the breast or trunk, head and neck, or genitals.” The lymphatic system helps to maintain your immune system. It can develop in any area of your body where the lymph nodes are not getting enough lymph, which is the fluid in the tissues that builds up due to abnormal flow. Lymphedema usually begins at the farthest part of your limb such as your hand/wrist or in your foot/ankle. If your limbs feel heavy, swelling occurs, your skin feels tight, or if you experience decreased mobility and flexibility in your foot, ankle, wrist or hand, you should contact your doctor immediately. These symptoms may be the start of lymphedema. If this has happened to you before, do not ignore it! Just because the problem may take a backseat for a while, it doesn’t mean that the issue is solved. There is not enough research at this point in time for doctors to immediately point to lymphedema as the cause. A lot of the time, it takes multiple doctors to figure out the problem. LE&RN is working to teach people about lymphedema to catch it early on.

PRIMARY LYMPHEDEMA – People who have primary lymphedema like Britta are born with an abnormal lymphatic system. Although primary lymphedema is rare, many people are still affected by it. A lot of the time it is hereditary. Primary lymphedema can occur when the lymph nodes form abnormally. This is called congenital lymphedema, or Milroy’s disease. Lymphedema praecox, also known as Meige’s disease, is the most common form of primary lymphedema. It is usually noticed in the lower extremities around puberty, especially in girls, or during pregnancy. Another form of primary lymphedema that occurs around the age of 35 or later is called lymphedema tarda (late-onset lymphedema), which appears in the lower extremities in men and women.

SECONDARY LYMPHEDEMA – When you damage your lymphatic system from trauma, surgery, radiation or infection, secondary lymphedema can occur. This condition is often caused by cancer treatment. Radiation can damage your lymph nodes, which can decrease lymphatic flow. When you are undergoing this type of treatment, make sure to keep an eye out for any changes in skin color, redness or blistering. Secondary lymphedema occurs when the flow of lymph is blocked or altered. When your lymph nodes are removed due to melanoma, colon, prostate/testicular, bladder or breast cancer, your risk of secondary lymphedema significantly increases. Scar tissue can also be a factor.

Treatment & Prevention

While there is no cure for lymphedema, there are a couple of things you can do to reduce discomfort and swelling. Try elevating your limb and keeping it clean and dry to decrease swelling and irritation. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating foods that are high in protein and avoiding salty foods are also important. When you have lymphedema, it is extremely important to stay as active as possible to keep the lymph fluids moving. Do not sit or stand for long periods of time without moving around. If you work at a desk, make sure you wear compression socks! If you have lymphedema in the lower extremities, it is important to wear compression stockings to increase circulation, decrease swelling and discomfort.

After surgery for breast or prostate cancer, avoid injections into the area. You should also try to keep your arm or leg elevated, and do not apply heat. It is also important not to do any heavy lifting with the arm and to avoid constricting the area with tight clothing. Make sure you keep the area protected from injuries and infection. Wear a compression arm sleeve to increase circulation and decrease swelling. LympheDIVAs is an amazing company that makes fashionable compression arm sleeves. The company was founded after two breast cancer survivors decided to change the game and make compression sleeves fun, comfortable and elegant for people who will wear them every day for the rest of their lives. To them, wearing beige, rough textured, bandage-like arm sleeves was a bore. Now, they have tons of cute patterns and colors to choose from! LympheDIVAs also works with LE&RN to promote education and awareness about lymphedema.

Together, We Can Make A Difference

The Lymphatic Education and Research Network has made great strides in lymphedema awareness, education and research. With your help, we can make a difference. During the month of March, Brightlife Direct is donating 1% of the total purchase price to LE&RN. To participate, enter coupon code “DONATE” at checkout. Stay up to date on our blog this month for more information on lymphedema. Comment or share this post and tell us what you are doing for Lymphedema Awareness Month! Special thanks to Britta for her inspiring story and support! Check out her blog below: lymphedema_diary Additional Resources

Lymphatic Education & Research Network

Lymphedema facts, treatments and guidelines

Kathy Bates – Life With Lymphedema

Occupational Therapy Case Study – Primary Lymphedema

Great Lymphedema Blogs and Communities

Compression Products

Juzo

Farrow Medical

LympheDIVAs

Armsleeves

Gloves & Gauntlets

Custom Compression Garments

How We Became Breast Cancer Thrivers

All Lymphedema Products

Compression Thigh Highs for Large Legs

Have you ever put on compression thigh highs that are just too small? The fabric won’t stretch. They’re impossible to pull over your knees. They roll down so that you’re constantly yanking them back up into place. They’re just unbearably uncomfortable.

Well, our team at BrightLife strives to find socks and hosiery for every size leg.  We’ve compiled a list of great options for anyone with a larger thigh, so you don’t have to hunt for them. As always, our certified fitters can help you choose the right size for your legs – you can reach them at 1-877-545-8585 (toll-free).

 

Allegro Sheers

Allegro Sheer Support

15- 20 mmHg

20 – 30 mmHg

Fits a thigh circumference up to 36” (91 cm). These thigh highs are a customer favorite for the affordable price and great quality – check the reviews! They come in five different colors.

 

 

 

Medi SheerMedi Sheer & Soft

15-20 mmHg

20-30 mmHg

30-40 mmHg

Fits a thigh circumference up to 34.25” (87 cm). These thigh highs are extremely comfortable and come in five different colors.  They even feature a lace silicone top band to keep the stockings comfortably in place.

 

 

medi comfortMedi Comfort

15-20 mmHg

20-30 mmHg

30-40 mmHg

Fits a thigh circumference up to 34.25” (87 cm). These thigh highs are available in ebony or natural and feature a beaded silicone top band –  great for individuals with sensitive skin. High-tech fabric construction promises to keep legs cool and comfortable.

 

 

medi comfort with laceMedi Comfort With Lace

15-20 mmHg

20-30 mmHg

30-40 mmHg

Fits a thigh circumference up to 34.25” (87 cm). These thigh highs have all the great features of the Medi Comfort but with an added lacy trim for those looking for a little extra style.

 

 

Medi PlusMedi Plus

20-30 mmHg

30-40 mmHg

Fits a thigh circumference up to 34.25” (87 cm). These opaque thigh highs are designed for men and women, great for concealing scarring, varicose veins or blemishes on the leg.  Though they only come in beige, these stockings have closed or open toe options and regular and petite sizing. For anyone who wants the Medi comfort and quality without the lace – these are your stockings.

 

 

Juzo Varin

Juzo Varin 

20-30 mmHg

30-40 mmHg

Fits a thigh circumference up to 37” (94 cm). Available in beige, black or chestnut, these soft, stretch thigh highs are incredibly durable and comfortable. Depending on your height, you can order these thigh highs in short or regular sizing. They are also available with an open or closed toe.

 

 

 

Allegro SurgicalAllegro Surgical

20-30 mmHg

Fits a thigh circumference up to 34” (86 cm). These unisex thigh highs come in beige or black and open or closed toe. Made with surgical weight fabric – these thigh highs are two to three times less expensive than similar name brand products.

 

 

*****

If ready-to-wear thigh highs just won’t fit your legs – check out these compression alternatives:

 

FarrowWrap ThighFarrowWrap Classic

FarrowWrap Thigh

FarrowWrap Leg

The FarrowWrap system is a great alternative for full-leg compression. FarrowWrap pieces provide a wider range of compression than traditional thigh highs. When active, the pieces provide a higher working compression and when you are stationary, they provide a comfortable resting compression. These wraps also eliminate the trouble of pulling a stocking over the foot and up the leg.

For full-leg compression, you should purchase both a thigh piece and a lower leg piece. You can also purchase a FarrowWrap foot piece to complete the system. Farrow has several different versions of this great product:

  • Basic: FarrowWrap Basic is an economical version of the Wrap system. It can be machine washed and dried and provides moderate to strong compression.
  • Lite: FarrowWrap Lite provides mild to moderate compression. Must be hand washed.
  • Classic: FarrowWrap Classic is designed for moderate to severe leg swelling. Must be hand washed.
  • Strong: FarrowWrap Strong is designed for moderate to severe leg swelling. It can be machine washed and dried.

 

CompreFitComprefit

This durable and light-weight wrap fits easily under most clothing and eliminates the stress of pulling on traditional compression thigh highs. The non-elastic straps provide 30-40mmHg active compression, with a lower resting compression. It can be combined with the calf unit for full leg compression and is appropriate for day and night wear. Calf units are available in two different versions:

  • BK: Provides 30-40 mmHg of active compression with a lower resting compression, like the thigh piece. Includes a pair of seamless cotton liners.
  • BK Plus: The Plus line includes all of the great BK features but also has a high density, low profile foam liner. This soft foam evenly distributes the compression and is great for use on granulation tissue.

 

By Brita @ BrightLife Direct
Google+

FarrowWrap Basic

Edema (swelling) either venous or lymphatic, can take many forms.  For some people the swelling is minor, and a moderate compression stocking worn during the day is all that’s necessary to control the swelling.  For others it can be quite severe, and limbs need to be bandaged or wrapped 23 hours a day.  This process is not only difficult, but very time consuming.  An alternative to wrapping with short stretch bandages and padding are compression wraps.  Wide overlapping strips of fabric, held in place by Velcro closures.  These wraps are very easy to put on and take off, are reusable, and mimic the compression provided by short-stretch bandages.  They have also been quite expensive, until now.

Farrow Medical recently introduced their Basic line.  Available for the foot, lower leg, and hand, FarrowWrap Basic provides moderate to strong compression at a very reasonable price.  Bandages for wrapping have a very short life span.  Basic can even be machine washed and dried (no heat).

If you wrap your legs with bandages, or have difficulty putting on traditional compression stockings, ask your therapist if FarrowWrap Basic will work for you.

By: Pete@BrightLife Direct
Google+

Compression Shopping Guide

At BrightLife Direct we give you many different ways to find the compression garment that’s right for you.  You can shop by brandstyle or length, men or womenlow price, and perhaps most importantly… compression level.

Before you begin shopping, you need to know what compression level is appropriate for your condition.  If you already wear stockings, hopefully you know your compression.  If this is is your first time, your doctor or therapist should have told you what compression level you need.  If they have not, our compression guide can help, but this is not a substitution for medical advice.  We highly recommend that you talk to your doctor or health care provider before beginning compression therapy above 20mmHg.

Once you’ve determined the proper compression, you need to decide on the style or length of the garment, that is, a knee high, thigh high or waist high (pantyhose).  Remember the stocking has to cover the area of your body where the problem exists.  If you have an aching varicose vein in your thigh, a knee high isn’t going to help.  If you’re traveling and don’t have any existing venous problems, a knee high should do the job.

Now that you know the compression and style, the rest is easy.  Picking the weave or fabric you prefer and deciding if you want an open or closed toe.

The three main fabric choices are sheer, opaque and ribbed.  Sheers look great, but are just a bit more delicate than other fabrics.  Opaques offer the widest range of prices and sizing options.  Ribbed are very durable.  All three fabrics are usually woven from nylon and spandex.  Opaque and ribbed fabrics are available in cotton, wool, and silver blends.

The toe style does not affect the therapeutic benefit of a compression stocking, and is usually a personal preference. Open toes are great in warm weather, with sandals or flip-flops and if you have problems like corns or hammer toes.

Now it’s time to shop.  Let’s say you need a 20-30mmHg compression thigh high, and want a sheer fabric with a closed toe.  Mouse over Compression Level in the left navigation bar.  Move your cursor to 20-30mmHg, then Thigh Highs, then Sheer.  You’ll see a note at the top of the page that closed toe is standard.

Now let’s look for a 15-20mmHg compression knee high in cotton with an open toe.  Mouse over Compression Level, move your cursor to 15-20mmHg, then Knee High, and then Cotton/Wool.  See the note at the top of the page that cotton blends are closed toe only.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, there are many different ways to search our website for the compression garment you need.  If you have a question or need assistance finding what you want, our trained certified fitters are happy to help at 1-877-545-8585.

Pete@BrightLife Direct
Google+

A Very Fine Glove

Wearing a compression glove can often decrease your dexterity as much as the lyphedema itself.  Gloves with compression in the fingers are typically made from a thick flat-weave fabric which can be bulky. Ready-to-wear gloves have standard length fingers which may or may not be the right length for you.  Who can afford to risk trimming the fingers on a $150 glove only to see it unravel?  Custom gloves fit properly, but they too are bulky and very expensive.

A compression glove is also a visual reminder of the edema.  How the glove looks can be a major factor in whether or not it’s worn.  Non-compliance when treating a condition as serious as lymphedema can have disastrous consequences.

The Farrow Medical Microfine glove will not make your lymphedema go away, but it can eliminate some of the downsides of having to wear a compression glove.

Farrow fabric is significantly thinner than traditional flat-knit gloves, allowing for far greater dexterity.  Fingers are intentionally long so they can be trimmed to any length without fraying, rolling, or decrease in compression.   Finally, the thinner fabric is far less noticeable than a bulky glove which might make you look and feel a lot better!

We’ve noticed several very positive consumer reviews for the Farrow Medical Microfine Glove on the www.breastcancer.org discussion boards.

Farrow Medical’s Microfine Glove is ambidextrous and sized based on wrist circumference and 2 hand measurements.  Sizes range from x-small to large.  Compression rating is 20-30mmHg, which makes it ideal for treating mild to moderate edema.   You have three color choices; sand (pale beige), copper (suntan beige), and black.  Price is currently $86.00.

For Lymphedema Professionals

BrightLife Direct has responded to the many Professional Therapists and Nurses who have been requesting wrapping devices for their patients in the early bandaging phase of treatment.  The goal is to reduce severe swelling caused by venous disease or lymphedema.  Once swelling has been reduced, continuing treatment can then be easily self-managed with the help of over-the-counter elastic or compression garments.

The Solaris and Farrow Medical wrapping devices are made of series of short stretch bandages that wrap around the arm, leg, hand or foot and are held in place with simple Velco (R) fasteners.  This provides easy adjustments for a “custom-fit” and can be put on and taken off very easily.  These products are especially beneficial for patients who can not easily bend or who don’t have sufficient strength to pull on elastic compression stockings.

We also offer Solaris Swell Spots which can be worn with bandaging on just about any part of the body.  The innovative “chip foam-technology” gently stimulates the underlying tissue, breaking down fibrotic tissues and encouraging the release of interstitial fluids and waste products, that can then be removed by the lymphatic system.

The Solaris Joint Jackets protect injured ankle or knee joints, increase circulation to help you heal faster, and reduce swelling.   The Pro model includes the therapeutic base unit and exterior support unit with Velcro closures.  The bandage liners require short stretch bandaging over top of the garment to provide compression.

In the coming weeks we will be adding a selection of bandages and other products that Professional Therapists have requested.  Our goal is to provide a one-stop-shop for Medical  Professionals and their patients – with the full compliment of BrightLife Direct’s customer service, fast shipping – and discounted prices!

Pete@BrightLife Direct
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