P20017: Improved Compression Sock


*We have decided to use Confluence for our project. Link to Compendium Project Site: https://wiki.rit.edu/display/P20017/Project+Overview

Compression socks are knee or waist high socks utilized by individuals suffering from chronic venous insufficiency. They apply pressure throughout the wearers legs compressing the superficial and deep veins causing an increased rate of blood flow and valve effectiveness. The applied pressure will also decrease the venous pressure in the leg, while increasing the arterial pressure. The increase in blood flow means that more of the blood is being returned to the heart, and less is pooling at the legs (this is a common issue with many venous illnesses, and injuries). Overall, users should see an improvement in their microcirculation, cutaneous oxygenation, and lymphatic and venous blood flow. This results in less pain and discomfort as well as a reduced risk of inflammation and various illnesses, such as deep vein thrombosis or varicose veins.

The diagram to the right displays the compression of the veins and the benefits that come with it. It should also be noted that the 'Without Stockings' side has arrows indicating blood flow in both directions, an issue that occurs for patients with varicose veins. The deformed valves caused by varicose veins result in ineffective blood flow, with small 'curls' in the flow that result in the bulging of the veins and skin. This is also a primary factor in the pooling of blood in the patients legs. While compression socks will not fix the varicose veins, the applied pressure helps to prevent the valves from deforming, and in the case of patients who already suffer from the illness it can help reduce the visibility and painful symptoms. Despite the effectiveness of compression socks, they have a high non-compliance rate (30-65%), with "Commonly cited reasons including pain, discomfort, difficulty donning the stockings, perceived ineffectiveness, excessive heat, skin irritation, cost and appearance" [Lim CS, Davies AH. Graduated compression stockings. CMAJ. 2014;186(10):E391–E398. doi:10.1503/cmaj.131281]. The objective of Project Compendium is to create compression socks that will increase the compliance rate of patients. There are several criteria of varying importance that we must satisfy for the project to be successful. Many of these criteria, such as effectiveness, and even pressure distribution, are already present in existing compression socks. These are criteria that are critical to the functionality of the socks, and we must insure our end product meets them as well. On top of these, we have four primary improvements, to socks in the market already, in mind to help improve the compliance rate. First, the socks need to be easy to put on and take off, ideally not taking much longer than regular socks. Second, they should look appealing and as similar to regular socks as possible. Third, they should minimize the temperature rise, and prevent overheating the patients legs. Finally, they should be as cheap as possible so patients of all backgrounds can afford to use them.