How to Treat Phlebitis with Compression Armsleeves
Phlebitis, or inflammation of a vein, can range in severity from annoying to incredibly painful and serious. Thankfully, compression armsleeves can manage and even treat phlebitis symptoms. Here’s what you need to know about wearing armsleeves for phlebitis.
What is Phlebitis: Overview and Symptoms
Sometimes called thrombophlebitis, phlebitis is used to describe veins that are painful, red and inflamed. Phlebitis is actually a symptom of an underlying problem, namely a blood clot that has formed in the vein. While phlebitis usually occurs in the legs, it can also manifest in the arms and may be caused by many factors, including physical trauma or injury, surgery or long periods of inactivity.
There are two types of phlebitis: superficial and deep. As the name suggests, superficial thrombophlebitis occurs when the clot forms in a vein close to the skin’s surface. Symptoms are more visibly apparent in this case, and signs include warmth, tenderness, pain, redness and swelling. Because of the location of these clots, it’s unlikely that they will break off and travel to the lungs, and superficial phlebitis often resolves on its own.
Deep vein thrombosis is much more serious; it occurs when a blood clot forms in the veins of the body, usually in the legs. Clots that form in deep veins have a much higher chance of breaking off and traveling to the lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism, which can be life-threatening in the most severe cases. You won’t be able to see the inflammation directly, but you will be able to feel significant pain and swelling. Most DVT cases require medical care immediately, so if you suspect that you have DVT, talk to your doctor right away.
How Can Compression Armsleeves Treat Phlebitis?
If you have phlebitis in your arm, compression armsleeves can help treat your condition. Here are the four main benefits of armsleeves:
- Reduced swelling: Because of the tight nature of compression sleeves, fluids can’t pool and cause swelling — they have to keep moving along. If you put the sleeves on in the morning before your body has a chance to start retaining fluids, you’ll see a noticeable difference at the end of the day.
- Improved circulation: Compression sleeves provide gentle, graduated pressure that encourages the blood to keep moving rather than pooling in your extremities.
- Managed pain: By combining less swelling with better circulation, wearing compression armsleeves helps to combat the pain and discomfort that clots can cause. Sleeves also help with sore muscles in general. Better circulation means more nutrients and oxygen are getting to your muscles, which means they don’t fatigue as easily and recover faster.
- Regulated temperature: People with poor circulation often feel cold — in fact, that’s one of the main symptoms to look out for. Arm sleeves boost your circulation and provide a light layer of fabric, both of which will help you feel warmer.
How Do I Choose the Right Compression Sleeves?
You’ve decided to get compression armsleeves to help with your phlebitis — but how do you choose the right one? Keep these tips in mind as you shop:
- Select the compression level you want: Armsleeves come in several different compression levels, including moderate (15-20 mmHg), firm (20-30 mmHg), and extra firm (30-40 mmHg). Generally speaking, the greater your symptoms, the higher the compression level you should choose. Your doctor can recommend the compression level you should start out with.
- Consider your lifestyle: Will you just be wearing these sleeves around the house or during light activity, or do you engage in vigorous physical exercise? If it’s the latter, you might want to look into brands that specifically make athletic armsleeves, such as Therafirm and Juzo.
- Choose your color scheme: Of course, compression armsleeves are available in the classic beige and black — but the options don’t end there. Juzo offers armsleeves in seasonal colors that change twice a year, and they also make a separate line of really cool printed armsleeves with patterns like watercolor and blue camo.
- Decide whether you need a gauntlet: If you’re experiencing swelling in your hand as well as your arm, you might want to look into a gauntlet, which looks sort of like a fingerless glove made of compression fabric. Gauntlets provide the same benefits of compression to the hand that armsleeves do to the arm.
If you need help choosing the perfect armsleeve for your needs, the customer support team at Ames Walker is always glad to assist with your purchase. We also offer an excellent return policy to make sure you’re totally happy with your order, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions!
Kaki Zell - Vice President of Sales, Marketing, eCommerce at Legs-4-Life LLC
Kaki holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She’s been working in the medical device industry over 11 years and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Greensboro Science Center.