Compression Stockings

Description: specialized hosiery which provides graduated pressure on the lower leg and foot to provide extra support and increase blood circulation
Medical terminology: compression stockings, medical socks, compression socks

Sore, tired achy feet, swollen feet and ankles, spider veins and varicose veins are all signs of circulation problems. Compression stockings apply external pressure on the leg to provide extra support and improve circulation helping to reduce symptoms

Compression stockings are specialized hosiery made of elastic fibers which are worn to apply compression to the leg. This external compression helps reduce the diameter of veins causing an increase in venous blood flow and improves the function of the valves found within the veins.

Compression stockings have a pressure gradient making them tightest at the ankles but become less constrictive towards the knees and thighs. The result is an increased of blood return back to the heart and less blood pooling in the feet.

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Why use compression stockings?

Compression stocking treatment is usually used to relieve signs and symptoms of chronic venous disease and prevent venous troubles.

  • Tired, achy legs – poor blood flow allows for waste products to build up in the legs
  • Swollen foot/ankles – poor circulation allows blood to pool in the legs and feet
  • Varicose veins – veins do not function properly and become enlarged
  • Lymphedema – build up of lymph fluid causing swelling
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) – pooling of blood in the legs could lead to blood clot (thrombus) formation
  • Pregnancy – increased weight and hormones released during pregnancy can affect leg veins
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Am I able to wear compression stockings?

There are certain conditions that are contraindicated with compression stockings. If you have any of these conditions, you should not be using compression stockings.

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Obstructive arterial disease
  • Septic phlebitis
  • Active case of dermatitis
  • Advanced peripheral neuropathy

Where can I get compression stockings?

There are different levels of compression available. The pressure of the stockings is measured in millimeter of mercury, mmHg.

Medical grade compression stockings require a physician’s prescription.

  • Over-the-counter support
    • 10-15 mmHg
    • 15-20 mmHg
  • Medical grade compression (requires physician’s prescription)
    • 20-30 mmHg
    • 30-40 mmHg
    • 40-50 mmHg
    • 50+ mmHg

The Cooksville Foot Care Clinic offers different levels of compression as well as different styles of stockings: knee high, thigh high and a full pantyhose. We can help you choose the appropriate style and take measurements to ensure a proper fit for your compression stockings.

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