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Compression stockings

Compression hose; Pressure stockings; Support stockings; Gradient stockings; Varicose veins - compression stockings; Venous insufficiency - compression stockings

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Pressure stockings

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Description

You wear compression stockings to improve blood flow in your legs. Compression stockings gently squeeze your legs to move blood up your legs. This helps prevent leg swelling and, to a lesser extent, blood clots.

If you have varicose veins, spider veins, or have just had surgery, your health care provider may prescribe compression stockings.

Wearing stockings helps with:

Types of Compression Stockings

Talk to your provider about what kind of compression stockings are right for you. There are many different compression stockings. They come in different:

Buying Compression Stockings

Call your health insurance or prescription plan:

Wearing Compression Stockings

Follow instructions on how long each day you need to wear your compression stockings. You may need to wear them all day.

The stockings should feel strong around your legs. You will feel the most pressure around your ankles and less pressure higher up your legs.

Putting on Your Compression Stockings

Put on stockings first thing in the morning before you get out of bed. Your legs have the least amount of swelling early in the morning.

Compression Stockings can be Hard to put on

If it's hard for you to put on the stockings, try these tips:

Wash Your Stockings Every Day

Keep the stockings clean:

When to Call the Doctor

If your stockings feel too uncomfortable, call your provider. Find out if there is a different kind of stocking that will work for you. Do not stop wearing them without talking to your provider.

References

Caprini JA, Arcelus JI, Tafur AJ. Venous thromboembolic disease: mechanical and pharmacologic prophylaxis. In: Sidawy AN, Perler BA, eds. Rutherford's Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 146.

Lim CS, Davies AH. Graduated compression stockings. CMAJ. 2014;186(10):E391-E398. PMID 24591279 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24591279.

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Review Date: 7/12/2018  

Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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