Compression Stockings

In graduated compression stockings, the level of compression is strongest at the ankle and gradually decreases towards the top. They’re designed for mobility and to meet certain length and strength medical specifications. 

Graduated compression stockings typically require a professional fitting. 

Stockings that end just below the knee help limit peripheral edema, or lower leg swelling due to fluid buildup. 

Stockings that extend to the thigh or waist help reduce pooling of blood in the legs and help prevent orthostatic hypotension. 

Some suppliers offer features for personal preferences, such as color, and a choice of open- or closed-toe.

Compression socks can improve circulation and fight swelling and discomfort.

Good circulation is one of the most important parts of your health. Problems with blood flow can lead to uncomfortable aches and pains, and in some situations, they can even be dangerous. While it might seem harmless, sitting in one position for long periods of time can prevent blood from flowing the way it should, but compression socks might offer a simple solution. There are many benefits of compression socks, which are pretty much exactly what they sound like. By providing consistent pressure along with leg movement, they encourage blood to flow upward from your ankles through the deep veins i your leg and back toward your heart.   

Some varieties are graduated, meaning there's more pressure at the ankles and it decreases further up the leg. This simple technology can help fight swelling and discomfort, and may also reduce the risk of developing DVT (deep vein thrombosis), a clot that forms in the deep veins. The danger of DVT is that a clot could break off, travel through your body, and block blood flow in one of the arteries to your lungs, causing a potentially fatal condition called a pulmonary embolism.    

Whether you're at high risk for DVT or just feel like your legs are a bit achy and heavy, compression socks might help.   

What You Can Expect 

Compression socks also come in a variety of fabrics and can range from knee- to thigh-high. Since they tend to be more comfortable, knee-high socks are typically a good place to start. If you need them for a serious medical reason like preventing DVT following surgery, ask your doctor if that length will work for you. 

The biggest challenge with compression socks is getting them on. Because they need to be tight to work properly, it can be tricky to pull them into place, especially if you've opted for thinner stockings that resemble pantyhose. If you're having trouble, try wearing rubber gloves or applying a little cornstarch powder to your legs before putting on the socks. If that doesn't work, a handy gadget called a stocking donner will do the trick. Once they're on, the compression socks should lay smoothly against your skin and feel snug but not painful. 

Depending on your need, you can consider wearing them all day long (though you should take them off before bed), or just for a few hours at a time. Compression socks can be helpful for many people, but you should still talk to your doctor before making them a part of your health care routine.