Compression stockings are specialized long socks, which are worn from the foot to the knee/thigh. These specialized stockings have a gradient of presser that makes it tighter in the foot and gradually less tight at the knee. Compression stockings can be worn to decrease swelling in the feet and to decrease the chance of blood clots and varicose veins.
The pressure in the stockings is graded and this allows for the stockings to constantly squeeze the leg muscles. This motion helps to drive blood back to the heart, reducing swelling and preventing the formation of blood clots.
Compression stockings are an excellent and simple method of treating disorders such as chronic venous insufficiency, varicose veins, lymphedema, post phlebitic syndrome and prevention of blood clots in the legs. The stockings do not eliminate varicose veins but do help reduce the swelling, aching and heaviness feeling that people with varicose veins experience. Wearing stockings during long plane rides is also recommended to decrease the probability of blood clot formation in legs. Compression stockings can be worn daily especially if a patient is at increased risk of blood clots. For those with varicose veins, venous ulcers and lymphedema, the stockings can be worn for years and even life. There are no complications associated with compression stockings. However, they do take time to adjust to and can be a little uncomfortable during warm weather.