Specially fitted compression stockings are designed to treat or help prevent blood clots from developing in deep leg veins (deep vein thrombosis).
Compression stockings are tight at the feet with a gradually looser fit on the leg (graduated compression). They are as thick as two pairs of regular panty hose and cover the leg from the arch of your foot to just below or above your knee. Compression stockings are also available as panty hose or trouser socks.
You can purchase them from a medical supply store or a pharmacy if you have a doctor's prescription. And some stockings are available without a prescription. These can be purchased online. If you buy online, be sure to buy the correct compression level recommended by your doctor. And be sure to buy the correct size of stocking.
Medical experts do not agree on the usefulness of compression stockings to treat or prevent deep vein thrombosis. But these stockings are sometimes recommended to help relieve swelling and pain. Compression stockings can also lower your chance of developing postthrombotic syndrome.1
Compression stockings are also used to reduce the risk of deep leg vein thrombosis in people who are at high risk.
Compression stockings have disadvantages. They can be uncomfortable when worn all day. They are hot and may be hard to put on, especially for older adults, people who are overweight, and people who have arthritis.
See a slideshow about how to put on compression stockings.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Jeffrey S. Ginsberg, MD - Hematology|
|Last Revised||December 28, 2011|
Last Revised: December 28, 2011
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