Compression Therapy

Additional Information

Depending on your situation, the first approach before offering varicose vein treatments is the use of compression stockings, or also known as compression hoses or compression socks. These may help relieve some of the symptoms and move blood more efficiently through your legs. These stockings have been proven to help with the treatment of varicose veins. 

Compression stockings are a simple, inexpensive way to treat varicose veins. These specially fitted hose are designed to reduce the pooling that occurs in spider and varicose veins. Although wearing hose won’t eliminate varicose veins, they can help alleviate symptoms caused by the veins, such as aching, heaviness, and swelling as well as help prevent worsening of the veins. Wearing compression stockings can also reduce the risk of developing blood clots from long plane or car rides.

The stockings apply pressure in a gradient fashion- highest around the ankle with less pressure as they go up the leg. This helps milk the blood back up the leg towards the heart. They come in various strengths and will be prescribed by our physician. Prescription-strength stockings also are available at Southwest Vein and Laser Institute. Our doctor will either supply you with hose or give you a prescription to be used in a medical supply store. Over-the-counter hose offer less compression than do the prescription variety and may not be adequate.

Remember that there are a few brands that are used by the physicians. Any of these major brands are effective for their purpose. Please note that, like many other items, you pay more for a certain name brand. Our office carries two of these brands for your convenience and can be purchased on the day of your visit.

If you purchase some, please remember that compression stockings are worn all day.
Stockings come in a variety of strengths, styles and colors. With the variety offered, you're likely to find a stocking that you are comfortable wearing.

Please note that compression stockings should be strong but not very tight. If you have weak hands or arthritis, getting these stockings on may be difficult. There are devices that are available at Southwest Vein and Laser Institute to make putting them on easier.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are compression stockings?
Compression stockings are specialized long socks, which are worn from the foot to the knee/thigh. These specialized stockings have a gradient of pressure (tighter in the ankles and gradually less tight at the knee). These stockings when worn properly reduce the swelling in the feet/ankles and also decrease the chance of blood clot formation in the legs.

How do compression stockings work?
Compression stockings are made of strong elastic material and fit tightly at the feet and gradually become less tight at the knee/thigh. 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, reduce swelling in the feet/ankles and prevent blood clot formation. 

What are Compression Stockings used to treat?
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 leg. The stockings can be worn as either in-patient or out patient. The stockings do not eliminate the varicose veins but do help reduce the swelling, aching and heaviness feeling that individuals with varicose veins experience. It is also recommended that such stockings be worn during long plane rides to decrease the probability of blood clot formation in the legs. 

Can compression stockings worn in hospital?
Blood clot formation is a major cause of deaths in the USA and the majority of hospital protocols recommend that all patients (especially those who can’t ambulate), be fitted with compression stockings. 

How long should compression stockings be worn?
The stockings should be worn daily as long as patient is at increased risk of forming blood clots in the leg. The stockings should be worn during the day and removed at night. For those with varicose veins, venous ulcers and lymphedema, the stockings must be worn for years and even for life. It is highly recommended that whenever possible, individuals keep their legs elevated at night when they do not wear compression stockings.

How does one wear compression stockings?
The stockings should be worn first thing in the morning before one gets out of bed. Some practice is required to wear compression stockings. One may also use a silk slipper on the toes and then pass the stockings over them to help get the stockings on. A good deal of pulling is required to get the stockings past the ankle so we supply rubber gloves to help you grip your stocking and also help prevent damage to the stockings. This gets easier when one is used to wearing the stockings.

Who should not wear compression stockings?
Compression stockings squeeze the muscles of the leg and drive blood away from the leg. In those patients who are diabetic, or those who smoke or those who have a decreased blood supply to the legs, compression stockings are not recommended. The compression stockings can decrease the blood supply further and worsen the disease.

Are there any complications associated with use of compression stockings?
There are no complications associated with compression stockings. However, they do take time to adjust to and the patient may complain of warm legs. The hot weather may occasionally deter individuals from wearing stockings all day, but Southwest Vein and Laser Institute sells a cooling leg gel to help our patents with is problem.

Does one need a prescription to buy the stockings?
The stockings with good quality compression can be bought in most pharmacies and medical supply shops with a prescription. The knee high stockings are much easier to wear and better tolerated than the thigh high stockings. Before buying the stocking, one should get our health care worker to asses the size of the leg and the best type of stocking. The compression stockings also come in various colors. 

There are a variety of non prescriptions stockings but these do not provide the adequate level of compression required to prevent blood clots or leg swelling.