What are compression stockings?

What are compression stockings?

Compression stockings, also known as compression socks or support stockings, are specialized garments designed to apply pressure to the legs and improve blood circulation. They are commonly used in the treatment and management of various conditions, including:

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD):

Compression stockings can help improve blood flow and reduce symptoms such as leg pain, cramping, and fatigue in individuals with PAD.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT):

Compression stockings are often recommended to prevent and manage DVT, a condition characterized by blood clot formation in deep veins. They help promote blood circulation, prevent blood pooling, and reduce the risk of clotting.

Varicose Veins:

Compression stockings can alleviate symptoms associated with varicose veins, such as swelling, discomfort, and heaviness in the legs. They help compress the veins, improving circulation and reducing swelling.


Compression garments, including stockings, are used to manage lymphedema, a condition characterized by swelling due to the accumulation of lymphatic fluid. The gentle pressure exerted by the stockings helps reduce swelling and maintain proper lymphatic flow.

Post-Surgical Recovery:

After certain surgical procedures, such as vein stripping or vein ablation, compression stockings may be prescribed to aid in the healing process, reduce swelling, and prevent blood clots.


The benefits of compression stockings include:


Improved Blood Circulation:

Compression stockings apply graduated pressure, meaning the pressure is highest at the ankle and gradually decreases up the leg. This compression helps enhance blood flow by aiding the muscles and veins in pumping blood back to the heart.

Reduced Swelling and Discomfort:

By promoting better circulation, compression stockings can alleviate swelling, heaviness, and achiness in the legs.

Prevention of Complications:

Compression stockings can help prevent the formation of blood clots, particularly during long periods of immobility, such as during air travel or bed rest.

Support during Physical Activity:

Athletes and individuals engaged in physical activity may wear compression stockings to improve performance, reduce muscle fatigue, and enhance post-exercise recovery.

When considering compression stockings, it is essential to choose the correct size and compression level based on the specific condition and the advice of a vascular surgeon. They are available in different strengths, lengths, and styles, including knee-high, thigh-high, and full-length stockings. It’s important to follow the instructions for proper usage, including wearing them consistently and correctly to achieve maximum benefit.

If you have any vascular conditions or concerns, consult with a vascular surgeon to determine if compression stockings are suitable for your situation and to receive guidance on the appropriate type and compression level needed to support your vascular health.