Compression stockings are traditionally used to improve circulation.
Modern compression stockings are more sophisticated and designed to provide consistent pressure in the legs, helping blood to flow back toward the heart. Stockings usually exert more pressure near the ankles and feet, providing an extra squeeze that promotes blood flow.
Studies suggest that compression stockings can improve some symptoms of varicose veins, but little evidence supports the idea that stockings alone will eliminate them. Different types of stockings exert different amounts of pressure.
The right amount of pressure and the right kind of stocking depends on the number, type, and underlying cause of a person’s varicose veins.
A varicose vein is a highly visible vein located just beneath the surface of the skin. Compression stockings may help to reduce the appearance and painful symptoms associated with varicose veins in some people.
Varicose veins occur when blood collects behind the small valves in a person’s veins instead of flowing smoothly back to the heart. They are more common in the legs and feet because blood returning to the heart has farther to travel.
Doctors often recommend compression stockings to improve circulation, stop varicose veins from getting worse, and reduce pain or discomfort.
When should I wear compression stockings?
People tend to wear compression stockings during the day because sitting upright and standing are more likely to cause circulation problems.
A person with varicose veins might try putting their feet up at night, to improve circulation. However, a doctor may recommend wearing stockings at night as well.
Risks of compression stockings
Because compression stockings are intentionally tight, they can be difficult to put on. The legs should be clean and dry. Wait for any lotion to be absorbed before putting on stockings.
Using compression stockings can have side effects, including:
Stockings that are wrinkled, worn incorrectly, or the wrong size are more likely to cause problems.
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