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Compression Stockings

What Are Compression Stockings and What Are They Used For?


You may have heard of compression stockings in context of athletes and other active individuals using them to support muscles and movements, while encouraging blood flow and helping to prevent injuries. However, these specialised socks are also a medical item that is used to treat or support a number of conditions.


Basically, compression stockings are tight-fitting socks that are specially designed to provide support and apply pressure to the legs of the person wearing them. Typically, these socks are prescribed by a doctor to help reduce swelling and discomfort, as well as maintain blood flow in areas where circulation has been compromised. They do this by reducing the diameter of major veins, while supporting blood flow up to the heart and preventing blood from refluxing downwards.


Ultimately, the function of compression stockings is to apply gentle pressure to the legs and ankles of the person wearing them. The benefits of this pressure are plentiful, and includes:

  • Reducing swelling of the legs
  • Supporting the veins in the legs
  • Boosting blood circulation
  • Preventing the pooling of blood in the legs
  • Reversing venous hypertension
  • Helping to prevent venous ulcers
  • Reducing orthostatic hypotension (this condition can cause a person to feel unsteady or lightheaded when they stand up)
  • Preventing the development of deep vein thrombosis
  • Improving lymphatic drainage
  • Alleviating the pain associated with varicose veins


While the benefits of compression stockings may sound amazing, it is important that they are prescribed by a doctor who can also guide the patient on the correct use. They should only be worn by day, and taken of at night. Furthermore, it is vital that they fit properly, otherwise they will not have the impact they are intended to have.


It is also essential that hose who wear compression stockings check their legs daily. Things to look out for include changes to the skin, such as redness or irritation. This could indicate that the socks you are wearing are not the right size or not fitted properly. More seriously, it could be an indication of an infection or allergic reaction. If any changes are observed, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.


If you are suffering from pain caused by varicose veins, compression stocking may help to alleviate the discomfort. However, if the problem persists, it is worth looking into treatment options that can help eliminate the presence of varicose veins. For more information regarding the treatment of varicose veins, contact Dr Stewart Gibson at The Gibson Vein Practice in Gqeberha.

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