Compression Stockings and Socks for Varicose Veins


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Compression stockings and socks can be a risk- free method of effectively eliminating the symptoms of varicose veins. They work by applying pressure to your leg, which aids the veins to transport your blood back to your heart. This can reduce swelling, discomfort, and blood clots in your varicose veins.

How do Compression Socks or Stockings Work

Compression socks or stockings, also known as graduated compression stockings work by applying pressure to your legs. The pressure is at its greatest at your ankle and gradually reduces as the stocking or sock reaches further up you leg. They help the natural pumping mechanism of your muscles as you move your legs improving your circulation.

Buying Compression Socks or Stockings

Compression socks or stockings are available from most pharmacies, and can be brought online, or acquired on prescription. Buying compression socks or stockings can be complicated as they come in different sizes, lengths, and strengths. You can assess the size and length that you will need yourself based on the size of your legs and where your varicose veins begin and end. Choosing the correct strength is more important as applying too much or too little pressure can make the compression stockings ineffective. Compression socks or stockings come in three strengths. Class one stockings are the weakest, which apply the lowest amount of pressure to your legs; class three stockings are much stronger and apply the highest amount of pressure to your legs. You should speak to your GP about which stockings or socks are most suitable for your varicose veins.

Wearing Compression Socks or Stockings

Compression socks or stockings should be worn non- stop throughout the day and are usually removed before you go to bed. Some people may be required to wear their compression stockings overnight and you will be advised on this by your GP.

Compression stockings and socks can be difficult to put on and take off. The easiest way to put them on is to roll them down to the heel indent place your foot inside and roll the stocking or sock up your leg. You should not pull the sock or stocking but should smooth the creases by massaging them up your leg.

Whether you have to wear your compression stockings throughout the day or overnight, you should wash your legs before putting them on and after taking them off and assess the condition of your skin. If you notice any signs of skin damage or irritation such as sore marks or blisters, and discolouration, you should remove your compression stockings or socks and see your GP about their effects. You should also try to keep the skin moisturised using a moisturiser or emollient cream. 

Compression Socks or Stockings after Surgery

If you have had surgery on your leg, whether for varicose veins or any other condition you may be required to wear compression socks or stockings on a temporary basis. This is to prevent the risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis after surgery. If you are considered to be at risk of deep vein thrombosis, you will probably have to wear class one compression stockings or socks before and after surgery.

Care for Compression Socks and Stockings

You should look after your compression stockings and wash them regularly to ensure that they do not irritate your skin. This means that you should have at least two pairs of compression socks or stockings so that you can wear one pair whilst the others are being washed. Most compression socks or stockings will require hand washing every two days in warm water. They should be drip dried without being wrung out to avoid damage to them.


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