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How do I select the correct compression socks for varicose veins?

I want to know if I can get compression stockings without going to the doctor? Is it possible to get stockings that are too tight and that will make the veins even worse? Finally, do the stockings have to go all the way up my legs, or are there ankle height versions? I wear shorts a lot and I have some varicose veins on my calves and my ankles.


Doctors Answers (3)

Purchasing compression hose from a medical supply store would allow your legs to be measured and get a pair of hose that will fit correctly. The lower compression 15-20mm/Hg hose are generally a good choice for wearing everyday and are available in different lengths. The waist high stay up better than the thigh high hose which are better than the knee high hose for improving venous blood return. The knee high hose may be of some benefit, but are a second choice over hose that go to the waist or thighs. A vein consult would allow you to discuss treatment options for your veins as well as hose choices.

Over the counter the most compression you can get is 20 mm/hg. The doctor will recommend 20 to 30 or 30-40 mm/hg. We usually recommend thigh high or panty hose as most of the time the problems are visible lower on the leg, but actually start higher up on the leg. I would see a physician and get a consult.

I would advise you be evaluated first to ascertain where exactly the varicose veins originate. This will include an ultrasound examination. Your surgeon will be able to recommend the correct compression for you problem and which type (knee or thigh length). They should be measured and fitted correctly. In my clinic my nurses are certified fitters and can recommend the right style for each individual in the right strength. If you are not planning on treatment then this is the best way to go.

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