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What features should I look for in compression socks?

I have varicose veins and I have read that compression socks can help solve this problem. What type of features should I be looking for when purchasing a pair of compression socks?


Doctors Answers (8)

Medical grade compression hose/socks come in different sizes, colors and styles from socks and thigh-high to waist high. The compression is greatest at the ankles and less at the top with gradient compression that is given as 2 numbers for the range of compression and is rated in mm/Hg. The lower compression is 15-20mm/Hg often used for smaller veins, medium is 20-30mm/Hg for mixed medium veins and smaller varicose veins, and high 30-40mm/Hg for the larger varicose veins. Different manufacturers are available, and some of the cheaper hose will not wear very well and are not as comfortable. Generally, I like the well established brands that are manufactured in Italy, Germany, and the USA that are available at a medical supply or vein clinic and should last for about 9 months of daily use. If you need hose help getting the hose over the foot and ankle, there are butlers or other devices that can help with putting them on, especially if you have arthritis or strength issues. Taking the hose off is usually much easier that putting them on. The advantage of waist high hose is they cover the leg completely and will stay up well. The knee high is adequate if the problem is limited to below the knee but it may bind up at the top of the sock below the knee and so thigh high hose may be more comfortable and better choice for some. I recommend getting measured for hose by professionals to be sure you are getting the correct size.

The features look for in compression socks are fit first. They have to be properly measured and fit well. Next is comfort so you will wear them. Third is style but that still can be important.

Compression stockings will help alleviate the pressure and will help promote the blood flow through the vein in the appropriate direction. It will not stop your vein disease. You normally would require a prescription and can be measured at a surgical supply store. Normally, a 20-30 mmHg or 30-40 mmHg graduated compression sock is good for symptomatic varicose veins. However, you want to make sure your circulation is adequate in your arteries before wearing compression garments. There are multiple brands for compression socks. Some of the more popular brands are Jobst, Medi, Sigvaris, and Juzo brand stockings.

The main feature is "GRADED COMPRESSION," however you really should have a complete venous evaluation to create a plan for this long term health issue. Stockings DO NOT CURE OR PREVENT varicose veins. They can slow progression when used at appropriate times.

Compression stockings come in different lengths and pressure gradients. They should be prescribed by a physician. They may improve your leg symptoms but they will not cure your varicose veins. These stockings are available through several manufacturers, and there are multiple models and strengths of compression. Your leg measurements at the ankle, calf, and thigh need to be taken for proper fit. They can also be custom made to fit your particular body habits.

Two things are most important, 1) foot fit so it is not too tight to prevent cramps and 2) snug gradient compression from the ankle to the knee or higher, usually in the 20-40 mm hg pressure. All the major brands are good, but like cars, there are minor differences that may be more or less appealing to you. Good luck.

They do not cure or solve the problem, they help the symptoms. They can help the aching or heaviness or swelling. You should get a prescription for the compression hose from your physician and be measured either by their office or a medical supply store to make sure they fit correctly.

Compression stockings cannot "solve" or cure a vein problem. However, wearing them can slow down the progression of a vein condition and temporarily improve the symptoms of venous insufficiency. Compression stockings should be graduated (increasing strength lower down) and have at least 20-30 mm Hg pressure. Some manufacturers like Medi offer a guarantee.

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