Yes, compression socks are often used to prevent or control edema (leg swelling) when due to varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency, (CVI), lymphedema, or deep vein thrombosis, (DVT). Gradient compression stockings are tightest at the ankles and gradually become less constrictive towards the knees and thighs. They are designed to promote the normal flow of blood up the leg to help those with impaired "musculovenous pumps", (often due to incompetent leg vein valves), by compressing surface veins, arteries and muscles, forcing circulating blood through narrower channels. This causes the arterial pressure to increase, which causes more venous blood to return to the heart and less blood to pool in the feet. They are generally worn when ambulating, to assist the calf muscles to perform their pumping action more efficiently.
Rather than throwing diuretics at the problem, your physician should first examine your spouse to determine the cause of swelling. If systemic causes are ruled out (liver, kidney, heart, lymph disease), properly fitted compression stokings can usually help.
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