Frequently Asked Questions About Compression Stockings, Travel Socks & More

Below are some answers to commonly asked questions about our compression stockings:

Who can benefit from wearing compression stockings?
Anyone’s legs can feel better while wearing gradient compression stockings, especially if you spend a lot of time sitting, standing or in a sedentary position.

Gradient compression stockings are most beneficial for the following leg complaints:

  • Tired, aching, heavy feeling legs
  • Leg swelling
  • Varicose veins
  • Venous insufficiency
  • Post-thrombotic syndrome
  • Healed venous ulcers
  • Active venous ulcers
  • Lymphedema

We recommend that you consult with your doctor before wearing compression stockings 20 mmHg and above. If you have arterial circulation problems, please consult with your physician before wearing any level of compression.

Can young and healthy people or athletes benefit from compression hosiery?
Yes. Most adults can benefit from compression hosiery regardless of age. Usually, healthier and younger people wear lighter levels of compression.

Anyone who spends a great deal of time sitting behind a desk or standing up for extended periods may experience constriction of blood vessels and blood pooling in their legs and feet. Individuals will find that graduated compression hosiery can help reduce the swelling, fatigue, and leg aches as their circulation gets a boost from the hosiery. The heavier levels of compression should only be worn under a doctor’s supervision.

Athletes, particularly runners, find that knee-high compression hosiery improves performance and reduces recovery time as less fatigue is felt after a workout. Frequent travelers can wear travel socks to help prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Many pregnant women develop venous problems, such as varicose veins and spider veins, and maternity pantyhose can help prevent or minimize these problems.

I’m a frequent flyer. I’ve heard of “economy class syndrome” and wonder if compression hosiery can help prevent this?
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), also popularly known as economy class syndrome, is a very serious condition in which dangerous blood clots can form in the legs during flights due to cabin pressure and cramped seating positions. Studies show that graduated compression hosiery, sometimes called travel socks can help prevent or minimize the formation of these blood clots.

No matter how healthy you are, when you are passively seated in a plane, a car, or even at a desk, long periods of inactivity, can lead to blood pooling in the legs. This causes swelling and discomfort and may even lead to the formation of blood clots in veins deep inside the legs.

When activity resumes, a blood clot can move to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism. Anyone who spends long periods of time sitting can be at risk.

You can reduce the risk of blood clots by wearing compression stockings. Compression therapy will help your legs feel energized and reduce swelling in the legs and feet. It’s one of the simplest things you can do to prevent DVT.

What is gradient compression?
Gradient compression delivers a squeezing to the leg that is tightest at the ankle. The amount of squeezing or compression gradually decreases up the leg. For arm sleeves, the greatest compression begins at the wrist and decreases up the arm.

Compression is expressed in mmHg (millimeters of mercury). The higher the mmHg, the stronger the gradient compression.

Do I need a prescription?
Ready to wear and standard off the shelf compression garments do not require a prescription; however, some insurance plans require a doctor’s prescription for specialty compression products. Check with your insurance plan to see if they cover compression stockings and their documentation requirements.

Why are stockings so hard to put on?
Your doctor may tell you that, “if they are not hard to put on, then they cannot be providing the compression needed.” That is probably not the answer you want to hear, but unfortunately it is true.

Gradient compression stockings provide the greatest compression at the ankle. This requires the largest part of the foot – the circumference from the top of the foot around the heel – to pass through the smallest and tightest part of the stocking – the ankle.

Newer knitting technologies, yarns and finishes produce stockings that are easier to put on than the stockings of old.

For those who have diminished arm or hand strength, or impaired mobility there are items that can make the task easier, including:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Rubber mats
  • Donners
  • Easy slides

How do I know what length stocking I need?
A knee-length gradient compression stocking is generally recommended to prevent or manage signs and symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency or other causes of lower leg swelling and skin changes.

If swelling or varicosities are present above the knee, then a thigh or pantyhose style may be a better choice.

When should I put my stockings on?
Your legs are least swollen when you wake up. The stockings will be easier to don if you put them on as soon as you get out of bed.