How Compression Stockings Can Help People With Varicose Veins

How Compression Stockings Can Help People With Varicose Veins

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are leg veins that do not pump blood effectively up the legs to the heart. They are often seen as bulging veins just underneath your skin on either or both legs. All veins contain small valves that propel blood up the body towards the heart.

Sometimes these valves don’t work properly, so the blood that is meant to be pushed towards the heart moves or “leaks” downwards due to gravity. The extra pressure inside the veins causes them to bulge. This is what causes varicose veins to enlarge and to take on the bluish-purple colour of deoxygenated blood.

Medical illustration of a normal vein and varicose veins. This is for The Vein Institute's blog about "how compression stockings can help people with varicose veins".


How do Compression Stockings/Socks Work?

Medical grade compression can make a difference to your health and help provide some relief from varicose veins. Compression stockings work by compressing the superficial and deep veins. By doing this, the compression stockings facilitate a ‘pump effect’ which minimises swelling and stimulates blood circulation. The stockings usually exert more pressure near your ankles and feet, providing that extra ‘squeeze’.

Closed-up of a leg wearing black stockings/socks and that indicates as a header image about

Some studies have suggested that medical grade compression stockings can improve some symptoms of varicose veins. However, the stockings alone will not eliminate them.

Medical News Today outline some studies that show research on varicose veins and compression stockings.

  • “A 2018 study, which found that wearing compression stockings with pressures of 18 to 21 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for 1 week helped to reduce aches and pain associated with varicose veins, compared to normal stockings.
  • A 2017 study, which determined that wearing stockings of 22 mm Hg for 6 months helped to control leg swelling during pregnancy in people with varicose veins. However, the authors noted that an oral medication called pycnogenol was more effective than using stockings.
    A 2014 study, which concluded that surgery to remove varicose veins was a more effective treatment than compression stockings.”

How do I Know What Type of Compression I need?

Different types of stockings/socks will exert different amounts of pressure. Compression is measured in millimetre of mercury (mmHg). True gradient compression is designed to distribute controlled pressure from the further part of the body (ankle) and decrease toward the top end of the garment.

4 different Compression levels at The Vein Institute. This is for the blog about "how compression stockings can help people with varicose veins".

Who Will Benefit From Compression?

People with varicose veins, lympheodema, deep venous insufficiency, swelling of ankles and post varicose vein treatments. We also recommend compression for people in certain types of professions. These include:

  • Retail workers and cashiers
  • Office jobs
  • Truck drivers
  • Nurses
  • Hospitality workers
  • Flight Attendants
  • Retail workers and cashiers
  • Teachers

Tips for Buying Compression Stockings/Socks

We recommend that you purchase medical grade compression to treat varicose veins.

A woman is wearing a pair of caramel compression stockings by The Vein Institute that helps people with varicose veins.


To eliminate varicose veins, you may need treatment. View our patient results and call us on 1300 535 017 to discuss treatment options.



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