The Best Compression Stockings for Varicose Veins

May 10, 2021 The Vein Institute

Compression garments have a variety of benefits and can be effective in managing the pain and discomfort associated with vein disease. If you’re not quite ready for treatment or are just looking for help in varicose vein prevention, they could be a good option for you. So, here is how compression stockings can help varicose vein pain (and help you avoid the condition in the first place).

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are swollen, enlarged and twisted veins with a blue or purple appearance. They develop when age, genetics, or an unhealthy lifestyle damages the vein valves or vein walls. The valves stop functioning properly, allowing the blood to flow in the wrong direction or start pooling in the vein.

Any vein could become varicose, but the veins which are most commonly impacted are those in your legs. This is due to the additional pressure that is put on your veins when walking or standing for long periods. Other commonly affected areas of the body include the arms, rectum or pelvic area.

How Do Compression Stockings for Varicose Veins Work?

Medical grade compression can make a difference to your health and help provide some relief from varicose veins. Basically, 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’.

Some studies have suggested that medical-grade compression stockings can improve the 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 millimetres 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.”

What Type of Compression Do You Need?

Different types of stockings/socks will exert different amounts of pressure. Specifically, compression is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg), with a lower grade meaning less compression. True gradient compression distributes controlled pressure from the further part of the body (ankle) and decreases toward the top end of the garment.

Who Could Benefit From Compression Socks:

We recommend compression for people with varicose veins, lymphoedema, 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

Some things to look out for when buying compression stockings include:

  • Fit: you want to make sure they provide firm compression without cutting off your circulation.
  • Quality: soft and breathable knit is best for long-wearing comfort
  • And lastly, compression level. If you’re looking for prevention or are recovering from vein treatment, class 1 is best. However, you’ll need a higher class if you have deep venous insufficiency, ulceration, or oedema (just look at the chart above for more information).

Seek Expert Advice

The doctors at The Vein Institute specialise in varicose vein treatment. We offer patients a comprehensive treatment program to treat varicose veins, with non-surgical laser treatment techniques. The benefits of laser treatment for patients are;

  • Walk-in walk-out treatment
  • 98% success rate
  • Extremely effective
  • Can be performed at a clinic (no hospitalisation)
  • No general anaesthetic
  • Medicare rebates apply
  • No downtime or time away from work

To book a consultation and discuss our treatment program, call 13 VEINS (that’s 13 83467). Or, complete the form below to receive a call back from one of The Vein Institute team.