What are Compression Stockings?

Compression stockings, also known as graduated compression stockings, are garments that gradually reduce the pressure as you move along the limb towards your trunk. For example, thigh length compression stockings will have a higher pressure at your ankle, a moderate pressure at your knee, and lower pressure at the thigh.

While "stockings" is sometimes used to refer to compression tights that are knee-length or longer, the term can also be applied to compression garments for arms and legs.

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Compression stockings can be helpful in a variety of conditions:

Deep Vein Thrombosis:

This is a condition in which a blood clot forms within a deep vein. Usually, it occurs in the leg. If the blood clot is not removed, it can travel through the heart to the lungs, blocking an artery. This is known as a pulmonary embolism.

Varicose veins are swollen superficial veins:

These veins lie just below the skin and are superficially enlarged. They are not of clinical significance but can be unsightly and appear lumpy, dark blue, or purple through the skin. They are most common in the legs, especially the calf and sometimes the hips. Although the exact cause is unknown, the blood is likely leaking backward through damaged vein valves. This allows the blood to pool in the veins, causing them to expand.

Oedema is fluid buildup in the legs:

This can be caused by heart failure or problems with the legs' veins. Fluid may also build up in your legs after a long airplane flight, or when the legs are not moving.

Stockings must be worn throughout the day to ensure maximum effectiveness. They are usually removed at night, but a doctor might recommend that they be worn at night if there are medical conditions. They should be removed at least for half an hour each day to allow the wearer to wash his/her legs and check for any dry patches or sores. These can be decreased by using emulsifying lotions.