Vein compression stockings are designed to apply pressure to the lower legs and will often help relieve common varicose vein symptoms such as cramping, aching or swelling. They also improve overall leg circulation and may even slow the progression of venous disease. These stockings compress the nonfunctioning veins and prevent blood from pooling in the legs, including blood clots in the lower legs. They are typically tighter at the foot and ankle and less compressive as they move up the calf and thigh to help relieve significant swelling and aching.
Compression stockings can be ordered in a knee-high, thigh-high or panty hose length and can be worn by both men and women. One benefit of modern compression stockings is that they can appear just like a comfortable sock instead of looking “too medical” and opaque as they did in the past. There are different pressures available depending on the amount of compression needed to treat your symptoms. In most cases, they are worn during the day and taken off at night except in very extreme cases. Currently, there many stocking companies offering different styles, material and colors.
Compression Stocking Grades
Vein compression stockings come in a variety of different gradients and compression levels depending on the medical need. The higher grade of compression is associated with a considerable price increased compared to lighter compression socks that can be purchased at drug stores. Although medical grade compression stockings are somewhat expensive, they are a much cheaper option to keep varicose veins from worsening and to potentially avoid surgery.
If you have insurance, some companies will cover some of the costs of compression tights. But be sure to keep in mind that in most cases, insurance companies will require that you wear compression stockings for at least three months before covering any other type of more serious treatment for varicose veins.