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Compression Stockings for Deep Vein Thrombosis


Topic Overview

Specially fitted compression stockings are designed to treat or help prevent blood clots from developing in deep leg veins (deep vein thrombosis).

Compression stockings are tight at the feet with a gradually looser fit on the leg (graduated compression). They are as thick as two pairs of regular panty hose and cover the leg from the arch of your foot to just below or above your knee. Compression stockings are also available as panty hose or trouser socks.

You can purchase them from a medical supply store or a pharmacy if you have a doctor's prescription. And some stockings are available without a prescription. These can be purchased online. If you buy online, be sure to buy the correct compression level recommended by your doctor. And be sure to buy the correct size of stocking.

Medical experts do not agree on the usefulness of compression stockings to treat or prevent deep vein thrombosis. But these stockings are sometimes recommended to help relieve swelling and pain. Compression stockings can also lower your chance of developing postthrombotic syndrome.1

Compression stockings are also used to reduce the risk of deep leg vein thrombosis in people who are at high risk.

Compression stockings have disadvantages. They can be uncomfortable when worn all day. They are hot and may be hard to put on, especially for older adults, people who are overweight, and people who have arthritis.

See a slideshow about how to put on compression stockingsClick here to see an illustration..

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. McManus RJ, et al. (2009). Thromboembolism, search date September 2007. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.

Other Works Consulted

  • Vazquez SR, Kahn SR (2010). Postthrombotic syndrome. Circulation, 121(8): e217–e219.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJeffrey S. Ginsberg, MD - Hematology
Last RevisedDecember 28, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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