Compression stockings are very popular amongst people with varicose veins. As the veins become painful and your legs feel heavy and tired, wearing them every day is often one of the only ways people feel comfort and relief (don’t worry, most types are stylish or discrete). Finding the best compression stockings for varicose veins involves visiting a doctor and then attending a fitting at a foot clinic where you will discover:
- The type of compression stocking you need
- The right level of compression
- Your size
According to the National Library of Medicine, doctors and chiropodists recommend compression stockings not only because they help patients manage pain, but they’re also easier to use than bandages and pneumatic devices. Let’s discuss everything you need to know about varicose veins and compression stockings.
Types of Compression Stockings for Varicose Veins
Varicose veins often develop in the calf area towards the back of the leg. This is because walking and standing tend to put more pressure on the leg veins closer to the feet.
As a result, knee-high compression socks are often the best type of compression stockings to invest in for varicose vein treatment. However, any vein in the leg can become varicose, so you may need thigh-high or pantyhose compression hosiery.
Compression Levels for Varicose Veins
Compression stockings have different compression levels, and stockings with more compression are tighter. You can often buy stockings in the 8-15 or 15-20 mmHg range at drug stores, but someone with varicose veins will need more compression from medical-grade stockings.
To adequately support blood flow and circulation and provide comfort and support, Sigvaris recommends a compression level of 20-30 mmHg for varicose vein treatment. However, if your varicose veins are severe, you should look into graduated compression in the 30-40 mmHg range. Lastly, compression levels should always be the highest in the area with the varicose veins.
While this should give you a general idea, your family doctor will know the right level of compression you need. Once you’ve gone to your family doctor and received your compression stockings prescription, you can then bring the prescription to your local foot clinic to get measured and fitted. Note: only a medical doctor can issue a prescription for compression stockings with the appropriate level of compression.
Compression Stocking Sizes
During your compression stocking fitting, a certified fitter at your foot clinic will determine what size you need and order the stockings after selecting from a size chart. Sizes for medical grade compression stockings (20-30 mmHg and above) are quite specific and require measuring; compression stockings will not work if they don’t fit well.
To ensure they order the right size, your fitter will measure your calf circumference, calf length, and ankle circumference. They may also need to measure your hip circumference, leg length, and thigh circumference. Your fitter will also go over the various style and material options and help you select the option that works best for your activities.