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Compression Stockings

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What Are Compression Stockings?

Compression stockings are specialized garments that put therapeutic pressure on your legs in order to increase circulation and prevent swelling.  They are useful for people who spend prolonged periods of sitting and standing, or in those with venous diseases. Compared to traditional hosiery, compression stockings fit more snugly and use stronger elastic to apply a gentle squeeze to the legs and feet. The compression is highest around the ankles and gradually reduces as you go up the leg.

How Do Compression Stockings Work?

Blood flow travels from head to toe: 100% of the blood in your body flows through your feet. Once there, the veins in the lower legs have to work against gravity to push the blood back to the heart. However, sometimes the veins can’t push hard enough and blood begins to pool in the veins of your feet and lower legs instead of recirculating throughout your body. This causes the feet and lower legs to swell up. Compression stockings put pressure (or compression) on the veins, arteries and muscles in your legs, which helps the veins push blood back up toward your heart and away from the lower limbs and feet. This in turn reduces swelling.

How Our Foot Clinic Can Help

Our foot clinic offers specialized medical grade compression stockings in a variety of tensions, materials, thicknesses, colours and sizes from Sigvaris. They provide more therapeutic benefit and are different than the over-the-counter compression stockings you typically find at the drugstore.

Feet First Clinic has certified fitters on staff who will determine your specific size based on measuring the circumference of your ankles, calves, thighs, and hips.  Drop-in compression fittings are offered during clinic hours Monday to Saturday and alternating Sundays, and is a complimentary service. No appointment is required. Once we’ve measured you, you can select the style and material you want from our samples, and we’ll then order it in. Compression stockings are available by order only; we do not carry them in stock

Some insurers will cover the cost of compression stockings if prescribed by a medical practitioner(See the Insurance Coverage section below)  

If you’re not sure whether compression stockings will treat your foot issues, you can book an assessment with one of our chiropodists for treatment recommendations and to see if compression stockings are the right fit for you. 

Conditions Treated

Compression stockings may be prescribed to help reduce symptoms and swelling associated with the following conditions:

  • Edema (buildup of fluid in the lower limbs and feet, which causes them to swell)
  • Pregnancy (the hormones produced during pregnancy affects the veins in the legs, which results in blood pooling in the feet and ankles)
  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Varicose Veins
  • Phlebitis
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Lymphedema
  • Arthritis: Compression stockings can sometimes help reduce swelling and inflammation caused by rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. 

The following people may also benefit from compression stockings:

  • Individuals with or at risk of circulation problems that can lead to blood and fluid pooling in the feet and lower limbs
  • Individuals who cannot be upright (orthostatic intolerance)
  • Individuals who are bed-ridden as the result of chronic illness or surgical recovery

Please note: compression stockings are not recommended for diabetes patients with arterial insufficiency.


What Are The Benefits Of Compression Therapy?

Medical-grade compression stockings offer a higher performance and more benefits than the over-the-counter compression wear found at a drugstore. Medical-grade compression stockings also come in different strengths (20-30mmHg, 30-40mmHg, 40-50 mmHg and 50-60mmHg) and sizes to ensure the right amount of pressure is applied to properly address your specific medical needs.

Compression stockings offer the following benefits:

  • Preventing and managing the effects of circulatory issues:  By increasing circulation to the legs, they reduce the risk of blood clots, can help treat varicose veins, and offset the effects of poor circulation from diabetes.  
  • Swelling and pain relief:  Swelling (medically referred to as “edema”) is caused by the build-up of fluid.  Compression stockings stimulate circulation, which reduces swelling and in turn, provides pain relief.  Improved blood flow to the muscles also reduces their susceptibility to injury and fatigue.  
  • Improved muscle and athletic performance: By improving blood flow to the legs, and in essence offsetting the harm caused by long periods of standing or sitting, the muscles receive the oxygenated blood supply they need to perform their tasks. This keeps them healthy and reduces strain and the proneness to injury.  

Who Can Benefit From Compression Stockings?

Compression stockings can benefit people of all ages in any condition. In addition to benefiting people who are pregnant or have conditions affecting their circulation, they are also very beneficial for people who sit or stand for prolonged periods: When your legs are stationary for an extended period of time (i.e.: during prolonged sitting or standing), or if you have circulation issues, the veins can’t push hard enough and blood begins to pool in the veins of your feet and lower legs instead of recirculating throughout your body.

Whether you’re on a long flight, or your occupation feels like one from sitting at a desk for hours on end, compression stockings can help combat fatigue, achiness, and swelling. The same goes for professions and pastimes that require long periods of standing on your feet, like teaching and nursing. In essence, people in any occupation where you’re sitting or standing for prolonged periods can benefit from compression stockings (which covers a lot of people).

Insurance Coverage

Are Compression Stockings Covered By Insurance?

Compression stockings and socks are covered under many supplemental insurance plans. Most insurance companies require a prescription from a medical doctor to cover the cost of compression stockings. If you are unsure about your benefits and coverage for chiropodist services, you can contact your insurance company directly, or check with your employer’s HR department to receive a breakdown of your policy. 

The most most accurate and sure-proof way to check your coverage is to contact your insurance company directly. We strongly recommend that you contact your insurance company directly to verify your coverage in advance.

Do I Need A Prescription For Compression Stockings?

If you want to use your private foot care benefits to get compression stockings, all insurance providers require a prescription from a medical doctor. Once you receive your prescription, our staff will be happy to measure you and help you select the compression stockings best suited for your needs and activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Compression Stockings Comfortable?

Absolutely! Compression stockings do not hurt at all. In fact, many people either don’t feel a difference, or feel even more comfortable in compression wear due to therapeutic benefits. Our fitters will match you with the right size so that you don’t feel restricted. Compression wear also comes in an assortment of styles and materials for premium comfort, including cotton, bamboo, and wool. 

How Do I Know What Size Compression Stockings I Need?

Compression stockings must be the correct size in order to get optimal benefits. Feet First Clinic has certified fitters on staff who will determine your specific size based on measuring the circumference of your ankles, calves, thighs, and hips.

Compression stockings come in different MmHg (millimeters of mercury) and range from 15-20 MmHg, 20-30 MmHg, 30-40 MmHg which will be determined by a medical doctor. 

Drop-in compression wear fitting is offered during clinic hours Monday-Saturday and is a complimentary service. No appointment is required, however, we recommend calling in advance to ensure that one of our fitters is available. 

What Styles Of Compression Stockings Are Available?

Compression stockings and socks come in a variety of durable and breathable styles, materials, colours, patterns, and opacities, suited for wear in professional, casual, and recreational settings.
  • Pantyhose
  • Maternity
  • Thigh-high
  • Knee-high socks
  • Open-toe
  • Supima cotton
  • Sea Island cotton
  • Microfibre
  • Merino wool
  • Natural rubber
  • Linen
  • Sheer
  • Mid-sheer
  • Opaque

How Do I Put On My Compression Stockings?

Compression stockings are more elasticized than standard hosiery and cannot be taken on and off the same way – if you do it can reduce the elasticity (not to mention it’ll be more difficult). There is a trick to putting them on and taking them off. For detailed instructions how to put on and take off your compression stockings, see the video below. You can also click here to see written instructions and pictures on the Sigvaris website.

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Related Conditions for Compression Stockings

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Plantar Fasciitis
See all >

Related Conditions for Compression Stockings

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Plantar Fasciitis
See all >

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Carolina Charles

Patient Relation Coordinator (She/Her)

If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures.​ She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.