Understanding Compression Stockings: When and How to Use Them

Tue, 19 Mar 2024

Have you ever felt your legs throb after a long flight or battled swollen ankles during pregnancy? If so, you’re not alone. Millions experience this leg discomfort daily and struggle to find an effective yet practical solution. But there is one: compression stockings!


Yes, you’ve heard it right. If you’re thinking stockings are just some women's stuff, think again. And if you're one of those who confuse them with compression socks for men and women, it's time to stop. This blog aims to clear up any confusion and equip you with all the essential knowledge about compression stockings. We'll cover their benefits, who can benefit from them (including men!), and how to use them effectively.


What are Compression Stockings and How Do They Work?


Compression stockings are pieces of clothing designed to apply graduated pressure to your legs, with more pressure at the ankles that gradually decrease as they move up the legs. This helps improve blood flow to your heart and reduces swelling and fatigue in your legs.

They come in various styles, including knee-high, thigh-high, and pantyhose, catering to different needs and preferences.

While this blog focuses on compression stockings reducing leg pain, it's worth noting that neck pain due to bad posture while sleeping is also common. As a solution, pillows for therapeutic needs of stubborn neck pain are available in markets that promote proper sleep posture and reduce neck pain.


Benefits of Compression Stockings


For those who view these stockings as ordinary attire, here are the benefits they offer you!


Improved Blood Circulation

Wearing compression stockings prevents blood from pooling in your legs, which can be a problem for some people. When blood pools in your legs, it can lead to discomfort, swelling, and even more serious issues like blood clots. By gently squeezing your legs, compression stockings keep the blood moving, which is better for your overall health and comfort. This is especially beneficial for those who sit or stand for extended periods.


Pain Relief

Compression helps reduce pain from conditions like lymphedema and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Lymphedema is when fluid builds up in your tissues, and CVI is when your veins are weak and can't pump blood back to your heart well. Compression stockings gently squeeze your legs, which can ease this pain and discomfort.


Athletic Performance

Athletes wear compression socks because it can help them do better. These socks help them feel less sore after exercising, recover faster, and have better blood flow while they're active. Scientists are still studying this, but some athletes think compression socks can give them an advantage.


Easing Daily Discomfort

Wearing compression stockings also improves your overall comfort and mobility. By providing support to your legs and improving circulation, they can reduce feelings of heaviness and fatigue, allowing you to move more freely throughout your day. If you have a job where you stand a lot, compression socks might make your legs feel less tired and achy. They can also be useful if you're on a long flight or have to sit for a long time, as they can help prevent swelling and discomfort in your legs.


Who Can Benefit from Compression Stockings?


Medical Conditions

Doctors often recommend compression stockings for people with specific medical conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT), lymphedema, and CVI.



Professions that involve prolonged standing or sitting, such as nurses, teachers, hairdressers, and airline staff, can benefit from compression stockings to reduce leg fatigue and swelling.



During pregnancy, the growing uterus can put pressure on veins, leading to swelling and discomfort. Compression stockings can offer relief for pregnant women.



Long flights or car journeys can cause leg discomfort and swelling. Compression stockings can help minimise these issues and keep your legs feeling fresh throughout your travels.


How to Use Compression Stockings


Putting on and Taking Off

Putting on compression stockings can be tricky. Use a special stocking donner or apply lotion to your legs to ease the process. Start by turning the stocking inside out, then grab the toe and slide your foot in. Gradually pull the stocking up your leg, smoothing out any wrinkles.


Wearing and Care

Most doctors recommend wearing compression stockings for 8-16 hours daily. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for washing and drying to ensure optimal lifespan.


Difference Between Compression Stockings and Socks


There's actually very little difference between compression socks and compression stockings in terms of their function. They both apply graduated pressure to your legs to improve blood circulation and address leg-related issues.


The main difference lies in their length:

  • Compression socks typically cover your ankle and calf, reaching up to the knee at most.
  • Compression stockings come in various lengths, extending all the way up to the thigh or even the waist.


Safety Considerations and When to Consult a Doctor

While generally safe, compression stockings can cause skin irritation for some individuals, especially those with sensitive skin. If you experience any discomfort, discontinue use and consult your doctor.

It's important to consult your doctor before using compression stockings if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes or neuropathy, as compression might not be suitable in all cases.


The Bottom Line

Compression stockings are a valuable tool for promoting healthy circulation, reducing leg discomfort, and improving overall well-being. Whether you're an athlete seeking peak performance, a traveller combating long journeys, or someone managing a medical condition, compression stockings offer targeted support to keep you feeling your best.

Remember, consulting a healthcare professional is always recommended to determine if compression stockings are the right solution for you and to choose the appropriate compression level.

At Warrick Mark Thomas Surgical (WMTS), we offer compression stockings for both men and women. In addition to compression stockings, we also provide compression socks, therapeutic pillows, and other medical supplies.

To explore our extensive selection, click here: https://www.wmts.com.au/

For enquiries, contact us at (08) 9381 2333

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