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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
You can buy 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 stockings. If they fit right, they should be snug but comfortable.
Medical experts don't
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
Compression stockings are also used to reduce the risk of deep leg vein
thrombosis in people who are at high risk.
McManus RJ, et al. (2009). Thromboembolism, search date September 2007. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
Other Works Consulted
Guyatt GH, et al. (2012). Executive summary: Antithrombotic therapy and prevention of thrombosis, 9th ed.—American College of Chest Physicians evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Chest, 141(2, Suppl): 7S–47S.
Vazquez SR, Kahn SR (2010). Postthrombotic syndrome. Circulation, 121(8): e217–e219.
August 17, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Jeffrey S. Ginsberg, MD - Hematology
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