Will Compression Stockings Help My Varicose Veins?

Compression SocksCompression stockings are a mainstay of conservative management for varicose veins that are large enough to cause symptoms.

What Do Compression Stockings Do?

  • Compression stockings exert external pressure on the legs, reducing the pooling of blood in varicose veins and improving the vein circulation.
  • The pressure is highest at the ankle/foot and gradually loosens higher on the leg.
  • Stockings often improve symptoms of varicose veins and may slow progression.
  • Some insurance companies require a trial of compression stockings and conservative management before they approve more definitive therapy.

What Will Compression Stockings Not Do?

  • Eliminate or cure varicose veins. They will still be visible when you remove the stockings. Getting rid of your veins will require corrective treatment.
  • They will not be easy to get on and off, and they will be more uncomfortable to wear in the warm weather months.

Does Everyone With Varicose Veins Need Compression Stockings?

  • No. Small varicose veins that are not causing symptoms do not need stockings.
  • For mild symptoms, over-the-counter stockings or panty hose may be fine, and may offer relief for aching or heaviness.
  • Prescription stockings, though considerably more expensive, are often recommended for more severe veins or to help reduce swelling.

When Do I Wear Compression Stockings? How High Should They Go?

  • Stockings should generally be worn when you are standing or sitting. They do not need to be worn while sleeping or when you are able to elevate your legs.
  • Some patients feel better wearing stockings during exercise. Many athletes now routinely wear elastic support while training or competing.
  • Knee high stockings are adequate for most patients, unless there are large veins or significant symptoms higher on the leg.

So, if you have varicose veins, give stockings a try. They may make your legs feel much better. If they don’t relieve enough of your symptoms or if you want more definitive treatment, consult a vascular surgeon at Emory Vein Center. Call 404-778-VEIN or visit emoryhealthcare.org/veincenter to request an appointment.

About Dr. Rheudasil

Mark Rheudasil, MDMark Rheudasil, MD,  graduated magna cum laude from Abilene Christian University in Texas and he earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1983. He completed a general surgery internship and residency program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Rheudasil also completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Emory University in 1989.

Dr. Rheudasil is a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and is a board certified vascular surgeon. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the International Society for Cardiovascular and Endovascular Surgery, and the North American chapter of the International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery. He is also a member of the Peripheral Vascular Surgery Society, the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery, the Emory Association of Vascular Surgery, the Atlanta Vascular Society, and the Georgia Surgical Society. He is also a member of the Medical Association of Georgia, the Medical Association of Atlanta, and the Atlanta Clinical Society. He is also certified as a Registered Vascular Technologist.

Dr. Rheudasil has published articles in several medical journals including The Journal of Vascular Surgery, American Surgeon and The Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia. He has lectured at the regional and national level on a variety of topics including current reviews of vascular surgery.

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