Compression Stockings for Deep Vein Thrombosis

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Compression Stockings for Deep Vein Thrombosis

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Specially fitted compression stockings are designed to treat or help prevent blood clots from developing in deep leg veins. These stockings are available from a medical supply store with a doctor's prescription or over the counter at some pharmacies.

There are generally two types of compression stockings used for leg deep vein thrombosis. The type recommended will usually be based upon one of two treatment goals, which are:

  • To relieve symptoms associated with existing deep leg vein thrombosis, especially swelling and pain, and prevent post-thrombotic syndrome. This type of stocking may also help prevent new clots from forming, although this is not its primary function.
  • To reduce the risk of deep leg vein thrombosis in people who are at high risk. This kind of compression stocking is less expensive than those used to help treat existing deep leg 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 trouser socks.

Compression stockings have disadvantages. They can be uncomfortable when worn all day. They are hot and may be hard to put on, especially for older adults, people who are overweight, and people who have arthritis.

See a slide show about how to put on compression stockings.

Although medical professionals do not agree on the usefulness of compression stockings to treat deep leg vein thrombosis, stockings may be recommended. Compression stockings can lower your chance of developing post-thrombotic syndrome.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Jeffrey S. Ginsberg, MD, MD - Hematology
Last Revised February 25, 2011

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