Compression Stockings for Deep Vein Thrombosis

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Topic Overview

Specially fitted compression stockings are designed to help blood circulate in your legs. They may help prevent deep vein thrombosis. If you have had deep vein thrombosis, they might help relieve symptoms and prevent problems.

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.

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 symptoms or prevent deep vein thrombosis. But these stockings are sometimes recommended to help relieve swelling and pain. Compression stockings may help lower your chance of developing post-thrombotic syndrome .

Compression stockings are also used to reduce the risk of deep leg vein thrombosis in people who are at high risk.

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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.
  • Kahn SR, et al. (2014). Compression stockings to prevent post-thrombotic syndrome: A randomised placebo-controlled trial. Lancet, 383(9920): 880–888. DOI: Accessed December 31, 2014.
  • McManus RJ, et al. (2009). Thromboembolism, search date September 2007. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence:
  • Vazquez SR, Kahn SR (2010). Postthrombotic syndrome. Circulation, 121(8): e217–e219.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Jeffrey S. Ginsberg, MD - Hematology

Current as ofApril 10, 2015