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Compression Stockings

How do support stockings work?

Support stockings provide a graduated compression that helps blood flow from the lower leg towards the heart. Compression is firmest at the ankle, and gradually reduces as the distance from the ankle increases.

Graduated compression stockings cannot cure varicose veins, but they can prevent further vein deterioration. Long-term use of support stockings is recommended, even after leg vein surgery, to prevent the condition from developing again.

compression stockings
compression ratios
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Types of compression stockings


Support hosiery is classified into 3 different grades of compression: Class 1 may be sold in pharmacies without a doctor's recommendation, whereas Classes 2 and 3 are sold only on the recommendation of a doctor.

  • Class 1 compression is recommended for people with tired, aching legs, mild varicose veins, or mild ankle swelling, and helps prevent ankles and feet from swelling during long flights.
  • Class 2 compression is recommended for people with moderate to severe varicose veins, pronounced ankle swelling, after vein surgery, and helps prevent the re-occurrence of venous leg ulcers.
  • Class 3 compression is recommended for people with severe varicose veins or ankle swelling, active leg ulcers, and helps prevent leg ulcers from re-occurring.
Full length hosiery - stockings or pantyhose - are usually preferred for people with varicose veins in the thigh, and for pregnant women. Knee-high or ankle-high support stockings provide enough support for people with lower leg problems such as varicose veins, swollen ankles and ulcers.