Graduated compression stockings: benefits, what they are for and which ones to choose

Graduated compression stockings: benefits, what they are for and which ones to choose

Heavy, aching legs or with problems such as venous insufficiency, can find relief through the use of graduated compression stockings. Let's see what benefits they bring and how to choose them

Stockings are among the biggest friends of women's legs. In fact, they act as a shield on the coldest days and enrich the outfit by giving an extra touch of femininity.

In addition, they can also be of great support when the legs have to bear the weight of the body for many hours or even in the presence of widespread pathologies and problems such as venous insufficiency. In these cases we speak of graduated compression stockings and, as it is easy to imagine, they have a therapeutic rather than an aesthetic function.


  • What are
  • What are they for
  • Benefits
  • Which ones to choose

What are

The legs are one of the main engines of our body because they allow us to walk, run, and therefore to move from one place to another. And all this while always supporting the weight of the body. However, we know very well that sometimes you can stand for a long time, for example for a long walk or for work reasons.

In the long run, however, our legs can get tired and it is therefore more likely the appearance of circulatory and venous disorders, which usually manifest themselves with swelling, edema and a sense of heaviness. In this context, graduated compression stockings are a great help, as they are a conservative device designed to slow down the venous and lymphatic insufficiency of the lower limbs.

In addition, they reduce annoying and unsightly symptoms such as swelling, pain, a sense of heaviness that can also affect women expecting a baby. There are several types of compression stockings:

  • therapeutic graduated compression stockings. These exert the greatest degree of compression at the ankle, then the level of compression decreases as you move up the leg. They can be used for example in the case of edema and chronic venous disease. However, these are medical devices for which a prescription is required;
  • anti-embolic stockings. These stockings have been designed to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis and provide different levels of compression; also in this case it is good to rely on the consultation of a doctor or specialist;
  • support stockings. These socks, on the other hand, are not a medical device and can be purchased safely in special stores. They exert much less compression than graduated compression stockings and have a support function. They are in fact used to relieve the legs in case of heaviness and fatigue.

What are they for

The graduated compression stockings are designed to promote blood flow from the legs to the heart. They are therefore used in the case of:

  • venous insufficiency;
  • deep vein thrombosis,
  • post-thrombotic syndrome;
  • varicose veins;
  • lymphedema;
  • venous eczema.

They have a mechanism of action whereby they have the maximum degree of compression at the ankle which gradually decreases as you go up the leg. The pressure exerted by the sock allows the blood to flow upwards, towards the heart, while avoiding backflow downwards, i.e. towards the foot and into the lateral superficial veins.


Graduated compression stockings can therefore be useful for reducing fatigue and a sense of heaviness in the legs, but they also represent a preventive tool, for example in the case of deep vein thrombosis.

It is a condition that should not be underestimated and the risk of which is greater following surgery. Graduated compression stockings, thanks to the compression exerted, allow you to:

  • prevent blood from accumulating in the veins of the legs;
  • promote blood flow in the legs;
  • reduce swelling and pain caused by varicose veins;
  • improve lymphatic drainage;
  • reduce the risk of dizziness and unsteadiness when standing up.

Which ones to choose

The choice of the type of graduated compression stockings depends a lot on personal needs. Those with a restful function and designed to reduce a sense of heaviness and fatigue, can also be purchased independently when these situations are occasional.

Otherwise, in the case of chronic conditions, pathologies – such as those mentioned above – or if you have just returned from surgery, it is good to wear graduated compression stockings intended as a medical device. In these cases, the reference specialist will indicate the most suitable type of socks and how long to wear them. It must in fact be considered that the stockings have different compression classes, ranging from the lightest to the strongest, so it is important to follow the doctor's instructions.

To buy graduated compression stockings it is good to keep in mind:

  • the size. As a reference you can take the measurements of the circumferences of the thigh, calf and ankle (you can help yourself by reading the instructions on the back of the package or by asking the shopkeeper);
  • compression class. The measure of compression is in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and ranges from 8 to 15 mmHg (mild compression), but also from 30 to 40 mmHg (high compression).
  • sock pattern. In fact, on the market you can find tights, hold-ups, knee-highs.

Wearing graduated compression stockings could be a bit difficult, especially the first few times. It all depends on having a little patience and acquiring manual skills. In general, it is best to wear them in the morning, or when the legs are deflated and have not yet been affected by daily activity.

To put them on, start by inserting your foot first and then slide the sock over the rest of the leg, proceeding slowly. Socks can also be worn all day, but must be taken off before going to bed.

In conclusion, therefore, graduated compression stockings perform a therapeutic and preventive function. Thanks to their compression mechanism, which can be light or strong according to your conditions, they allow blood to circulate correctly towards the heart, avoiding dangerous stagnation.

Category: Welfare
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