Compression Socks and Stockings

Compression Socks and Stockings

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Compression socks and stockings are specialised hosiery designed to help prevent the occurrence of, and guard against further progression of, venous (veins) disorders such as oedema, phlebitis and thrombosis.


What is Oedema (Edema)?

Oedema is a condition characterised by an excess of watery fluid collecting in the cavities or tissues of the body

What is Phlebitis?

Inflammation of the walls of a vein

What is Thrombosis?

Local coagulation or clotting of the blood in a part of the circulatory system


Compression stockings/socks are elastic garments worn around the leg, compressing the limb. This reduces the diameter of swollen veins and increases venous blood flow speed and valve effectiveness.

Compression therapy helps decrease venous pressure, prevents venous stasis (stagnation) and impairments of venous walls, and relieves heavy and aching legs.


Knee-high compression stockings are used not only to help improve circulation, but also to help prevent the formation of blood clots in the lower legs. They also aid in the treatment of ulcers of the lower legs. Unlike traditional dress or athletic stockings and socks, compression stockings use stronger elastics to create significant pressure on the legs, ankles and feet.

Compression socks and stockings are tightest at the ankles and gradually become less constrictive toward the knees and thighs. By compressing the surface veins, arteries and muscles, they force circulating blood through narrower channels. As a result, the arterial pressure is increased, which causes more blood to return to the heart and less blood to pool in the feet.


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Compression socks and stockings are offered in different levels of compression. The unit of measure used to classify the pressure of the stockings is millimetres of mercury- mmHg. They are often sold in a variety of pressure ranges.

Over-the-counter support is available in 10-15 or 15-20 mmHg

Higher pressure stockings require a prescription from a medical professional such as a podiatrist, doctor or surgeon. These higher pressures range from 20-30 mmHg to 50+ mmHg.


Here at the Masterton Foot Clinic we sell lower mmHg compression socks and stockings ideal for:

  • Travel- occurs on long flight, due to traveller’s inactivity, gravity, and cramped seating, which slows down the blood flow through veins
  • Swelling and sore ankles and legs
  • Pregnancy-  prevent the development of visible spider and varicose vein related problems during pregnancy whilst at the same time preventing your legs from swelling excessively.
  • Post sports- to prevent chafing and rashes, and post-exercise to ease muscle stiffness and quicken recovery time.
  • Post surgery- used after surgery to prevent blood clots developing in the leg, which is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).0003888

Reasons when Compression Wear should not be worn:

  • Ischemia (e.g. advanced arterial disease) of the legs
  • Uncontrolled congestive heart failure
  • Untreated septic phlebitis of the leg
  • Skin infections
  • Weeping dermatoses (skin disease)
  • Incompatibility to fabric of garment
  • Impaired sensitivity of the limb
  • Immobility (confinement to bed)


By Megan Horsham and Adam Philps. Masterton Foot Clinic

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