Compression stockings help relieve symptoms of varicose veins as well as slow down their progress. They improve circulation and are a mainstay of treatment for mild to moderate varicose veins that are causing symptoms. Mild asymptomatic varicose veins may not need any treatment.The level of compression required is determined by the severity of disease.

For very mild symptoms, you may want to start out using regular support panty-hose or knee highs socks (that end just above the calf, below the knee). For more serious symptoms, you may want to buy special compression stockings from a pharmacy store (with a doctor’s prescription), where you should be fitted for them.

Compression stockings may be expensive. They may even be hard to put on and it may awhile to get used to wearing them all day long. They should fit right and be snug yet comfortable at the same time. If you have problems wearing the stockings, be sure to talk to your doctor.

They may help keep your varicose veins from getting worse and may thereby help you avoid surgery.

Compression stockings must be graduated. The are tightest at the foot. They gradually loosen as they fit higher on the leg. This pressure gradient facilitates venous drainage even in the upright position against gravity.

Avoid elastic bandages for varicose veins unless your doctor specifically suggests them. They can cut off blood flow and may make varicose veins worse. (If this type of bandage is recommended, ask how to wrap it.)

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