John Collins, MD John Collins, MD

Compression stockings are an important tool in the treatment of varicose veins and venous insufficiency. They help to alleviate the symptoms of venous disease, prevent blood clots, and are used after varicose vein treatment.

To understand how compression stockings work, you first need to know how the venous system functions.  Unlike the arterial system, veins do not have a pump to return blood back to the heart. Instead, veins rely on muscle contractions to squeeze and push blood in the right direction. Veins contain a series of one-way valves to keep blood from flowing backward. When these valves fail it causes a condition known as venous insufficiency.

Compression stockings squeeze legs to compress veins and keep blood moving in the right direction. The squeeze is generally tighter at the ankle and gradually lessens farther up the leg. The strength of compression stockings is measured in millimeters of mercury or mmHg. This is represented in a range (i.e. 20-30mmHg) from lowest compression to the highest compression.  20-30mmHg is the most commonly prescribed strength of stocking for its effective compression and ease of use. Lighter compression stockings, like 15-20mmHg, are great for daily use or to wear as you travel.

After varicose vein treatment, it is important to wear compression stockings to insure treatment efficacy. Vein treatment causes scarring in the vein walls; when a compression stocking is worn, the vein walls compress together and essentially heal closed. The stockings also help keep blood moving through other veins to help reduce the risk of developing blood clots.

The Utah varicose vein treatment experts at IVC created an infographic on compression stockings. Please feel free to share and embed on your site!

Compression stocking for Varicose Veins and Venous Insufficiencies



John Collins, MD

John Collins, MD

Interventional Radiologist

About the author:

Dr. Collins received his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane Medical School in New Orleans followed by an internship. He then completed a residency in radiology and a fellowship in interventional radiology at Harbor/UCLA Medical Center.