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Compression Stockings

Overview

What Are Compression Stockings?

Compression stockings are specialized garments that put therapeutic pressure on your legs in order to increase circulation and prevent swelling.  They are useful for people who spend prolonged periods of sitting and standing, or in those with venous diseases. Compared to traditional hosiery, compression stockings fit more snugly and use stronger elastic to apply a gentle squeeze to the legs and feet. The compression is highest around the ankles and gradually reduces as you go up the leg.

How Do Compression Stockings Work?

At every age, blood flow goes from head to toe: 100% of the blood in your body flows through your feet. Once there, the veins in the lower legs have to work against gravity to push the blood back to the heart. However, sometimes the veins can’t push hard enough and blood begins to pool in the veins of your feet and lower legs instead of recirculating throughout your body. This causes the feet and lower legs to swell up. Compression stockings put pressure (or compression) on the veins, arteries and muscles in your legs, which helps the veins push blood back up toward your heart and away from the lower limbs and feet. This in turn reduces swelling.

How Our Foot Clinic Can Help

Our foot clinic offers specialized medical grade compression stockings in a variety of tensions, materials, thicknesses, colours and sizes. These are different and provide more therapeutic benefit than the over-the-counter compression stockings you typically find at the drugstore.

Feet First Clinic has certified fitters on staff who will determine your specific size based on measuring the circumference of your ankles, calves, thighs, and hips.  Drop-in compression wear fitting is offered during clinic hours Monday-Saturday and is a complimentary service. No appointment is required.

Some insurers will cover the cost of compression stockings if prescribed by a medical practitioner.  See below.  

If you’re not sure whether compression stockings will treat your foot issues, you can book an assessment with one of our chiropodists for treatment recommendations and to see if compression stockings are the right fit for you.

Conditions Treated

Compression stockings may be prescribed to help reduce symptoms and swelling associated with the following conditions:

  • Edema (buildup of fluid in the lower limbs and feet, which causes them to swell)
  • Pregnancy (the hormones produced during pregnancy affects the veins in the legs, which results in blood pooling in the feet and ankles)
  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Varicose Veins
  • Phlebitis
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Lymphedema
  • Arthritis: Compression stockings can sometimes help reduce swelling and inflammation caused by rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. 

The following people may also benefit from compression stockings:

  • Individuals with or at risk of circulation problems that can lead to blood and fluid pooling in the feet and lower limbs
  • Individuals who cannot be upright (orthostatic intolerance)
  • Individuals who are bed-ridden as the result of chronic illness or surgical recovery

Please note: compression stockings are not recommended for diabetes patients with arterial insufficiency.

Benefits

What Are The Benefits Of Compression Therapy?

Medical-grade compression stockings offer a higher performance and more benefits than the over-the-counter compression wear found at a drugstore. Medical-grade compression stockings also come in different strengths and sizes to ensure the right amount of pressure is applied to properly address your specific medical needs.

Compression stockings offer the following benefits:

  • Preventing and managing the effects of circulatory issues:  By increasing circulation to the legs, they reduce the risk of blood clots, can help treat varicose veins, and offset the effects of poor circulation from diabetes.  
  • Swelling and pain relief:  Swelling (medically referred to as “edema”) is caused by the build-up of fluid.  Compression stockings stimulate circulation, which reduces swelling and in turn, provides pain relief.  Improved blood flow to the muscles also reduces their susceptibility to injury and fatigue.  
  • Improved muscle and athletic performance: By improving blood flow to the legs, and in essence offsetting the harm caused by long periods of standing or sitting, the muscles receive the oxygenated blood supply they need to perform their tasks. This keeps them healthy and reduces strain and the proneness to injury.  

Who Can Benefit From Compression Stockings?

Compression stockings can benefit people of all ages and abilities. At every age, blood flow goes from head to toe: 100% of the blood in your body flows through your feet. Once there, the veins in the lower legs work against gravity to push the blood back to the heart. However, when your legs are stationary for an extended period of time (i.e.: during prolonged sitting or standing), or if you have circulation issues, the veins can’t push hard enough and blood begins to pool in the veins of your feet and lower legs instead of recirculating throughout your body.

Whether you’re on a long flight, or your occupation feels like one because you’re sitting at a desk or in a cubicle for hours on end, compression stockings can help combat fatigue, achiness, and swelling. The same goes for professions and pastimes that require long periods of standing on your feet. In essence, people in any occupation where you’re sitting or standing for prolonged periods can benefit from compression stockings (which covers a lot of people).

Insurance Coverage

Are Compression Stockings Covered By Insurance?

Compression stockings and socks are covered under many supplemental insurance plans. If you’re unsure about your benefits and compression wear coverage, check with your employer’s HR department, your insurance policy provider, or Feet First Clinic can get a policy breakdown on your behalf.

Do I Need A Prescription For Compression Stockings?

If you want to use your private foot care benefits to get compression stockings, all insurance providers require a prescription from a medical doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions

Are Compression Stockings Comfortable?

Absolutely! Compression wear comes in an assortment of styles and materials, including cotton, bamboo, and wool.

How Do I Know What Size Compression Stockings I Need?

Compression stockings must be the correct size in order to get optimal benefits. Feet First Clinic has certified fitters on staff who will determine your specific size based on measuring the circumference of your ankles, calves, thighs, and hips.

Compression stockings come in different MmHg (millimeters of mercury) and range from 15-20 MmHg, 20-30 MmHg, 30-40 MmHg which will be determined by a medical doctor.

Drop-in compression wear fitting is offered during clinic hours Monday-Saturday and is a complimentary service. No appointment is required, however, we recommend calling in advance to ensure that one of our fitters is available. 

What Styles Of Compression Stockings Are Available?

Compression stockings and socks come in a variety of durable and breathable styles, materials, colours, patterns, and opacities, suited for wear in professional, casual, and recreational settings.
Styles:
  • Pantyhose
  • Maternity
  • Thigh-high
  • Knee-high socks
  • Open-toe
Materials:
  • Supima cotton
  • Sea Island cotton
  • Microfibre
  • Merino wool
  • Natural rubber
Opacities:
  • Sheer
  • Mid-sheer
  • Opaque
Articles about Compression Stockings by Feet First Clinic

Book an appointment for compression stockings

You do not need a referral to become a patient at our foot clinic. Schedule an appointment by using the Appointment Request form below or contact the clinic at 416-769-FEET(3338).