Compression stockings or socks treat symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a type of blood clot.

DVTs tend to form in your upper or lower leg. They can interfere with the way blood normally flows up from the legs to the heart. These blood flow issues can cause blood to pool in your legs.

Many people who have DVT end up with problems called "post-thrombotic syndrome." This is the technical name for the pain, swelling, discomfort, and other symptoms that DVTs cause.

Compression stockings can ease these problems. There's also evidence that they can help prevent DVT-related symptoms before they begin.

How Compression Stockings Work?

Compression stockings are specially designed socks or sleeves. They squeeze (compress) your leg in a way that improves blood flow.

These stockings tend to apply the most pressure at your ankles. The pressure gets lighter farther up your leg, which forces blood upward.

This therapeutic squeezing can ease swelling, blood buildup, and discomfort. It can also help prevent feelings of lightheadedness when you stand up. And it can make it easier for you to move around.

But when it comes to easing pain, the evidence on compression stockings is mixed. Some studies have found that compression stockings don't reduce pain any better than a placebo.

How to Use Your Compression Stockings

You put a compression stocking only on the leg that has had a DVT or symptoms. Typically, you only wear it during the daytime, although your doctor may suggest that you also wear it at night.

It's a good idea to put on your compression stocking first thing in the morning. That's when your leg is usually least swollen. Wear your stockings every day, or exactly as your doctor advises.

Make sure you smooth the compression stocking as you pull it on, so that there are no bunches or kinks. Also, check that the seams of the stocking run straight up your legs.

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