Compression stockings can be an important part of the treatment of vein disease, both before and after your procedures. But, with all the options out there, it can be overwhelming to choose the one that is best. Here we will talk about the different types of stockings and which one may be best for you.
T.E.D Hose: These are the white stockings that are used in many hospitals after surgical procedures. These stockings typically have 8-18mm Hg compression. They are designed for use after surgery when you are lying down and do not work well for managing venous symptoms or for after vein treatments.
Medical Grade Compression stockings: Medical grade compression stockings come in several different forms and typically range from 15-20mm Hg to 40-50mm Hg. They come in different lengths from knee-high to thigh high and pantyhose.
Knee highs are best for conservative management of symptoms and for long term stocking use due to the ease of getting them on and on and their relative comfort for daily wear. For conservative management, I usually recommend 15-20mmHg or 20-30mmHg if tolerated well. As a bonus, knee highs come in lots of fun styles and patterns and are also available in a trouser sock form. Most knee highs are available in open toe and closed toe depending on patient preference.
Thigh-high stockings are commonly used after vein procedures and can be used for conservative management as well if the patient’s symptoms are above the knee. They are also available in a range of compression, but after treatment 20-30mm Hg is typically recommended. They can also be purchased in the open toe and closed toe form and have a silicone beaded band at the top to ensure that the stockings stay in place.
Pantyhose can also be used for after treatment if the patient prefers something that comes up to the waist. Pantyhose are available in all the levels of compression and in open toe or closed toe form. Maternity pantyhose are also available for pregnant patients.
Leggings are similar to pantyhose but they stop at the ankle and do not cover the foot. They are often available in different patterns and are designed to be worn in a similar way to fashion leggings. Because of the risk of foot swelling with higher compression grades, these stockings are usually only available in 15-20mm Hg or less compression. This makes them ideal after cosmetic spider vein treatment but not for post procedure use after endovenous ablation or phlebectomy.
Athletic compression socks and sleeves: These socks generally have thicker sole and forefoot cushion and are designed for use during and after athletic activity. Some studies have shown these types of compression socks to improve athletic performance and can be seen being worn by elite runners and athletes. They range in compression from 10-15 to 20-25mm Hg compression.