benefits of compression socks / stockings

What are compression socks / stockings?

Compression stockings are socks that provide therapeutic compression to promote circulation in the legs. The compression level is strongest at the ankle and decrease in compression as they go up the leg. This helps the blood return to the heart which in turn decreases venous pressure, prevents blood pooling and the deterioration of the vein walls.

Can compression socks / stockings help me?

Compression Stockings can be used to treat a variety of issues:

  • Swelling of the ankles and/or legs
  • Achy or heavy legs
  • Poor circulation
  • Varicose Veins
  • Preventing post-surgical life threatening blood clots from developing

Do I need different levels of compression?

There are three levels of compression

  1. 15-20 mmHG
    – Considered “off-the-shelf” and not covered by private insurance
    – Size determined by shoe size
  2. 20-30mmHG
    – Considered “medical grade” and IS covered by private insurance with a prescription
    – Measurements are taken in the morning to determine required size
    – Most frequently prescribed
  3. 30-40mmHG
    – Considered “medical grade” and IS covered by private insurance with a prescription
    – Measurements are taken in the morning to determine required size
    – Used for more severe swelling, varicose veins, or after a deep vein thrombosis episode

If you’re considering compression stockings, discuss your symptoms with your doctor who will determine what proper compression level is required.

Are compression socks / stockings hard to get on/use?

Answer: Not if you know how to do it properly!

  1. Put the stockings on first thing in the morning, as soon as you get up, before any swelling starts
  2. Ensure your legs and hands are  dry
  3. Avoid grasping the fabric with sharp fingernails and take off all jewelry before starting
  4. Turn the socks inside out to the heel, fit stocking over foot to the heel, roll the rest of the sock up the leg and smooth out the material using rubber gloves
  5. Avoid over-stretching the stockings and do not pull up the whole way by the top band

Do all compression socks / stockings look the same?

Answer: NO!


There are also MANY different colors/patterns to choose from and custom options (open toe or closed toe, silicone band to prevent slipping, etc)

How do compression socks / stockings help me when I travel?

Generally when you travel you are seated and your legs are inactive. When your legs are restricted with very little movement for a long period of time you are at risk of developing a blood clot. Compression stockings reduce the risk of symptom-less blood clots by preventing blood pooling and promoting circulation. The stockings apply a gentle pressure to help blood flow back to the heart which prevents the development of blood clots.

How do compression stockings help pregnant women?

Many women experience swollen, heavy legs during their pregnancies. One in two pregnant women will develop varicose veins as a result of the swelling. The moment a woman conceives, her body begins to change. Blood volume increases by approximately 1/5 and progesterone increases the elasticity of your vein walls. As a result blood has a tendency to pool and cause swelling. As the belly grows the veins are under more pressure and it becomes more difficult to pump the blood back to your heart. Compression stockings provide a gentle pressure to help blood flow back to the heart which in turn prevents swelling and the development of varicose veins.

How do I take care of my compression socks / stockings?

It’s actually very easy! No need to dry clean or iron. To prolong the life of your stockings wash them daily.

  1. You can hand wash them
    1. Then dry them between two towels
      1. Don’t wring them out!
    2. You can machine wash them on a delicate wash cycle
      1. Then machine dry them on a delicate wash cycle as well

Use a mild soap and avoid using fabric softener, optical brighteners or stain removers. If the stockings have a silicone top band wash it regularly with a damp cloth. Store your compression stockings in a dry place away from direct light.

Where can I buy compression socks / stockings?

At Arthritis & Injury Care Centre we provide Bauerfeind compression stockings. Bauerfeind is one of the leading manufacturers of medical devices in the world and we are proud to carry their products! Our fitters have the necessary training, knowledge and skills to get you into the right pair of compression stockings. Contact us today for your free consultation. We offer compression soticking sin Halifax, Clayton Park, Dartmouth, Moncton, Fredericton, & Saint John

Written By:
Leah Bryden, BScKin, RMT
Orthopaedic Brace Fitter & Clinic Coordinator
Fredericton, NB

Our Locations:

Downtown Halifax

Park Lane Mall
1554 Dresden Row, Suite 3070
Halifax, NS B3J 2K2 Canada
Tel: (902) 442-5199
Toll Free: (888) 422-1608
Fax: (902) 442-5625

Clayton Park

Clayton Park Shopping Centre
278 Lacewood Drive
Halifax, NS B3M 3N8 Canada
Tel: (902) 404-8419
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Fax: (902) 442-5625


Millstone Square at Russell Lake
250 Baker Drive, Suite 223 (Entrance C)
Dartmouth, NS B2W 6L4 Canada
Tel: (902) 404-8352
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Fax: (902) 404-8351


Equilibrum Maritime
3 Champlain Street, Unit 3
Dieppe, NS E1A 1N4 Canada
Tel: (506) 389-2552
Fax: (506) 389-2332


1113 Regent Street, Suite 300
Fredericton, NB E3B 3Z2 Canada
Tel: (506) 474-0340
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Fax: (866) 262-1381

Saint John

555 Somerset Street, Suite 206
Saint John, NB E2K 4X2 Canada
Tel: (506) 632-2592
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Fax: (506) 632-9213

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