Swollen legs, feet that ache, restless legs, frequent leg cramps, and discomfort that seems unrelenting – if you’ve experienced these, you know the toll swelling in legs can take on your daily life. Whether due to pregnancy, prolonged sitting, standing, or an underlying condition, swelling can be more than just a nuisance; it can significantly impact your overall well-being.

In the pursuit of relief, many have turned to compression stockings, a simple yet powerful tool that has gained popularity for its potential to alleviate swelling and enhance circulation. But what makes these stockings more than just another garment? How do they work, and what’s the science behind their effectiveness?

What Causes Swelling of Feet?

Swelling of the feet, medically known as peripheral edema, can stem from various factors. Often, it arises due to fluid retention in the tissues. One primary cause is prolonged standing or sitting, which impedes the body’s natural circulation, leading to fluid pooling in the feet and ankles. Additionally, health conditions such as heart failure, kidney disease, liver problems, and venous insufficiency can contribute to edema as they interfere with the body’s fluid balance. Injuries, infections, certain medications, hormonal changes during pregnancy, and lifestyle factors like excessive salt intake can also trigger swelling in the feet. Identifying the underlying cause is crucial for appropriate management and treatment.

According to Medicine Plus (2022), Compression stockings are worn to enhance the circulation of blood within your leg veins. They work by gently applying pressure to your legs, aiding in the upward movement of blood. This action serves to deter leg swelling and, to a lesser degree, the formation of blood clots.

If you’re dealing with varicose veins, spider veins, or have recently undergone surgery, your healthcare provider might recommend the use of compression stockings.

These stockings prove beneficial in addressing various concerns such as:

  • Easing discomfort and heaviness in the legs
  • Reducing leg swelling
  • Lowering the risk of blood clots, especially following surgery or during periods of reduced activity
  • Mitigating complications associated with leg blood clots, like post-phlebitic syndrome characterized by leg pain and swelling

How Does Compression Stockings Help with Swelling?

Compression stockings are designed to improve circulation and reduce swelling in the legs. They work by applying graduated pressure to the legs, with the highest pressure at the ankle that gradually decreases as it moves up the leg. Here’s how they help with swelling:

  • Enhanced Blood Flow: The compression created by these stockings helps the veins in the legs by assisting the valves within the veins to move blood more effectively back to the heart. This improved circulation reduces the pooling of blood in the legs, which can contribute to swelling.
  • Reduced Fluid Build-Up: Swelling often occurs due to fluid accumulation in the tissues. Compression stockings exert pressure on the tissues, which helps prevent excess fluid from accumulating in the legs.
  • Support for Veins: These stockings provide support to the veins and surrounding tissues, which helps in preventing the walls of the veins from expanding. This support reduces the risk of blood pooling and swelling.
  • Decreased Discomfort: By improving circulation and reducing swelling, compression stockings can also alleviate discomfort and heaviness often associated with swollen legs.

They are commonly recommended for individuals who spend long hours sitting or standing, have certain medical conditions affecting circulation (like varicose veins or venous insufficiency), or are recovering from surgery. However, it’s essential to get the right size and compression level as prescribed by a healthcare professional for them to be effective and comfortable.

Who can prescribe compression stockings?

Medical doctors, foot care specialists (chiropodists/podiatrists), chiropractors, physiotherapists, and nurses may have the authority to prescribe compression stockings, depending on the regulations and scope of practice in their specific region or country. It’s common for many insurance plans to cover compression stockings, especially when they are prescribed by a healthcare professional to address specific medical conditions like venous insufficiency, varicose veins, or post-surgical care to prevent blood clots. However, coverage can vary based on the individual insurance plan and its specific terms and conditions.

Say no to suffering from swelling! Our solution? Compression stockings. Let comfort and relief be your everyday companions! These specialized garments can help alleviate swelling and provide the support needed for better mobility and comfort. Reach out to us 416-444-4800 or email us at reception@physiomobility.ca to discover how compression stockings can make a difference in your daily life!


Medicine Plus (2022). Compression stockings. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000597.htm





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The Physiomobility Team