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HealthInfo Canterbury

Compression stockings

Compression stockings use strong elastic, which supports your legs. They also apply pressure to your legs, which increases the blood flow in your veins back up to your heart.

Compression stockings are either knee high or thigh length.

Compression stockings apply graduated pressure. This means that they apply the highest pressure at your ankles, and lower pressure higher up your legs.

There are three grades of compression stockings that apply different amounts of pressure. Your nurse or doctor will assess your circulation and tell you which grade of stockings you need for your condition.

Compression stockings need to be accurately fitted to your legs and checked to make sure they fit properly and are comfortable. To make sure they fit properly, your legs will be measured in several places.

What are compression stockings used for?

Compression stockings are used to:

Where can I get compression stockings?

Your general practice may be able to measure and fit you with compression stockings. Some pharmacies provide a measure and fit service. Call your local pharmacy to see if they provide this service. If your local pharmacy doesn't provide the service, your general practice should be able to tell you which pharmacy to go to.

You'll need to make an appointment for measuring and fitting. It's best to go first thing in the morning before your legs swell up. The appointment should take 20 to 30 minutes.

The person fitting your stockings will also show you how to put your stockings on, how to remove them, and how to wash and dry them. If you follow the manufacturer's instructions, your stockings should last for about four months.

You can buy a device to help you put your stockings on. See the video in the page listed below. You can buy a device like this at your local health and mobility shop.

What financial help is available?

If you meet the criteria for a disability allowance, you may be able to claim for the cost of your compression stockings. To find out about the disability allowance benefit, see Disability allowance for adults.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created July 2018.

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Review key: HIBLV-403653