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Varicose veins

Compression stockings as treatment for varicose veins


What does the treatment with compression stockings involve?

Not strictly a medical “procedure”, compression stockings (or support stockings) are the initial treatment of choice for mild to moderate cases of varicose veins through the NHS. If after 6 months there is no improvement, your doctor might refer you to a surgeon if she believes that other treatment could be necessary.

Compression stockings relieve swelling and aching and they help blood flow back up to the heart by steadily putting pressure on your veins. To do this, they fit tightest around the ankles and looser higher up the leg.

They also reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis which makes them very useful to wear on flights or long journeys.

To get the most out of the compression stockings, you should wear them as soon as you get up in the morning and take them off before going to bed.

There are different types of compression stocking available (e.g. class 1, class 2, etc.). Your GP or pharmacist will help you decide which one is most appropriate.

How long is the recovery period?

There is no recovery period but side effects from wearing compression stockings can include dry and flaky skin. If this occurs, apply lots of moisturizer when you take them off at night.

Who can have this done?

Anyone can buy compression stockings even without a prescription. They are particularly recommended for people with mild or moderate varicose veins who are unable to get treatment on the NHS or for people who are waiting to get other treatment.

How much does it cost?

Compression stockings are available on prescription on the NHS. Compression tights are not, however. Bought directly from pharmacies or manufacturers, a pair of compression stockings or tights costs around £20 upwards.


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