Anna D. Garrett, PharmD, BCPS, CPP
Published Online: Monday, May 1, 2006

Graduated compression stockings have been shown to reduce the risk of developing post thrombotic syndrome after a deep venous thrombosis. The high degree of elasticity makes them difficult for some patients to put on, however, so proper fitting is required. These stockings are expensive and should be treated with care to extend their useful life, which is typically 3 to 6 months. Some insurance plans will cover a portion of the cost, so patients should be encouraged to check their health plan regarding reimbursement.

Here are some tips for patients to achieve the best results from these stockings:

  • Put compression stockings on when getting up in the morning. Elevate the feet above the level of the heart for several minutes prior to putting them on. Doing so will reduce the swelling in the legs and ankles as much as possible.
  • Wear gradient compression socks or stockings every day
  • Use rubber gloves to get a better grip on the fabric when putting them on
  • Wear the stockings for a few hours at a time, and increase the amount of time daily if unable to tolerate a full day initially
  • Apply cornstarch or grease-free talcum before putting on the stockings if the skin is moist
  • Keep the legs and feet warm to promote good circulation
  • Avoid wrinkles in the stockings
  • Do not cut or alter the stockings
  • Never fold or roll down the stockings
  • Remove the stockings if prolonged numbness or tingling occurs or if bluish discoloration develops

Dr. Garrett is a clinical pharmacist practitioner at Cornerstone Health Care in High Point, NC.

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