Dermatologist Questions Varicose Veins

Compression knee highs

Do compression knee high socks really help with varicose veins or do I have to wear the tights? They are so hard to get on.

17 Answers

Rarely do people need to wear the pantyhose style of compression hose. Almost always only the the knee-high stockings are required.
Yes, they help. That's why we prescribe them.
Knee high compression socks are usually adequate to keep the varicose veins under control. Very rarely thigh high compression is needed.
They help. Yes, they are a pain to get on, I know. Compression stockings prevent luminal engorgement of the veins and thus help prevent the symptoms (pain and itching).
It depends on where the varicose veins are and what veins are insufficient. It is also important to ensure they fit properly. But in general, yes, they do help control the symptoms of varicose veins and prevent them from getting worse and prevent clots from forming - they do not make the varicose veins go away, though.
I am a firm believer that tights with sufficient compression is superior to knee high stockings
Knee high stockings are often adequate.

Scott Kujath, MD, FACS
Compression does help stop the formation or enlargement of varicose veins. How high you go depends on what vessels are affected
Knee high compression stockings help to reduce the pressure within the veins of the lower legs. The pressure is highest in the lower legs due to gravity. Compression from the foot to the upper thigh is ideal but not practical. For daily use, knee high compression is recommended. If you have varicose veins in the upper legs, thigh high or full length compression is appropriate. Compression stockings reduce the pressure within the veins which reduces pain, swelling and varicose veins. If you have any of these symptoms, an ultrasound of the legs is recommended.
Go get help from Occupational Therapist to help get tight socks on. Special gadget is available.
Painful varicose veins can be treated with compression. Compression helps with pain and tiredness sensations, but it does not necessarily treat the veins. Insurance companies typically require compression treatment for 6 months prior to authorizing surgical treatment.
Compression socks are the main treatment for varicose veins. Degree of compression depends on severity of swelling and complications from varicose veins. Light compression socks are usually effective for mild to even moderate disease. In fact, I wear them also to prevent varicose veins as I am on my feet for so many hours of the day.
Knee-high vs thigh-high stockings? Excellent question!

Patients find knee-highs easier to put on in the morning and easier to wear during the day. Therefore, I order both types since some compression is better than NONE.

A careful Duplex Ultrasound examination of the veins in the legs would indicate which stocking type is ideal.
Compression stockings have different millimeters of mercury and need to be adjusted by a specialist where you buy them. Sometimes, a lower compression is better than nothing.
Your legs will likely feel better if you wear either knee high or thigh support, the compression helps with symptoms. They don't treat your veins.
Compression stockings are for patients that have venous stasis, where you have abnormal blood flow, so wearing those stockings causes the blood flow to go back up to the upper part of your body, as if you look at your legs, you should see a discoloration right below the knees - a bluish red color and patients complain of swelling of legs. Usually after workup, yes you get stockings.
As far as varicose veins, those are from standing all day and doesn't have anything to do with wearing the stockings, venous stasis is where you can see the discoloration in a patient's leg usually below the knee, it's a bluish red color and they complain they have swellings of the legs- yes, you must wear them, you need to push the blood back up and you need workup up, but they do not have to do with the varicose veins, that's either inheritance or job-related. And yes, I know they are hard to get on, I'm sorry, elevate legs at night too that will help, but please make sure you see why you were placed on them as varicose veins isn't the proper reason, venous stasis is.
Knee high compression reduces the venous pressure and therefore, slows worsening of varicose veins. If you do not see any spider veins or bulging varicose veins above the knees, then knee high are all you need. Ultrasound would be needed to assess deeper veins above the knees to determine if you truly need thigh or waist high compression. You can also use lighter compression stockings and layer them (one on top of the other), if the stronger ones are hard to get on.