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The Best Compression Socks You Can Get For Varicose Veins & Swelling

By Mike Erichsen January 05, 2023

Compression stockings are a type of specialized hosiery that apply pressure to the legs to improve circulation and reduce the symptoms of various conditions such as varicose veins and swelling.

Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins that can be painful and unsightly. They occur when the valves in the veins that normally help to keep blood flowing toward the heart become damaged or weakened, causing blood to pool in the veins. This can lead to swelling and discomfort in the legs.

Varicose veins are caused by weakened valves that cause blood to leak back into the veins instead of flowing toward your heart. When the blood doesn’t flow, it begins to collect in the veins and causes them to enlarge and stretch. This then becomes visible as the blood is pushed superficially, to the vessels just below the skin. 

Compression stockings work by applying gentle pressure to the legs, which helps to improve circulation and reduce swelling. They are available in different levels of compression, ranging from light to extra-firm, and are designed to fit snugly around the legs to provide maximum benefit.

How does a compression sock help with varicose veins? 

Medical-grade, graduated compression socks are designed with more compression at the lowest point, in the ankle. The compression gradually decreases up the leg as it gets closer to the heart. This type of compression is designed to counter gravity's natural force on your body, squeezing tighter at the lowest point, where gravity's force is strongest. By supporting your blood vessels and deeper veins, compression stockings help blood move more freely back to the heart. This takes the pressure off of the vein walls, thus helping prevent any further damage and stretching of the veins. 

Compression stockings are a preventative therapy and are recommended to be worn every day. They are not recommended to be worn at night. If you need compression 24/7, you can use an inelastic wrap like the circaid juxtalite, juxtalite HD, or juxtafit compression wrap for lymphedema.

What compression level is best for my condition?

IMPORTANT: * You should consult with your doctor before buying and wearing compression stockings, especially if you have a heart condition. * 

Compression stockings are measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), which refers to the amount of pressure the stocking applies to your leg. Think of it like PSI (pounds per square inch) but down the millimeter, so it's more precise. This is the same pressure rating used for measuring blood pressure when you go to the doctor. The higher the mmHg number, the more pressure the stocking applies, beginning at the lowest point; the ankle.

Let's look at the various mmHg compression levels used to make compression stockings, and the typical classification of conditions for each:

  • Light compression (also called mild compression): 8-15 mmHg. This level is suitable for people with tired, aching legs and spider veins. Typically this compression level doesn't last longer than a few months, so you might want to consider wearing at least 15-20 mmHG (with your doctor's recommendation).
  • Moderate compression: 15-20 mmHg. This level is suitable for people with mild varicose veins, mild edema, traveling, sports performance, or for someone that is looking for support while standing or sitting for long periods of time.
  • Firm compression: 20-30 mmHg. This is the most commonly used compression level. This level is suitable for people with mild to moderate varicose veins, edema, or who have had a DVT or want to prevent a blood clot during travel. This is also a common level used by athletes to improve performance and recovery from long runs or endurance competitions.
  • Extra-firm compression: 30-40 mmHg. This level is suitable for people with more severe conditions such as varicose veins, edema, venous ulcers, or who have had a DVT.  You should always get an Rx from your doctor or clinical specialist before wearing anything over 20-30 mmHg. 
  • Maximum compression: 40-50 mmHg. This compression level is typically used for conditions such as Lymphedema or severe chronic venous disease. You should always get an Rx from your doctor or clinical specialist before wearing anything over 20-30 mmHg. We do not offer this compression level in our store, but can special order it with a doctor's Rx (please note: we do not bill insurance).

It's important to consult with a healthcare professional before wearing compression stockings, as the appropriate level of compression will depend on your individual needs and medical history. They can help you determine the appropriate level of compression and recommend the best type of stocking for you.

What are the best compression socks and how do I know they will fit me properly?

There are many brands of compression stockings sold around the world, many are very low quality, and built with incorrect compression and/or sizing. Unfortunately, in the USA and some other countries, compression stockings and compression levels aren't regulated by the FDA. They rely on each manufacturer to do their own due diligence and testing. When we learned this we were surprised. Especially because compression can do more harm than good if it's not actually graduated compression or sized properly.

Meaning, if the stocking is tighter at the top of the stocking instead of at the ankle, the compression is counterproductive and can even hurt you. Compression MUST be strongest at the lowest point (the ankle), and gradually decrease in pressure as it goes up the leg. This helps to fight gravity's natural force on the body adding upwards of 90 mmHg of pressure to our venous system. If compression isn't tightest at the lowest point it could restrict blood flow and do more harm than good. That is why we only carry products that are either a) made in the USA and guaranteed accurate compression, or b) made by leading manufacturers with 50+ years of experience making medical compression therapy (i.e. medi / mediven, circaid, CEP Compression

Why sizing is so important when it comes to compression stockings.

When you buy a pair of shoes, for example, your size is based on the length and width of your foot. That is why shoes come in 1/2 sizes and start from tiny feet to large feet. The same concept is true when it comes to finding your size compression stocking. You want to make sure the sizing chart of the product takes into account your ankle circumference, calf circumference, and thigh circumference if you're wearing thigh-high or pantyhose. The length is also important to ensure the stockings aren't too short or too long.

Length is important, but circumference is really the key. Look at this mediven compression stocking sizing chart Notice how mediven has seven sizes, with ankle circumference ranges of 3/4" (1" range on size VI (6) and VII (7)). This means the stocking will basically fit like a custom, giving you accurate compression and proper therapeutic benefits.

Benefits of having proper sizing with compression stockings | mediven

What are the highest-quality compression socks?

We have tried many different brands of compression socks. A lot of them will work great for most people, but we have found the following products to be the best, depending on your needs and personal style:

Softest and most durable compression stockings - mediven comfort

Sheer Stockings - fashionable look for women - mediven sheer & soft

Casual and stylish dress socks for men - mediven For Men Select & Classic 

What are the best-value compression socks for varicose veins?

Duomed Advantage Compression Socks for Men and Women

duomed advantage compression socks for men and women provide opaque coverage and support to treat the symptoms of vein disease. With a soft, luxurious feel, duomed advantage will keep you feeling comfortable and rejuvenated all day long. duomed advantage calf products are available in closed or open toe options); in 15-20 mmHg, 20-30mmHg, and 30-40 mmHg compression levels); extra-wide calf variants); and in beige, almond, or black colors.

 Rejuva Sheer Dot Compression Socks

Rejuva Sheer Dot compression socks are a stylish option that will fit right into your wardrobe. They’re made of a comfortable and breathable blend of nylon and spandex. They offer a graduated compression so they’ll feel tightest at the ankle and loosen up towards your calf to promote proper blood flow. 

These compression socks provide a moderate compression of 20-30 mmHg, well-suited for moderate cases of varicose veins. They feature a reciprocated heel and toe design with a contoured fit for easy wearing and removal. 

They come in two simple colors that go well with most office wear. Their largest size is an XL.


Compression socks can be beneficial can helping reduce varicose vein pain by improving blood flow. However, it is important to pick the right fabric, compression level, and size to get optimal results. Be sure to choose a product that has a sizing chart based on the circumference of the leg to get a proper fit, and guaranteed accurate compression.

For reference, you can use this helpful guide from medi USA, one of the world's leading manufacturers of compression stockings. They are by far our favorite compression stocking company, across the board!

medi Compression Stocking Guide to Determine Compression Level

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