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And should you be physically active while wearing the crompression socks?
There is benefit for any time your feet are down. That is all day unless you are elevating your feet.
David A. Engleman M.D.
There are a lot of variables in this answer. Firstly, why are you wearing the hose? For venous reasons including swelling, they can be worn all day. If you wear them for maintenance post treatment we usually recommend wearing them to work especially if standing or sitting for prolonged periods. The same applies to travellers whether flying or car. There are also low grade compression socks designed for runners and also for muscle recovery after vigorous exercise. If you get home in the evening and are relaxing with your legs up, remove the hose if you wish.
Support hose are best worn by most patients when their legs are lower than their hearts. This usually means form arising from bed to preparing for bed. It usually is best to have the socks off at least several hours per night.
Athletes have learned that support hose allow the calf muscles to recover faster after exercise. Many athletes now wear at least 20 mm Hg compression hose during exercise.
Stephen F. Daugherty, MD, FACS, RVT, RPhS
It depends on the reason for wearing the stockings...
Vein Health: If you otherwise are normal weight, active, have no symptoms, and walk 10,000 steps each day, there might not be much benefit for routine use of compression. On the other hand, if otherwise symptomatic, overweight, or a job that requires prolong sitting or standing, we recommend compression from the beginning of the day until the end. It is known that properly fitted and manufactured compression reduces symptoms of venous hypertension and the risk of blood clots, as such it simply makes sense to make compression part of your daily life.
Post Surgery: In our practice, compression is a part of any vein treatment we perform. We know that compression enhances cosmetic outcomes in patients receiving small vein sclerotherapy, and we know that compression reduces the incidence of blood clots. Despite the low incidence of blood clots after surgery, we recommend routine use of compression until we see patients back for a follow up visit 1-2 weeks later.
Venous Leg Ulcers (VLU): A 24hr/day commitment is required if you wish the ulcer to close. It is simply part of any VLU treatment protocol. If a stocking is uncomfortable or cumbersome, there are alternative options. Leg wraps that stay on for days to a week at a time may prove helpful and commonly employed in patients with leg ulcers. Another device and one that is well tolerated for those resistant to using stockings is the Circ-Aid device. This is a interlocking velcro device that may be dialed from 20-30 compression all the way to 40-50. This permits variations in limb size to be accounted for and frees up the ulcer patient who wants to shower without worry of the leg wrap.
Long Travel: It is just good sense to wear compression stockings on transoceanic flights. The risk of DVT is low, but real and the first DVT can kill you.
As I shared in the beginning, it depends. A general rule of thumb is you wear compression garments when it makes sense. When I instruct my patients to wear compression after procedures, I expect compliance only during the day time unless they are a VLU patient.
I hope this helped.
Idealy stockings should be wear all day and remove them to sleep, regardless if you are active or not.
Rodolfo D. Farhy, MD, FACC, FAHA
The need for wearing compression stockings, the amount of compression and the duration of wearing them are determined by many variables. There is no simple answer as each person has different underlying circumstances. Physical activity is important for venous insufficiency as it improves the venous calf pump. You certainly can wear compression stockings during physical activity.