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A. Anyone's legs can feel better while wearing gradient compression stockings, especially those of us who spend too much time in sedentary sitting or standing positions. Gradient compression stockings are of most benefit to individuals with the following leg complaints:

* Tired, aching, heavy feeling legs
* Leg swelling
* Varicose veins
* Venous insufficiency
* Post-thrombotic syndrome
* Healed venous ulcer
* Active venous ulcer
* Lymphedema

It is recommended that you consult with your physician before wearing compression 20 mmHg and above. If you also have arterial circulation problems in your legs please consult with your physician before wearing any level of compression.

Gradient compression delivers a squeezing to the leg that is tightest at the ankle. The amount of squeezing or compression gradually decreases up the leg. Compression is expressed in mmHg (millimeters of mercury).

Compression therapy refers to the benefits gained from the use of specialized stockings or bandages in the management of chronic venous disease and lymphedema. Individuals suffering from chronic venous disease (often called insufficiency) present with leg complaints of fatigue, heaviness, and aching.

The most important effect is that compression increases the pressure in the tissue under the skin, thereby helping to reduce and prevent swelling. The compression of this subcutaneous tissue helps move excess fluid back into the capillaries of the blood vessels. Compression reduces the ability of the superficial veins in the leg to expand and overfill with blood. This in turn helps prevent blood in these veins from flowing backward causing congestion. Congestion in the leg accounts for the leg complaints, swelling, and skin changes common in persons with venous problems.

Yes, medical conditions in which compression is not recommended:

* Ischemia of the legs
* Uncontrolled congestive heart failure
* Untreated septic phlebitis of the leg
* Phlegmasia cerulea dolens

The wearing of compression should also be used with caution if person suffers of skin infections or weeping dermatoses or incompatibility to fabric of garment.

Please consult with your physician before wearing compression 20 mmHg and above.

Your physician may tell you that, "if they are not hard to put on, then they cannot be providing the compression needed." That is probably not the answer you wanted. Because gradient compression stockings provide the greatest compression at the ankle this requires the largest part of the foot - the circumference from the top of the foot around the heel - to pass through the smallest and tightest part of the stocking - the ankle. Newer knitting technologies, yarns, and finishes produce stockings that are easier to put on than the stockings of old.

A knee-length gradient compression stocking is generally recommended to prevent or manage signs and symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency or other causes of lower leg swelling and skin changes. When swelling or varicosities are present above the knee then a stockigs or tights may be a more effective choice.

Economy class syndrome is a term used to describe the medical condition deep vein thrombosis when it follows extended airplane travel.

It is best to measure earlier in the day before swelling builds in the legs. Measurements taken later in the day after swelling is present may result in choosing a stocking size that is too large.