Can Compression Stockings Cause Blood Cloths?

Compression stockings have many benefits. However if worn incorrectly, they can cause more problems than they solve. There is one question I hear often: can compression stockings cause blood cloths? In this article I will tell you exactly how to minimise the risks of pressure stockings for DVT.

If you want to know how do compression stockings prevent blood cloths, read this article to find out more.

Can Compression Stockings Cause Blood Cloths?

Wearing correct size compression stockings is of outmost importance. Poorly sized, and poorly fitting compression stockings can’t do their job. In extreme cases, they might even cause blood cloth formation. Se the question ,,Can compression stockings cause blood cloths?” must be taken seriously.

If the stockings are too tight, they cut into the skin. This can cause skin burn and rashes. These are only minor inconveniences, however poorly fitting compression socks may slow down blood flow. This achieves only the opposite effect than what compression stockings should cause in the first place. Too tight compression stockings increase the risk of blood cloth formation in the legs.

Too loose compression stockings roll over on the skin. This can cause open wounds and ulcers. This is no light issue, as improperly applied stockings can cause serious skin damage in a matter of hours. Thigh-high compression stockings are harder to fit, since they go over the knee joints. If they are not the correct size, they cause skin damage sooner. Also there might be more size issues than with knee-high stockings. For example people with wide calves and skinny thighs might find it difficult to choose the right compression stockings.

Too strong compression stockings might also cause health complications. As the compression garments apply pressure on the legs, they alter the hydrostatic pressure in the veins. This pressure determines what amount of materials can enter the blood. If the compression stocking is too strong, the hydrostatic pressure increases, and water leaves the veins. This increases coagulability, the risk of suffering from blood cloths goes up.

What Does the Science Say?

A study done in 2008 revealed that poor sizing and incorrect use prevents compression stockings from having a proper effect in preventing blood cloth formation. According to the study published in the American Journal of Nursing, graduated compression stockings were used incorrectly in 28% of patients, and the wrong size compression stockings were used in 26% of cases.

Elizabeth H. Winslow, the lead researcher of the study said:

“Problems with the use and sizing of graduated compression stockings are common throughout the country.”

Thigh-high compression stockings are used incorrectly more often. Overweight patients are more at risk of using poorly fitting compression stockings. This phenomena can be attributed to the difficulty of fitting thigh-high compression stockings properly. They are harder to put on than knee-high compression stockings. Also patients who don’t understand the purpose of wearing thigh-high stockings instead of knee-high models are less likely to take the time and effort needed to apply them properly. In such cases the compression stockings can’t be fully effective at preventing blood cloths.

Adverse Effects of Compression Stockings

Compression stockings applied poorly can have adverse effects. It is crucial to understand the difference between graduated compression s stockings and support hosiery. The former was developed to apply optimal pressure on the veins in order to promote blood flow and reducing the risk of deep vein thrombosis. Improper use might actually increase coagulability, which in turn leads to blood cloth formation.

It is also crucial to apply the right length hosiery. As a general rule of thumb, use the shortest model that still covers the problem area. So if you have calf cramps, knee-high stockings are enough. If you suffer from varicose veins in your thighs, thigh-high compression stockings are the model to choose.

As Debra Brosz, a coauthor of the 2008 study stated:

“Knee length stockings have many practical advantages over thigh length in that they lower the risk of problems and health care costs. The improper use and sizing of these stockings and the deficiencies in patient education are important health care issues.”

How to Make Sure Your Compression Stocking Don’t Cause Blood Cloth?

First of all, consult with a trained healthcare professional. Ask your doctor to help you with finding the right size and right strength graduated compression stockings to avoid blood cloths.

You must be trained by a professional in fitting and applying your compression stockings by a healthcare professional. Also go back from time to time to monitor the effects of wearing compression stockings. Then the medical professional has a chance to correct you, if you are not wearing the compression stockings correctly.

Consulting with a doctor will also reveal if you take any medications that increase the risk of blood cloth formation. For example birth control pills and other medications that increase the coagulability of your blood might forbid you from using compression stockings.

The pressure stockings for DVT has to be easy to put on. Otherwise you won’t have the necessary patience to smooth out all the rough edges and take your time to fit them perfectly. Compression stockings that are too difficult to put on may discourage physically challenged or elderly patients from using them.

Patients must be recommended a suitable compression stocking based on the condition they are fighting.

If you feel dizzy, or experience sustained leg pain, or swelling while wearing compression stockings, immediately contact your doctor. These might be early signs of a more serious problem.


If you ask: Can compression stockings cause blood cloths? The answer is yes. However if you ask: Can compression stockings cause blood cloths if fitted properly, and monitored by a trained professional? The answer is very different.


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