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Compression hosiery for the treatment of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Patient information A-Z

Fitting compression stockings:

If you have been diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis or superficial thrombophlebitis, a compression stocking can help to reduce the incidence of long term pain and swelling in the leg. The thrombosis nurse has measured and fitted you with a compression stocking which is the correct size for you. We recommend you wear your compression stocking every day for as long as it continues to make your leg feel better. You have been provided with one pair of compression stockings. Each sock has a life-span of three months with normal use.

Guidelines for wearing compression hosiery:

Ideally you should put on your compression stocking first thing in the morning, immediately after getting up. It should be taken off at night.

  • Make sure the heel and toe of the stocking are in the correct position.
  • The stocking should be eased gradually up the limb so that the material is evenly distributed. You may find it helpful to use rubber gloves to put it on.
  • Ensure there are no creases since these may chafe the skin, causing fluid build-up below.
  • The top of the stocking should fit just below the knee. If it is too long just ease excess material evenly down the leg. Never roll down the top of the stocking as this can act like an elastic band, causing fluid build-up below.
  • The stocking should feel firm and supportive. It should not be painful or make the toes change colour.
  • Skin hygiene is important – wash feet frequently and keep skin moisturised at night.
  • Ensure the washing instructions on the leaflet in the box are followed.

After six months:

  • If you have no pain or swelling in the leg you may choose to stop wearing the stocking.
  • If you still have pain or swelling in the leg, we recommend you continue to wear a stocking. You should contact your GP to be measured for a new pair of stockings.
  • If you are unsure, please contact the Thrombosis Treatment Team for further advice.

The stocking should feel comfortable, firm and supportive.

If at any time the compression stocking feels too tight or uncomfortable you should take it off and contact the Thrombosis Treatment Team for advice: Telephone: 01223 217877 (24 hour answer phone).


  1. One versus two years of elastic compression stockings for prevention of post-thrombotic syndrome (OCTAVIA study): randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2016;353:i2691
  2. Kahn SR, Shapiro S, Wells PS, et al. SOX trial investigators. Compression stockings to prevent post-thrombotic syndrome: a randomised placebo-controlled trial. Lancet 2014;383:880-8
  3. Prandoni P & Khan SR (2009) Post thrombotic syndrome: prevalence, prognostication and need for progress. British Journal of Haematology 145;286-295
  4. Brandjes DP, Buller HR et al (1997) Randomised trial of effect of compression stockings in patients with symptomatic proximal-vein thrombosis. Lancet 349:759-762

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Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151