Compression Stockings

I'm wondering about wearing compression stockings for my EM....I've never worn these before and finding quite a range of stockings/products in the market place (eg., knee-hi, calf sleeve, full stocking open toe/closed toe, etc.) and quite a range of compression strength (from "light" - 15-20 mmHg to "strong" - 40-50 mmHg). I've noted a couple of posts mention these (eg., dkel9307 on May 23/14) as helpful but provide no details about the kind and/or compression strength.

Before considering wearing these, I've been advised to have an Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) measurement of blood flow in my leg arteries to get a reading as compression stockings would cause contraindications if I had arterial insufficiency.....Has anyone wearing compression stockings gone for an ABI first? I'll be flying to Europe from Canada in September and was hoping these stockings might help with leg circulation on long flights... Hope someone can enlighten me and provide direction on wearing these or not! Thanks.

I am sorry I can’t advise re the ABI but I will be asking my doctor about it before I fly again. I have flown 8 times from UK to Australia and always worn flight socks. Up to the knee and toes enclosed. The last time I flew was the first time since I developed EM and I was dreading it but my legs and feet felt no worse than normal - normal being bare feet. So much so that in the winter when my symptoms are fifty times worse I would wear my compression socks on really cold outings. Recently though I have been wearing an all the way up hospital compression stocking following a fracture and found that most comfortable was to cut off the toe so as to give my toes a chance to cool down. To sum up I find compression stockings reduce flares and are best without toes. Sorry this doesn’t answer your question about ABI or even which length of sock to go for. Perhaps Someone else has more experience.

Hi there, I adopted them every day for two reasons. Constricting affect and thickness. I use surgical stockings/socks prescribed by my doctor in the UK usually used for diabetes patients. They are custom measured and made to fit my legs and feet.

I also use 1000 mile running socks as they have similar properties.

Hope that helps!

Hi Michelle,

I tried Jobst 30-40 mmgh. I didn't get on so well with them in the end, so I haven't been using them lately.

Hello all,

I haven't posted very often and will do so again given the immediate response and assistance!!! Meanwhile, I'll try a light compression knee-hi closed toe product and see how it goes. I'll also talk to my GP about value of having the ABI and keep you posted about the direction I'm taking and outcomes. Thanks again. Take care.


Fantastic response dkel. I’m going to save it for reference for next time I head in your direction.

Hello Michelle,

I haven't had an ABI done, but did undergo testing which resulted in a diagnosis of chronic venous insufficiency complicated with lymphedema. Consequently I have to wear 20-30 compression stockings daily (I started out with 30-40, but with EM that compression became impossible to wear), so I use fans on my legs all the time, as well as Chillows when I can have my legs elevated. Just as Dkel advised, airflow to your legs is critical! Compression stockings do hold heat (not good for EM), therefore figure out whatever you might be able to do to use say a small battery operated fan or two to aim at your legs!

Very important: just be prepared for the discomfort that may accompany removing them later on. Lie down, keep your feet & legs elevated with a fan blowing on them for perhaps 20-30 minutes. You'll be able to figure it out what you need to do for yourself quickly enough.

I have found laying my legs on a Chillow during this time to be indispensable, too. A chilled Chillow (one kept refrigerated) will cool the fiery blood flow to the feet. I always place some cloth between my legs and the Chillow, too. Something cotton (not a towel - holds too much heat) topped by something thin and silky smooth. As the coolness is used up I dispense with the cotton layer and just use the silky material until the Chillow is no longer cool.

By the way, if you aren't going to be in A/C for an extended period of time, I would recommend removing the stockings. There's no point in courting a flare when you don't really have to wear them!

Hope you have a great trip! :-)


My doctor who knows about EM suggested that I could wear them because my night times are better than the day so he said that to make day into night I could wear JOBST OPEN TOE compression knee highs. I have the closed toe ones which my neurologist had suggested. I didn't buy the open toes ones yet - my doctor wears them himself because he is on his feet all day.

This is definitely something to consider and talk with you doctor about.


I would talk to your doctor about them for your flights. I have had a dvt in my leg and had to wear them for a few years. I no longer wear them because it makes my EM worse but it is worth the extra discomfort to avoid a blood clot on your long flights especially because having EM means you have some sort of vascular issue to begin with.Bood clots can be deadly and they are nothing to mess around with. My doctor said it is important if you have a medical need for them that they be prescribed. I you have a medical need and just pick one off the shelf it cold do more harm than good. I hope you have a good trip!

I also use Jobst 30-40 mmHg compression stockings. The women's ones come in a fabric called ultrasheer which is very cool and thin. Unfortunately, I don't think the men's ones come in ultrasheer yet. Men could see if it might fit them in a size XL.

I use compression stocks, and when I don't have them, the pain is worse.

I often wear compression socks or something called compression sleeves, which go from ankle to knee, bought them on Amazon. Some brands of compression sleeves come in fun colors in addition to white or black. At times my feet are hypersensitive and having something tight around them drives me crazy, which is when the compression sleeves work better, along with a pair of looser fitting socks.

If I lived in a hotter climate I would wear just the compression sleeves with sandals, in spite of looking ridiculous with my skinny spider legs. With age and EM I find I care more about my comfort and less about how I look to others.

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