Benefits of Compression Stockings for Lymphedema

Lymphedema is something you may have never heard of, unless you or a loved one suffers from it. While there is currently no cure, compression stockings can be an important part of a patient’s game plan for managing painful swelling.

Lymphedema is a condition of the lymphatic system that causes lymphatic fluid to be retained in the limbs because of problems in the channels that typically carry it back toward the heart and into the bloodstream. Symptoms can range from slight swelling and a feeling of “heaviness” in the lower limbs to extreme deformity – also known as Elephantiasis.

Ways to Help Manage Lymphedema

Lymphedema is typically addressed using a variety of approaches, including:

Compression: Compression stockings or socks are often recommended for lymphedema. Wearing compression socks helps relieve early-stage fluid retention before it worsens. Compression stockings can also aid in keeping patients active, which is a necessity, and keeping fluid from returning to affected limbs in more advanced cases.

Massage: Affected limbs can be massaged to encourage fluid to leave the area. This manual compression is performed by a therapist.

Surgery: In severe cases of lymphedema where the limbs are not only unable to be drained but have hardened, surgery is sometimes performed to reduce the amount of fibrous tissue in the affected area. This may or may not be effective in the long term.

Why Compression Stockings are Important for Lymphedema Patients

Compression stockings are an essential part of helping control lymphedema. These can include compression socks, compression stockings and compression sleeves.

At an early stage, lymphedema can spontaneously reverse if aided by compression garments. At minimum, medical-grade compression socks and stockings can help stop early stage lymphedema from progressing. Additionally, after having the limbs drained via decongestive therapy, wearing compression stockings every day helps prevent the fluid from returning.

2 Responses


April 22, 2013

Thank you for contacting us, Ayanda. Elephantitis is a severe type of lymphedema that is characterized by the thickening of the skin and underlying tissues, especially in the legs. Sometimes it is necessary to reduce the swelling through other means before you can wear compression. This is because there are times in which the swelling is too aggressive for the fabric to effectively contain the swelling. That being said, take these steps first to see whether or not compression is appropriate in your stage of development.

1) Find a lymphedema specialist in your area and make an appointment to see them. They will consult with you through the entire process and teach you all the necessary measures you will need to begin managing the swelling. If you do not know of any in your area, LegSmart can refer you to a few.

2) Begin whatever regimen your doctor recommends, and stay consistent with it. Sometimes this involves seeing a massage therapist regularly or wrapping your legs. This will be necessary for a few months before measuring and fitting for a compression stocking.

3) Get measured by a Certified Compression Fitter for a custom-made compression stocking. The doctor will recommend the level of compression, usually 30-40 mmHg, and we will recommend fabric options once we find out a little more about your symptoms and get you fitted.

If you have any questions, or need any resources throughout the process, please do not hesitate to contact us. LegSmart has worked with many lymphedema patients and all of our staff are trained and certified to measure and fit custom garments. You can e-mail us 24/7: and call us Monday through Friday 9:30AM – 5:00PM PST at: (425) 880-7893.

ayanda gumede
ayanda gumede

April 18, 2013

I’d like to order compressed stocckings for sympthoms of elephantiasis

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