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What Is Compression Therapy?

illustration of a leg

How Does Graduated Compression Therapy Help With Venous Insufficiency?

As a person walks, the calf muscles around the veins work to move blood toward the heart. In the presence of leg health problems, a person may need the external graduated compression of SIGVARIS socks and stockings to help this process work more efficiently. Our products act as a layer of muscle by gently squeezing the stretched vein walls together, allowing the valves to close. The cavity of the vein is reduced, thereby restoring blood flow to a normal state and aiding overall circulation.

To be most effective, the socks or stockings should be put on at the start of your day and removed before you go to bed. Some people have an inherited weakness of the vein walls or valves, which creates additional challenges to venous return. Wearing SIGVARIS graduated compression socks or stockings is vital for the prevention and treatment of varicose veins and other circulatory problems.

a portrait of a leg with socks

Anti-Embolism vs. Medical Compression Stockings

The biggest difference between Anti-Embolism Stockings and Medical Compression Stockings is the compression level and the medical reason for which it is worn. Anti-Embolism Stockings are usually 8–18mmHg, while medical compression stockings are medically measured 15–20mmHg or higher. In addition, the purpose of anti-embolism stockings is to maintain normal venous return in a bedridden patient.

SIGVARIS MEDICAL Compression Hosiery and Socks are used to treat venous and lymphatic disorders in ambulatory patients. Graduated compression stockings are used for all stages of Chronic Venous Insufficiency, including varicose veins, edema, stasis skin changes, and venous procedures. They may also be used in preventing and treating Post-Thrombotic Syndrome. According to medical research, ambulatory patients with Chronic Venous Disorders require more compression than is available in anti-embolism stockings.

A Simple Rule of Thumb

  • If the patient is lying on bed = anti-embolism stockings
  • If the patient is ambulatory = medical graduated compression stockings

Why Choose SIGVARIS Products?

Why SIGVARIS?

SIGVARIS has an assortment of products designed to fit your lifestyle. These products can help improve your circulation, increase your energy, and aid in keeping your legs healthy. SIGVARIS MEDICAL products are best suited for those with chronic venous disorders, edema, stasis, and skin changes, as well as those who have had or will be having a vein procedure. Your physician, pharmacist, or SIGVARIS Certified Fitter can help you determine which SIGVARIS product is right for you.

SIGVARIS has been manufacturing quality compression products that set our company apart from others in the industry. Our brand was founded more than 50 years ago with the expert knowledge of a physician. As the global leader in graduated compression, we understand that people want medically sound products that deliver fashion quality and comfort. At SIGVARIS, we are on a mission to improve leg health, and we believe it starts with offering the highest quality compression products.

Seven Reasons to Choose SIGVARIS

  1. Controlled efficacy compression stockings – Scientific studies show the efficacy of our products.
  2. Fitted compression: all legs are different; measurements are taken for the best product fit to ensure the best efficacy and comfort.
  3. Expertise recognized by health professionals and patients.
  4. Innovations that make compression therapy progress (UlcerX double stocking system, Sensinnov grip band for stockings).
  5. Textile intelligence has a unique sizing system to cover most of the population.
  6. A wide choice of models, textures, and colors to bring a solution for everyone.
  7. Our global commitment is to raise awareness, educate, and act to improve the treatment of venous insufficiency.

6 Tips for Healthy Legs

3 legs illustrate
  1. Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time.
  2. Our circulation improves with physical activity, so GET UP! Take a short walk, climb stairs, or make an effort to move around the office and at home. Prolonged sitting or standing may increase leg pain and swelling.
  3. Avoid extended exposure to heat from sunbathing, hot baths, or the sauna.
  4. Excessive heat will cause your veins to dilate and may induce swelling. After a long, tiring day, especially during the summer, revitalize your legs with a cool shower or bath.
  5. Elevate your legs.
  6. To boost your body’s natural circulation, elevate your legs while you are sitting on the sofa or lying in bed at home. At the office, keep a legrest under your desk.
  7. Work out.
  8. Regular exercise helps keep your body healthy. Some sports are better for improving circulation, such as swimming, walking, biking, and yoga.
  9. Manage your weight.
  10. When you manage your weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise, you are more likely to have fewer leg symptoms and/or less swelling.
  11. Wear graduated compression socks and stockings.
  12. SIGVARIS quality compression socks and stockings improve venous circulation to prevent and treat venous problems.


SIGVARIS has an assortment of products designed to fit your lifestyle. These products can help improve your circulation, increase your energy, and aid in keeping your legs healthy. Your physician, pharmacist, or SIGVARIS Certified Fitter can help you determine which SIGVARIS product is right for you. SIGVARIS guarantees the compression level in our products for 6 months.

People who benefit from graduated compression include those who:

  • Stand or sit for long periods of time daily
  • Have been prescribed anticoagulants
  • Travel
  • Are pregnant
  • Have had a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
  • Experience swelling in their legs and feet
  • Have varicose and/or spider veins

A Guide to Healthier Legs

a man and a woman in a picture

Are You at Risk?

Leg problems are widespread throughout the world. According to the American College of Phlebology, more than 80 million Americans suffer from some form of venous disorder. If you have tired, aching, swollen legs, or if you see the beginning of varicose veins, this brochure will help you learn how to improve the health of your venous circulation. Venous circulation problems can progressively worsen over time and can affect your health and quality of life.

Risk Factors for Venous Disorders
  • Heredity
  • Age over 40
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Prolonged sitting or standing
  • Long distance travel
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Surgery or trauma
  • Infectious disease
  • Use of hormone medication
Symptoms of Venous Disorders
  • Heavy, tired, or aching legs
  • Initial signs of varicose veins
  • A feeling of tension, cramps, or fatigue in your legs
  • Swollen ankles/feet
  • Spider veins
  • Skin discoloration or problems
  • Leg ulcers
a group of people smilling

Do you ever experience aching or pain in your legs?

For those of us who work in jobs where we have to stand for a living (healthcare workers, service men & women, teachers, factory workers, retail sales representatives, etc.), we know firsthand how tired our legs can become after a long day on the job.

a doctor with her patient

In fact, leg problems affect approximately one out of every five working men and women and cost US corporations more than 2 million lost workdays a year. It’s not just people who stand for a living; many factors can contribute to leg pain and discomfort. Understanding your symptoms and risks can help you determine if you are at risk for developing a venous disorder and what you can do to help prevent it.

Did You Know? According to The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, medical compression socks have been proven more effective at reducing aches and pain in the legs than industrial rubber floor mats.

Let’s Review the Circulatory System

The body has a number of ways to help blood return to the heart. Just as the arterial system uses the power of the heart to drive fresh blood into the tissues, the calf muscle acts as a ‘second heart’ by contracting and relaxing as a person walks, propelling blood upward.

One-way valves in the superficial and deep veins help blood flow back to the lungs and heart. The deep venous structure handles the vast majority of the venous blood volume and is the high-pressure system of the venous circulation in the legs. The remaining blood volume is handled by the superficial system. When calf muscles relax, the valves close to prevent blood from flowing backward into the lower part of the vein. These valves are fragile and can be easily damaged.

Other ‘pumps’ help push blood toward the heart, such as the ankle, the foot, and the diaphragm.

Valves Close to Promote Upward Blood Flow
flowcart of blood flow

What Are Venous Disorders?

Venous insufficiency is caused by a series of disorders in the vein, including when the valves of the veins fail to function properly. This interferes with venous return and causes blood to pool in the veins.

Venous insufficiency can become more chronic and lead to spider veins, varicose veins, phlebitis, blood clots, and changes in the skin. The most serious disorder is a venous leg ulcer.

flowcart of blood flow
The vein on the left shows a normal vein. The vein on the right shows a varicose vein, which is often caused by the pooling of blood in a damaged vein. Varicose veins can be painful.

Chronic Venous Disorders (CVD) is a collective term used to describe a long-standing condition involving impaired venous return in varying degrees of severity.

Symptoms of CVD include:

  • Edema (swelling)
  • A feeling of heaviness in the legs
  • Pain or cramps in the calves
  • Skin discolorations
  • Dermatitis (skin problems)
  • Dry or weeping eczema
  • Venous leg ulcer
  • Visible Veins

Deep Vein Thrombosis

DVT [deep vein thrombosis] is a blood clot that usually forms in the deep veins of the lower leg or calf, which can block the flow of blood. A DVT may cause leg pain or swelling but can also present with no symptoms.

Another complication from a DVT is the condition known as pulmonary embolism (PE), which is when the clot breaks loose and travels through the vessel to the arteries located in the lungs, which is a potentially fatal condition if it significantly blocks blood flow through the lungs.

Generally, a DVT is caused by a combination of two out of three underlying conditions:

  1. Slow or sluggish blood flow through a vein
  2. A tendency for a person’s blood to clot quickly, a condition that sometimes runs in families
  3. Irritation or inflammation of the lining surface of the vein
The symptoms of a DVT can go unrecognized.
an illustration of symptoms that unrecognized
Symptoms of a DVT include:
  • Pain and tenderness in one leg
  • Swelling in one leg
  • Increased warmth and redness in one leg
  • Visible surface veins

Complications of DVT

About one-third of patients with DVT develop a long-term complication known as post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS). This condition can manifest as chronic pain, swelling, and discoloration of the leg, as well as the development of open ulcers caused by the damage done by the clot to valves in the veins. The likelihood of another clot forming is high once you have had a DVT. The effects of PTS are long-lasting and can lessen one’s quality of life.

You can prevent DVTs by:

  • Exercising regularly, including stretching and leg movement when traveling
  • Smoking cessation
  • Maintaining a normal body weight
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Wearing compression stockings or socks reduces the risk of DVT or complications by 50%
Did You Know?
  • 74% of adults have little to no awareness of DVT
  • More people die each year in the US from DVT complications than motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer, and AIDS combined.
  • A pregnant woman is 5-6 times more likely to develop DVT than a non-pregnant woman.
  • 40% of DVT patients will develop more blood clots within 1-2 years
  • Wearing compression stockings or socks reduces the risk of DVT or complications by 50%

How Graduated Compression Works

As a person walks, the contraction and relaxation of the calf muscles around the veins aid in moving blood toward the heart. The external graduated compression of SIGVARIS socks and stockings acts as a layer of muscle by gently squeezing the stretched vein walls together, allowing the valves to close. The cavity of the vein is reduced, thereby restoring blood flow to a normal state and aiding overall circulation. To be most effective, the socks or stockings should be put on at the start of your day and removed before you go to bed.

Some people have an inherited weakness of the vein walls or valves, which creates additional challenges to venous return. Wearing SIGVARIS graduated compression socks or stockings is vital for the prevention and treatment of varicose veins and other circulatory problems.

an illustration of a leg

Compression is greatest at the ankle, gradually decreasing up the leg.

Anti-Embolism vs. How Graduated Compression Works Medical Compression Stockings

The biggest difference between Anti-Embolism Stockings and Medical Compression Stockings is the compression level and the medical reason for which it is worn. Anti-Embolism Stockings are usually 8–18mmHg, while medical compression stockings are medically measured 15–20mmHg or higher. In addition, the purpose of anti-embolism stockings is to maintain normal venous return in a bedridden patient.

SIGVARIS MEDICAL Compression Hosiery and Socks are used to treat venous and lymphatic disorders in ambulatory patients. Medical compression stockings are used for all stages of Chronic Venous Insufficiency, including varicose veins, edema, stasis skin changes, and venous procedures. They may also be used in preventing and treating Post-Thrombotic Syndrome. According to medical research, ambulatory patients with Chronic Venous Disorders require more compression than is available in anti-embolism stockings.

A Simple Rule of Thumb
  • If the patient is lying on bed = anti-embolism stockings
  • If the patient is ambulatory = medical graduated compression stockings

WHY SIGVARIS?

SIGVARIS has an assortment of products designed to fit your lifestyle. These products can help improve your circulation, increase your energy, and aid in keeping your legs healthy. Your physician, pharmacist, or SIGVARIS Certified Fitter can help you determine which SIGVARIS product is right for you. SIGVARIS guarantees the compression level in our products for 6 months.

a prescription sample
SIGVARIS MEDICAL (Prescription)

For moderate and more severe symptoms: 15–20, 20–30, 30–40, 40–50, 50–60mmHg

The SIGVARIS MEDICAL collection is designed according to the unique SIGVARIS PFS2 System to ensure correct fit and accurate compression, resulting in optimum therapeutic benefits and greater wearing comfort.

a prescription sample
SIGVARIS WELL BEING (OTC)

For prevention and mild symptoms: 15–20mmHg

The fashionable SIGVARIS WELL BEING collection helps promote leg health and provides relief from a range of common symptoms, including tiredness, aching legs, and swollen feet and ankles.

a prescription sample
SIGVARIS SPORTS

For performance and recovery: 15–20mmHg & 20–30mmHg

SIGVARIS has an entire line of sports products perfect for athletic activity and recovery.

Your Doctor Can Help

Effective methods for the treatment of venous disorders are readily available. Your physician can provide a diagnosis to correctly assess your condition and to take appropriate therapeutic measures. SIGVARIS MEDICAL socks or stockings have long been the brand of choice by physicians for active vein disorders of the leg or as a preventative measure in cases when risk factors are present. They are also prescribed after surgery for patients who are not confined to bed.

a doctor with nurses
a prescription sample

Filling your prescription is easy. Simply go to a certified SIGVARIS dealer, where a trained fitter takes your measurements and can recommend the correct socks or stockings for you based on your physician’s advice.Filling your prescription is easy. Simply go to a certified SIGVARIS dealer, where a trained fitter takes your measurements and can recommend the correct socks or stockings for you based on your physician’s advice.

Dealer Location: sigvarisusa.com/find

Keeping Your Legs Healthy During Travel

Have you ever wondered why people wear compression socks or stockings when they travel?

As more people travel long distances by air and car, the problem of travel-related leg discomfort is on the rise.

a prescription sample
Five Tips to Keep Your Legs Feeling Great When Traveling:
  1. Wear SIGVARIS graduated compression socks or stockings to improve circulation and help prevent travel-related DVT.
  2. Keep your feet moving. Foot exercises make the calf muscles work and help pump blood back up to the heart.
  3. Avoid long periods of inactivity. As often as possible, get up and move around. When traveling in a car, make regular rest stops to walk around.
  4. Drink plenty of healthy fluids.
  5. Ask your family physician for info regarding the prevention of DVTs and other venous problems.

Keeping Your Legs Healthy While Expecting

Pregnancy plays a role in the development of varicose veins. Thirty percent of women are pregnant for the first time, and 55% of women who have had two or more full-term pregnancies develop varicose veins, according to a report by Swiss Medical Weekly. Women who are pregnant are also at high risk for the development of Deep Vein Thrombosis, known as DVT. One reason is due to the increased blood volume at full term. Additionally, pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase blood coagulability, a measure of how easily blood clots. Wearing compression socks can help keep your legs healthy during pregnancy and beyond.

Maternity Products

SIGVARIS offers a wide range of stockings designed to promote women’s leg health during pregnancy.

a prescription sample
Get relief for:
  • Heavy, tired, or achy legs
  • Swollen ankles and feet
  • Varicose or spider veins