Compression stockings reduce occupational leg swelling

Dermatol Surg. 2004 May;30(5):737-43; discussion 743. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2004.30204.x.


Background: Evening edema of the legs is a physiologic phenomenon occurring after sitting and standing.

Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate which compression pressure is necessary to prevent leg swelling.

Methods: In 12 volunteers, the volume of both lower legs was measured in the morning and 7 h later, the difference being defined as evening edema (mL). The procedure was carried out for 4 days, in which the subjects wore below-knee stockings of different compression levels alternatively on one leg only in a random order. Compression pressure was assessed using the HATRA device. RESULTS. The average evening edema of the noncompressed legs was 62.4 mL on the left side and 94.4 mL on the right side (n.s.). Evening edema was significantly reduced to 40.3 mL by light support stockings, to -34.1 mL by compression class A, to -39.6 by compression class I, and to -59.1 mL by compression class II. Mainly stockings exerting a pressure above 10 mmHg improved subjective symptoms.

Conclusion: Calf-length compression stockings with a pressure range between 11 and 21 mmHg are able to reduce or totally prevent evening edema and may therefore be recommended for people with a profession connected with long periods of sitting or standing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bandages*
  • Compressive Strength
  • Edema / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg / blood supply*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*