Are OTC Stockings Right For Me?
Over-The-Counter types are usually called support stockings or socks. They have very mild compression (~15-19 mmHg) and do not require a prescription. Be cautious in your purchase however, as they are designed to fit a “regular” size leg. If you have very muscular or large size calves, then these are generally not for you, as they may do more harm than good. The purpose is to improve circulation, not to cut it off! This class is for persons needing minimal support for tired, aching legs, spider veins, mild swelling around the ankles, and maybe a few small varicose veins.
You can purchase support stockings in serveral forms:
- Knee high socks (for men and women)
- Knee high sheers (for women)
- Depending on the brand, thigh-high stockings are sometimes available in an OTC strength
Generally, there is a varied color selection to choose from in all forms. Sometimes you may find that you can order queen size or even maternity pantyhose in an OTC strength.
Hospitals use a type of support stockings after a patient has had surgery. These are called anti-embolism stockings and the compression is not graduated, like the other types. They are usually thigh-high and white.