Medical compression stockings improve blood flow in the legs and reduce pain and swelling, states WebMD. These stockings reduce the risk for deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, by helping blood travel back to the heart instead of pooling and forming a clot. The use of compression stockings reduces a light-headed feeling upon standing, according to WedMD. Medical professionals prescribed compression stockings for individuals with varicose veins and diabetes, those confined to bed for long periods, pregnant women and athletes.
Individuals with jobs that require long hours of standing use mild-compression medical compression stockings to prevent tired and achy legs and reduce swelling in the feet and ankles, notes WebMD. Airline pilots, crew and passengers who spend long periods of time on airplanes use compression stockings to increase circulation.
Although studies, as of 2015, show that compression stockings do not enhance athletic performance, some runners, triathletes and basketball players use compression socks and sleeves on their limbs. Athletes use compression stockings to increase blood flow, oxygenate their muscles and reduce tissue damage, for less soreness and cramping during exercise recovery.
A medical professional takes leg measurements and prescribes the appropriate medical compression stocking length and level of pressure, explains WebMD. Higher grade, tighter stockings treat DVT. Anti-embolism stockings are prescribed for post-surgical use when an individual is not able to stand or move around freely for an extended period of time.