What are Anti Embolism stockings and when you should use them?
  1. What are Anti-Embolism Stockings? 

Anti-embolism stockings are stretchy thick material socks that are recommended by the doctor for a person who is recovering from surgery in order to avoid blood clots. These stockings are specifically prescribed to patients who are non-mobile or are confined to a bed. 

They are usually used for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).  

The role of stockings is simple, place pressure on the legs in order to increase the blood circulation reducing the Risk of Blood Clots. 

The doctor recommends appropriate stockings for an individual depending upon his/her issue. 

The socks should be worn properly, for avoiding any complications such as pressure pores. 

The stockings apply graduated pressure on the legs. The standard pressure of the socks is 18 mmHg (millimeters of mercury which is the unit of pressure). Most of the socks are made from latex-free material which contains 82% of polyamide and 18% elastane, this makes them stretchy as well as safe! 

The size selection is done via measurements of calves, ankles, and also thighs if the doctor has prescribed a thigh height stocking. 

Due to lack of pressure Anti-Embolism stockings do not support venous issues like varicose veins. These stockings apply pressure between the ranges of 8 -18 mm Hg which is not at all enough for varicose veins. 

Also, people who aren’t bed-bound should not use Anti-Embolism socks as they don’t offer the same help for bed-bound ones to counter gravitational 

force imposed on the legs. If it cannot counteract gravity how can it enhance the blood from the back to the heart?

People tend to wear compression stockings during the day because when you sit or stand upright blood flow is hampered a bit. A person with venous issues may put their feet up at the night to improve circulation, but the doctors can recommend wearing compressions at the night too. 

  1. Why do people use them? 

The main reason for using these stockings is to prevent DVT which is the formation of blood clots in the deep vein. DVT is commonly seen in people who are immobile or bedridden. 

DVT is something that should be taken lightly because though it’s a small blood clot in the legs, it can affect the rest of the body too. There have been some cases where the clot broke off and traveled to the lungs blocking blood flow to the lungs. This blockage will lead to adverse effects on the body and can result in death too. 

But the good news is though DVT is a serious issue it is preventable and almost 40% of DVT can be prevented by Anti-Embolism stockings

  1. How do they work? 

The key to their working remains in the pressure of the stockings. The stocks have the highest pressure at the bottom and lowest at the top; this pressure arrangement allows the blood to flow towards the heart. 

The stockings prevent the blood from pooling at the bottom of the feet or sleeping sideways in the superficial veins which are located near the surface of the leg. 

As the pressure is applied by the socks, the veins become a bit narrower, allowing the blood to flow swiftly. 

  1. Types of stockings

There are two types of socks one knee-high stocking covering only the calves and thigh-high socks covering the calves as well as the thighs too

People often confuse Anti-Embolism stockings with compression stockings

These two are completely different products in nature and use. Anti-embolism is used by people who aren’t mobile whereas compression stockings are used by people who are completely mobile. 

Compression stockings have pressure way above the pressure implemented by Anti-embolism socks, hence people shouldn’t use compression socks as an alternative for anti-embolism socks. 

Compression socks are most appropriate for people who have varicose veins, or Lymphedema. 

There are compression products like athlete compression socks which have even less pressure than Anti-Embolism socks. These socks have uniform pressure rather than graduated pressure. 

For instance, an athlete running on the ground may wear a compression stocking to support his knee/ankle. 

  1. How to use these stockings? 

Usage of the socks completely depends upon the doctor’s prescription. The doctor sets guidelines in terms of how many hours of the day you need to wear the stockings and when you need to put them on. 

How to put the sock on? 

  • Reaching the inside half of the sock and grabbing the heel. 

  • Then turn the sock inside out. 

  • Place the foot in the stocking, and make sure that the heel of the sock is in the correct position. 

  • Now pull the sock up to its given height. 

  • Finally, if you see any wrinkles on the sock, smooth them off. 

Sometimes it becomes tricky to put the sock on because of its compression, but if you follow the guidelines appropriately then it is not a difficult task. However, sometimes you may need a healthcare professional to put them on. 

  1. What are the risks of wearing Anti-Embolism stockings? 

  • Improperly worn socks distribute the pressure wrongly which can lead to skin breakage in the legs, especially for people having very sensitive skin like the old ones. 

  • Sometimes socks can become rolled, bunched, or folded.  If a person doesn’t put them on correctly. What it does is reverse the graduated process by restricting blood circulation. This results in the blood pooling up in the ankles and lower legs, hence the usage of the stockings is completely in vain. 

Anti-Embolism socks aren’t safe for everyone due to their excessive pressure. People who suffer from the following problems should avoid these stockings. 

  • Congestive heart failure. 

  • Excessive fluid in the lungs. 

  • Any inflammatory skin problems. 

  • Nerve damage.

  • Limb abnormalities. 

  • Swelling in the lower parts of the legs. 

  • Severe Obesity.


If you want to know more about Anti-embolism stockings or compression stockings please feel free to visit Alex Orthopedic. Here we have a variety of stockings as well as other unique products available.