Schedule an Appointment Today


Can compression stockings prevent spider veins?

August 4, 2023 • mdconnect • Spider Veins

Spider veins are small veins that you can see through the skin and are one of the earliest signs that you’re developing a vein disorder. Compression stockings can help relieve symptoms of vein problems, but can they prevent spider veins from occurring in the first place?

What are spider veins?

Spider vein happens in a diameter of less than a mm (across). You wouldn’t want to confuse spider veins with just any little vein you can see through the thinner skin, like the inside of your elbow or wrist. Instead, this looks more like splotches of tiny veins branching out (a bit like a spider web). They are reddish but can be bluish when they happen in the slightly larger reticular veins (3mm).

What causes spider veins?

Spider veins are like a varicose vein’s the little sister who wants to be just like the older sibling. In both cases, the valves that help the vein get unoxygenated blood back up to the heart have stopped closing properly, so gravity takes the blood back down, increasing the pressure on the vein walls. Those veins expand and bulge. So, even if you don’t have varicose veins yet, having spider veins indicates that your veins are starting to fail. And if the cause isn’t addressed, you’ll likely develop varicose veins and more of them.

What causes these veins to fail?

A series of factors can contribute. Some are modifiable, while others aren’t:
  • Genetics
  • Family history
  • Carrying extra weight (muscle or fat)
  • Standing or walking for more than four hours.
  • Sitting for long periods
  • Missing certain nutrients in the diet, particularly potassium, fiber, and flavonoids (in green tea)
  • Hormone changes
  • Birth control
  • Hormone replacement (which still has
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking

How can compression stockings help?

Compression stockings work by reducing the pressure on the vein walls so they can more effectively transport blood. This means the valves are less likely to fail, and the blood doesn’t pool in the vein, so the walls don’t weaken and expand. This can reduce the development of new spider veins and the more severe and painful varicose veins.

OTC stockings vs. medical compression stockings

If you have spider veins, a doctor can prescribe medical-grade compression stockings. But why would you want these if you can find socks in a drugstore? Medical stockings are designed to apply precise pressure to your legs—not as tight as to limit blood flow but tight enough to provide support. Only a doctor can determine the correct pressure for you. And if your diagnosis requires it, they can prescribe higher-pressure stockings than you would find in a store. This higher pressure may also be necessary if you wear them after a vein surgery to reduce swelling. The vein experts at Desert Vein Institute are Certified Fitters for compression stockings. Finally, medical stockings provide gradually increasing pressure as they move up from the ankles. This reduces gravity’s impact on the blood that’s trying to get back up to the heart. With that said, you may not have spider veins yet. But you’re on your feet all day, so you’re thinking about prevention. In that case, your typical drugstore compression stockings may suffice.

Find the right solution for your vein health

Dr. Iwamoto, Dr. Reese, & Dr. Curry at Desert Vein Institute are experts at helping you understand and acquire the best preventive and interventional treatment for unhealthy veins. To learn more, schedule a vein health consultation.

Request a Consultation

By submitting, you agree to our Privacy Policy