The effects of graduated compression stockings on cutaneous surface pressure along the path of main superficial veins of lower limbs

Rong Liu, Yi Lin Kwok, Yi Li, Terence T. Lao, Xin Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background. The superficial venous system is most often affected by varicose veins. Graduated compression stockings (GCSs) are a recognized effective nonsurgical option to prevent and treat lower limb varicose veins. Objective. The objective of the present study was to investigate the cutaneous surface pressure exerted by GCSs along the courses of main superficial veins of the lower limb. Methods and materials. Cutaneous surface pressures along the paths of long and short saphenous veins applied by different kinds of GCSs were examined by using pressure sensors (Tekscan, Inc., Boston, Mass) and a multichannel monitoring system in 6 healthy women tested in 7 different body postures. Results. Tested location, body posture, and types of compression stocking significantly influenced the cutaneous pressure along the main superficial veins (P < 0.001). Cutaneous pressure along the short saphenous veins had better pressure gradient performance when subjects were standing. The pressures applied at the popliteal fossa and Achilles tendon were significantly influenced by body postures (P < 0.001). Insufficient pressure and reversed pressure gradients were exerted on the regions along the long saphenous veins. Flexion exercise of the joints and muscle activity of the lower limbs helped provide more support and compression on the superficial venous system. Conclusion. Graduated compression stockings exerted significant influences on the cutaneous pressure distribution and magnitudes along the path of main superficial veins. Different testing locations and body postures induced variations on the pressure performances. Proper lower limb exercises are still recommended when wearing compression stockings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-157
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Medical–Surgical

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