Do compression stockings provide pain relief after a deep vein thrombosis?

Results from a recent study suggest that compression stockings do not provide pain relief
after a deep vein thrombosis

Elastic compression stockings reduce edema and improve venous flow in the legs, and daily use is recommended two years after a deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Previous studies have shown that compression stockings reduce the incidence of the post-thrombotic syndrome, a chronic disease developed in 20-50% of patients after a DVT. Symptoms and signs include edema, heaviness, skin induration and in the worst cases chronic leg ulcers. The protective effect of compression stockings were, however, not confirmed in a large randomized controlled trial published in the Lancet in December 2013. 

In a secondary analysis, the researchers have investigated whether compression stockings reduce leg pain in the acute phase after a DVT.  A total of 803 patients with a DVT above the knee were randomized to receive active compression stockings or placebo stockings (with identical appearance but without therapeutic compression).

The participants reported, on an 11-point numerical scale, pain intensity at baseline and after 14, 30 and 60 days. There were no statistical difference in pain scores between subjects who recieved active or placebo stockings.

The results from this study suggest that compression stockings do not provide pain relief after a DVT. The researchers have previously shown that the incidence of post-thrombotic syndrome is not reduced by the use of compression stockings. Another ongoing large clinical trial is investigating the effect of individually tailored elastic compression therapy to patients after DVT.

The use of compression stockings may not have such an important role in the treatment of DVT in the future.

The articles werepublished in Thrombosis and Heamostasis and the Lancet


Kahn SR, Shapiro S, Ducruet T, Wells PS, Rodger MA, Kovacs MJ, et al. Graduated compression stockings to treat acute leg pain associated with proximal DVT. A randomised controlled trial. Thromb Haemost. 2014;112(6).

Kahn SR, Shapiro S, Wells PS, Rodger MA, Kovacs MJ, Anderson DR, et al. Compression stockings to prevent post-thrombotic syndrome: a randomised placebo-controlled trial. The Lancet. 2014;383(9920):880-8.

Page administrator: Helle Jørgensen
Last updated: 03.10.2014 16:11