Who should NOT wear compression stockings?

Contraindications are situations where a drug, device, or procedure should not be used, because there is a very real possibility it may cause more harm than good.  There are two types of contraindications.

  • Relative Contraindications – are known risks to using a certain drug, device, or procedure, but the benefits of using them may outweigh the risks.  Caution should be used.
  • Absolute Contraindications  – are situations where it is known a drug, device, or procedure will cause great harm, and the benefit of using them does not outweigh the risk.

Compression stockings have contraindications, both absolute and relative.

Absolute contraindications include, ischemia (e.g. advanced arterial disease), uncontrolled congestive heart failure, untreated septic phlebitis, existing DVT and phlegmasia coerulea dolens.

Relative contraindications for compression stockings include, concomitant dermatoses, intolerance to compression stocking fabric, sensory disturbance of the limb, advanced peripheral neuropathy, and primary chronic arthritis.  Some individuals have also reported a feeling of claustrophobia when wearing compression stockings.

If you suffer from a relative contraindication when wearing compression stockings, talk to your doctor to determine if the benefit, outweighs the discomfort.