Tired and Achy Legs (Leg Pain) – How Compression Stockings Can Help

Do you experience tired and achy legs, or symptoms such as swelling, fatigue, cramping, heaviness and/or restless legs?

If you experience any of the above symptoms, you may be suffering from a condition called Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI). Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when the veins with-in our legs no longer allow blood to travel back to the heart, causing tired and achy legs, or worse. (Arteries carry blood away from the heart, while veins carry blood to the heart).

Healthy veins contain valves (similar to those in the heart) which open and close to ensure blood is returned to the heart.



Valves open when muscles contract (Left), allowing blood to return to the heart. Valves close when muscles relax. Blood cannot flow backwards.


When these valves become damaged, blood begins to flow away from the heart and leads to the pooling of blood and fluids. Enlarged and twisted veins (varicose veins) are then noticed on the outside of the leg as well as leg and ankle swelling. Pain, swelling, and leg ulcers may result if left untreated.



Blood flows backwards in damaged vein


What Causes A Person To Develop Tired and Achy Legs or CVI?

There are a number of factors that contribute to a person developing CVI. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Prolonged standing or sitting
  • Obesity
  • Tight fitting clothing
  • Wearing high heeled shoes
  • Pregnancy
  • Hereditary factors
  • Advancing age
  • Smoking


How Can Tired and Achy Legs or CVI Be Treated?

Treatment will depend on many factors, including the reason for the condition and your particular health status and history.

Some simple yet effective treatment recommendations may include:

  • Avoid long periods of standing or sitting – When taking long flights or car rides, flex and extend your legs, feet, and ankles about 10 times every 30 minutes to keep the blood flowing. If you need to stand for long periods of time, try walking when possible and take frequent breaks to sit down and elevate your feet.
  • Exercise regularly – No equipment is required. Simply walking can be sufficient and extremely beneficial.
  • Elevate your legs – While sitting and lying down, elevating your legs assists with returning blood back to the heart.
  • Swimming – Swimming eliminates the effects of gravity to prevent blood from pooling. It also allows your calf muscles to contract and assist with returning blood back to the heart.
  • Compression socks and stockings Compression socks and stockings are designed to support your veins and improve circulation. The external graduated compression of socks and stockings act as a layer of muscle by gently squeezing the stretched vein walls together, allowing the valves to close. The distance between the walls of the vein is reduced, thereby restoring blood flow to a normal state and allowing blood to flow back to the heart.

How Compression Works

Graduated compression socks/stockings work by applying the highest amount of pressure at the foot and gradually decrease up the leg. This encourages the blood in your veins to flow back towards your heart.

Compression Variety

Compression stockings come in different compression levels, lengths, colours and patterns. The amount of compression and length of the stocking is chosen based upon the location and damage to your veins.
Compression products must be professionally measured by certified fitters to ensure the best fit and reduction of symptoms. BioPed’s lower limb specialists are trained to both fit as well as select the best products for you.

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