Gradient compression stockings are designed to remedy impaired musculovenous pump performance caused by incompetent leg vein valves. They are woven in such a way that the compression level is highest at the ankle and gradually lessen towards the top of the stocking. Compression stockings are prescribed for those who are prone to edema (swelling), cramping, painful varicose veins, getting blood clots and blood pooling in the legs, ankles and feet from prolonged periods of inactivity. Compression stockings are offered in different levels of compression. An assessment of your legs and feet needs to be conducted in order to determine if compression stockings are necessary and what compression level is best suited for you.