Improving Adherence to Wearing Compression Stockings for Chronic Venous Insufficiency and Venous Leg Ulcers: A Scoping Review

Laila Bar*, Susan Brandis, Darryn Marks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
138 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Patient adherence to wearing compression stockings in the management of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) and venous leg ulcers (VLUs) is low. Poor adherence with compression stockings contributes to recurrence and impaired healing of VLUs. As such, the purpose of this review was to report on the scientific evidence related to adherence and explore modifiable factors which impact adherence with compression stockings.

Methods: A systematic search was conducted from inception to 31 October 2019. Following the PRISMA-ScR Checklist, PubMed, Medline, CINAHL, Cochrane, Embase, OT Seeker and Web of Science were explored using search terms: compression/compression stocking/compression garment/compression sock/stockings/garments and adherence/compliance/concordance.
Results: We identified 2613 papers of which 125 full text papers were assessed for eligibility and 69 met inclusion criteria. Papers were grouped and charted by concepts relevant to the research questions and narratively synthesized. Several dominant themes emerged, and a conceptual framework was developed incorporating modifiable variables, adherence itself, and outcomes related to adherence. Specifically considering interventions to improve adherence, only five of 14 randomized controlled trials were able to demonstrate improvements in adherence through unidimensional approaches. All nine of the case studies/series demonstrated a positive impact on adherence, eight of which described a personalized multidimensional approach. A lack of consensus around defining, measuring, and quantifying adherence with compression stockings was identified, resulting in wide variation in reported adherence rates.

Conclusion: Inconsistency in the definition and measurement of adherence limits meaningful interpretation of the literature. No individual intervention has consistently demonstrated improved adherence. Multidimensional interventions show promise but require further investigation with high-quality trials. Improving adherence appears to improve health outcomes in VLU /CVI populations but there is a lack of information directly linking improved adherence with cost outcomes.

Trial Registration: Open Science Framework: ACTRN12620000544976p.

scoping review, compression stockings, adherence, leg ulcers, chronic venous insufficiency
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2085-2102
Number of pages18
JournalPatient Preference and Adherence
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2021


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