Compression stockings and socks are used to help relieve tired, achy legs, swelling of feet and
ankles, and to increase blood flow. Compression stockings and socks come in different
compression levels. The measurement used for compression stockings, is mmHg, otherwise
known as millimeters of mercury. The higher the number of mmHg, the firmer the compression will
feel when wearing the socks or stockings. The different levels of compression are worn to combat
different medical conditions. The best way to know which compression level is best for you is to discuss your needs with your doctor. Below is a breakdown of the different compression levels.
8-15 mmHg* (Mild Compression)
- Provides relief to tired, achy legs
- Energizes legs
- Helps relieve minor swelling associated with long hours of sitting
15-20 mmHg* (Moderate Compression)
- For the prevention and relief of minor to moderate varicose and spider veins
- Used during pregnancy to help prevent varicose veins
- Used in deep vein thrombosis (DVT) treatments
- Used in post-sclerotherapy treatment to help prevent the reappearance of varicose veins and spider veins
- Best compression when you are traveling long distances
20-30 mmHg* (Firm Compression)
- For the prevention and relief of moderate and severe varicose veins
- Used during pregnancy to help prevent varicose veins and for moderate swelling of the ankles
- Used in the treatment of moderate to severe edema or lymphatic edema
- Helps with the management of active ulcers and signs of post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS)
30-40 mmHg* (Extra Firm Compression)
- For the prevention and relief of severe varicose and spider veins
- Used in post-surgical and post-sclerotherapy treatment to help lessen the reappearance of varicose and spider veins
- Recommended for use during pregnancy only under a physician's guidance
- Used in the treatment of severe edema and lymphedema
- Helps reduce symptoms of Orthostatic Hypotension and Postural Hypotension
- Helps with the management of Venous Ulcers and manifestations of Post-Thrombotic Syndrome(PTS)
- Used in the treatment and prevention of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
How to measure for compression stockings and socks:
Compression socks and stockings will not work properly if they do not fit. Many people find that they will buy compression socks for men for the larger foot size even if they were originally looking for compression stockings for women. Anyone who has a longer foot can benefit from an open toe compression stocking. Open toe will help if your toes feel cramped in closed toe socks. Before you purchase any compression, you will need to take some measurements to ensure the best possible fit and feel. Always measure for compression stockings first thing in the morning before your ankles or feet begin to swell. I would recommend taking measurements prior to getting out of bed when you wake up. This is also the best time to put on your compression stockings once you buy them. It is ideal to use a flexible body tape measure for taking the measurements. If you don't have a tape measure, you can use string and then measure the string with a ruler. Whether you use a tape measure or string, make sure it is not crooked or twisted when you are measuring because it will cause inaccurate measurements. Do not wear shoes or socks while you are measuring. Whether you are purchasing knee high compressions socks or thigh high compression stockings, you will need to take measurements. If you find it too difficult to take measurements yourself, please call your doctor's office, they will help you get the measurements you need. Your doctor or caregiver understands how important accurate measurements are to this process.
1. Ankle Circumference: Measure around the smallest part of the ankle, right above the ankle bone.
2. Calf Circumference: Measure the largest part of the calf. You may need to check several parts of the calf to make sure you are measuring the largest part.
3. Knee Length: (Used when purchasing Knee High Stockings and Socks): Measure from right below the back of the bend of the knee to the floor right behind your heel. Make sure you are not right on the bend of your knee, you wouldn't want your sock bunched up there. Measure right below the bend of the knee.
4. Thigh Circumference: Measure the largest part of the thigh at the top of your leg.
5. Leg Length: (Used when purchasing Thigh High Stockings and Socks): Measure the length of the leg from the top of the thigh to the floor right behind your heel. Make sure your tape measure is smooth and straight.